Portray Yourself In A Better Light!

We decided to write this article in an attempt to provide you with some useful tips that just might help portray you in a better light when applying for your first job as a Commercial Pilot.

Over the last 12 months we have had numerous requests from Airlines and other Flying Schools relating to obtaining information about individuals who have trained with us, and who are now applying for jobs with them. Such data can at first glance, appear to be trivial, but when you really think about it, it isn’t. Information requests typically relate to commenting on attitude, behaviour, punctuality, and performance. Occasionally we also receive requests from Special Branch and the CAA.

Some of our staff are also employed by Airlines and sit on the interview panel for aspiring Airline Pilot’s as well as direct entry FO’s and Captains. As part of the application screening and interview process, Airlines do look at all prospective Pilots social media pages and the content therein. It is deeply worrying that we are seeing social media posts that have some of the most vile content imaginable; content that includes racial discrimination, abusive language, pornography and abusive language relating to businesses, people, products and services. Some of the photos and images displayed by some people are so vile that we refuse to comment. Some individuals openly choose to use their real full names and have pictures of their immediate family, basically saying to the world, “this is me, and I don’t care’. Whilst social media allows you to have an opinion and be yourself, don’t be too surprised if a prospective employer doesn’t share all your opinions and choice of images displayed. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that a nickname on your profile will allow you to continue to operate with impunity, it won’t, no-ones real identity is that hard to find these days. Ask yourself these questions:

How would you feel sat in the back of a passenger transport jet with your family, knowing the crew behaved like that?

Do you expect an Airline to give an individual the proverbial keys to their £100 million+  jet coupled with a £100k salary when they behave like that?

What does it say about a person who’s prepared to portray themselves like this in public and then be naive enough to think that a prospective employer would not check?

It is truly astonishing just how many disgraceful social media posts that also pop up in aviation specific web forums that are based on anger, that berate other people, businesses and services. Please exercise extreme caution here, we live in a world where bringing legal action against an individual is no longer expensive and time consuming. It’s quick and easy. Lawyers are quite literally queuing up round the corner to take these cases on and will even do the work on a no-win no-fee basis. A libel suit against you could cost you everything, including your present and future career. How would that affect you or your family?

We do know that there are jobs galore at the moment for Pilot’s and salaries are higher than ever before. Do not be fooled into thinking you’re automatically entitled to one of these jobs just because you have the qualifications. Airlines can afford to be choosey because they have to be! They do look at your social media posts and take screen shots of what they find. In some cases you may even be reported to both the CAA and Police if the content is deemed to pose a risk to flight safety.

Please have a good old think about just how you wish to be seen publicly. If you were asked to describe the personal and professional attributes of a professional Pilot, what would they be? Are you that person?

Sometimes in life it’s better to say nothing at all if you can’t say anything nice. Big brother is watching you. It’s watching all of us. Don’t let the frustrations of everyday life get the better of you, and ultimately destroy your future career. When you’re upset, go for a run, sip some herbal tea, that kind of thing! Don’t go all out and embarrass yourself on social media. Keep your posts clean, sensible, nice and professional. Better still, post very little! After all, professional Pilot’s don’t usually have the time for such prolific activity.

This may all sound like simple and very obvious stuff, but you’d be surprised at just how many people don’t care or lack the intellect to have even considered the consequences for what they do before they do it.

Good luck with your application and we’ll look forward to flying with you soon!