Aviation skills: Do you have what it takes?

Aviation skills: Do you have what it takes?

For any job, you will be required to have certain relevant skills, and the world of aviation is no exception. In fact, lacking some of these skills could make all the difference in a life and death situation.

In the modern world of recruitment, professional skill sets are just as important as any qualifications or experience as they are vital to the candidate’s success within their role.

Speaking at the UK’s Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), Matthew Hancock claimed that today’s employers struggled to find employees as the skills system lacked ‘rigour and responsiveness.’

So if you’re thinking about joining the aviation industry, or wanting to climb the career ladder, here are 7 essential skills that every aviation professional needs to brush up on.


Communication skills

It’s fairly obvious that aviation professionals need to have exceptional communication skills during normal flight conditions and in emergency situations.

Poor communication has previously been cited as a factor for accidents, such as the Tenerife airport disaster of 1977 whereby two planes collided on the runway, killing 583 people. The KLM captain mistakenly believed that air traffic control had issued him clearance to take off. The plane thus went on to collide with a Pan Am plane which was awaiting takeoff in foggy conditions.  


Analysing and evaluating skills

Being able to evaluate information to establish certain facts and principles are key strengths for anyone within the aviation industry. Though tragic, the Tenerife airport disaster did lead experts on to review all their procedures, including the importance of standardized phraseology in radio communications being emphasised.

On a day to day basis, pilots are faced with many split-second decisions that can affect the fate of everyone on board. For example, by analysing a change in weather conditions, they can then react accordingly via their training and experience.


Interpersonal & sensitivity skills

Interpersonal skills also include effective communication skills, whether it be a simple or complex message. The importance of effective communication is of particular importance due to the level of responsibility of human life and the continual shift towards automated procedures.

Also known as ‘emotional intelligence,’ interpersonal sensitivity is the ability to respect and being open to another person’s viewpoint. It has fast become one of the most important skills of the 21st century and is highly sought after in leadership positions.  


Teamwork skills

Working as part of a team is a vital skill needed in most professions. Being a good team player requires cooperation, patience, identifying common goals and working collaboratively towards them. When you’re flying the skies, it’s vital that the whole team cooperate together to ensure a safe journey for everyone.

It’s also important to accept responsibility for your failings within a team setup. During flight training, students are actively encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.    


Global skills

Working in the aviation industry will bring you into direct contact with different ethnic backgrounds from around the world, so global skills are absolutely essential. Having an awareness and understanding of different cultural viewpoints and communicating respectfully will give you a significant competitive edge in the aviation job market.

Whilst flying as a First Officer in Greece, Marcus Lindblom tried to notify the ground crew that he required 5 tons of fuel by signalling with his whole hand (one finger for each ton required) with his palm facing forward.

However, in Greece, this is deemed as a rude gesture which resulted in the ground handler denying his request and looking the other way. Fortunately, the Captain had experienced this before and advised Lindblom accordingly. This example just goes to show how essential global skills really are.  


Flexibility skills

For any business to grow, it needs to change and evolve. The future of aviation is expected to be turbulent with a new wave of technological innovation and changes in geopolitics. The UK leaving the European Union, for instance, will have a significant impact on previously agreed legislations between countries.  

A report by Right Management found that 91% of hiring managers will only recruit on the candidate’s ability to deal with change and uncertainty.


Time management skills

Time management skills are exceptionally important to airlines that are measured by their On-Time performance. Any delay caused to a flight is a waste of valuable resources and may cost the airline in fines. An airline that has a bad reputation for always being delayed or causing passengers to miss connecting flights may result in a loss of business as passengers seek to fly with a more reliable airline. Thus, time management skills in their workforce are of paramount importance.

Flexible working

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Should you use social media in your job search?

Should you use social media in your job search?

You should use every tool at your disposal to help you in your job search and social media is no exception. In our ever more interconnected and online world, social media platforms are increasingly being used both by jobseekers to find opportunities and recruiters to track down great candidates. Your online presence is becoming just as important as face-to-face networking and speculative applications.

Recruiters are more social-media savvy than ever and are increasingly taking to platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find those top candidates. You should do everything you can to make it easier for these recruiters to find you and get in touch. Get yourself noticed by prospective employers by engaging with them online and you’ll be at the front of the queue when a new role becomes available.

