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CHAPTER 2 

Searching
For The First Job
 

After you graduate from A&P school and get your license you will then start looking for a job.  Right? Wrong.  You should start job hunting in your last semester of class, before you graduate.  Some programs are structured into airframe, powerplant and general sections.  In this case the job search should begin when the last section begins, or in other words when you have completed two thirds of the program.  There is some very good reasoning behind this.  First, you want to get hired as soon as possible after graduation and second, you want to compensate for the incredible amount of time it takes the airlines to respond to your resumes.  One thing to remember is that an A&P is not only a professional when it comes to working on aircraft he is also a professional job hunter at the same time. 

In regard to the resume, there is a lot of confusion about what is a good one.  I used to think that all a person had to do was type up a very neat one on some paper, following some guidelines that are pretty much common sense and that was all there was to it.  I don't think that way anymore. 

After experiencing a lay off that occurred just before the Persian Gulf incident of 1990, I found it very difficult to get any replies from my resumes.  By this I don't mean that I didn't get any replies, it was just that the response to my resumes was poor.  I also was running short on places to send my resumes to and I knew that there were more regional airlines out there than I was aware of personally.  With this in mind and after hearing many good reports about F.A.P.A.  I decided to join them and see how they might prepare my resume.  There was a tremendous difference in the way they prepared it.  When I sent these new resumes out the change in the return of my letters was astounding.  Instead of the three weeks or more, it took to get a response, I was getting letters back in one to two weeks.  So there really is a strong importance to having a good resume. 

It should be remembered that a resume alone will not get you hired, but it will get you more applications.  Resumes should be printed on high quality paper to further convey the message that you spent some time and attention to detail in producing your resume.  You can rely on a Xerox copy on plain white paper but from my experience it doesn't produce the kind of results that will boost your confidence by the responses you will get from the airlines.  All the airlines have what I call, "thankyougrams" that they will send you if they are not actively hiring or you fail to meet their current qualification requirements.  Pay no attention to them and continue to barrage them with resumes. 

From my experience I have found that the international airlines send replies that are much more considerate and polite than those airlines in the United States.  I have even had my resume forwarded to other locations by an airline that couldn't find an opening for me with their airline in their country.  This is something that you don't see happening too much in the States.  I have also found that it is helpful to keep a file for each airline that you may want to work for.  I like the hanging style the best. Then I took some index cards and typed the name of each airline on the top of the card.  I call these correspondence control cards.  With these cards I use a rubber date stamp to record the date that I sent my last resume or application.  Then on a sheet of paper I have a listing of each airline and the next date to send a resume or application.  Naturally I call this the next date to send sheet.  Most airlines keep resumes on file for four months and applications on file for a year.  I send- applications out every six months and resumes every four months just to be obnoxious.  Also you should keep a separate file for your receipts, for income tax deductions, for the cost of producing and mailing your resumes. 

When you get an application it is helpful to have a written record of your education and work history with you when you are completing one.  This will eliminate errors on your part.  You should also make a copy of each completed application so the next time you complete one the information will be the same as the last one you sent and it will be easier to reproduce it the next time.  I have taken the process one step further.  I bought a word processor and stored all of my applications on floppy disk.  This makes it easier to update the education and work history sections and eliminates a great deal of personal involvement in completing applications in the future. 

You should also provide a very accurate account of all periods in your personal history called void times, which are times in your life where you neither went to school or worked.  I have heard of many people who never completed their probation period because they omitted something inadvertently about a void time.  Believe me, after you have filled out about fifteen of them you feel as if you can't do it anymore.  I find that by having a machine to do the work for me it helps me keep a more positive attitude.  If you get a good word processor it will also have neat functions like mail merge to help you prepare some stunning resumes and cover letters, with each one individually addressed by company and company representative.  I spent about five hundred dollars for mine and I haven't regretted it for a minute.  What you must realize is that unless you have the grace of God shining on you, you will not get the airline that you want to work for most, the first time around.  Therefore you will be completing these resumes and applications until the airline in question caves in and hires you, which can be quite some time and possibly not at all. 

You should also have a telephone answering machine in the event you get a call while you are at work or out of the house and a cell phone is helpful as well.  Also you should have an alternate address and phone number on your resume.  I would also advise that you keep a notebook with you or near your phone to write down any names of people that you encounter that work in the airline personnel departments.  People always respond better to you when you write to them or call them by name. 

When you get an interview don't expect that you will get the job.  If you are