Many aviation employers are starting to realise that they need to start employing new tactics to attract candidates to their job vacancies and utilising social media for this is just part of that. In an industry plagued with pilot shortages, social media is key to a long term hiring strategy of building great brand awareness.


Which social media platforms should you use in your job search?

Your first point of call should usually be LinkedIn. A recent survey of recruiters carried out by Right Management found that LinkedIn was the most favoured platform.

“It’s critical, particularly in this difficult job market, that job seekers develop the right skills and have access to the right opportunities to find employment. It’s never been more important to learn how to effectively network with peers – online and offline – as well as being able to create a great online profile with compelling messaging that will get noticed by employers and recruiters. It’s not enough to just have a good CV today” – Nicola Deas, practice leader of career management at Right Management

However, you shouldn’t write other social media platforms off. Right Management’s survey found that 52% of recruiters also use Facebook to hunt down suitable candidates. The shows just how important it is for jobseekers to have professional profiles across all of their social media profiles.

You might also want to take into account the rise of mobile browsing. Recruiters are catching onto this and alerts can be set up on your smartphone so you know the moment a new job has been posted.

Social media hasn’t replaced the more traditional means of applying for jobs, however, making use of your online network is a no-brainer. Your online profiles can become excellent tools to help you stand out in a competitive jobs market, demonstrate your passion for the aviation industry and connect with others in the industry.


How to use social media in your job search

Here are four tips to get you well on your way to creating a professional online presence.

1. Show off your skills on LinkedIn

You’ll find that most major aviation employers have a profile on LinkedIn. Whether you’re interested in working for easyJet, British Airways or Emirates, there are connections to be made via this fast-growing professional networking site.

Remember that recruiters are keen to make the most of tools like LinkedIn which allow them to effectively search for aviation and engineering professionals for free, cutting costs in the expensive recruitment process.

The first thing to do is to make sure your profile is up to scratch. Add a professional profile picture and add your qualifications and experience. Get colleagues to endorse your skills and make sure you’re using the keywords that will catch recruiters’ eyes.

Add your contacts to make sure that you’re as widely connected as possible. However, you might want to be wary of revealing to your current employer how much effort you’re putting into your profile.

As well as allowing you to show off your skills and experience on your profile, and engage with relevant profiles and posts, LinkedIn also lists jobs.

For some people, it might be worth spending some money and upgrading to a premium account. You’ll be able to see who is interested in your profile and get relevant job alerts.

Once you’re set up, don’t just leave it to work its magic. Start engaging with other aviation professionals, employers and recruiters. Demonstrate your passion for the industry and get involved in discussions and post industry news.

2. Fix your Facebook profile

As we’ve already mentioned, recruiters also use Facebook to find suitable candidates. They might also use Facebook to screen applicants they’ve already found. In fact, a recent survey found that 70% of employers use social media screening before hiring applicants.

With this in mind, it’s really important that your online profiles are suitable for potential employers to see. Make sure you remove any questionable photos or posts that might make an employer think twice about employing you. You could also ramp up your privacy settings if you’d rather they can’t see anything on your profile.

Make sure you Google your name and take a look at the results as this is a really simple check that a recruiter might do before contacting an applicant. Check the images that appear too. You could also use a social media screening tool yourself to see what a recruiter might pick up if they searched for you. However, the best approach is to clean up your profiles manually.

You could employ a similar tactic as on LinkedIn with your Facebook account and start posting industry news and get involved with the latest discussions concerning the aviation industry if you wanted to stand out to recruiters.

3. Get Tweeting

Twitter is a great tool that will allow you to connect directly with recruiters and employers and get yourself on their radar. It’s now common for employers to tweet job opportunities, so it’s worth following the companies that you’d like to work for to be the first in the know.

Make sure your profile is up to scratch and get involved with the aviation community on Twitter.

You might want to try a tool like Tweetdeck that has an impressive search function and you can set up feeds for different accounts and hashtags, making sure you don’t miss the most important tweets.

4. Start a blog

If you want to really impress recruiters, you could try starting your own website based on your personal areas of interest in the industry. Use your social profiles to promote what you’ve created and make your voice heard amongst other aviation professionals.

Recruiters are also on the lookout for some of the personality traits required to regularly contribute to a blog or website. It’s generally a sign that someone is passionate, committed and tenacious – which all add up to a hard-working employee.


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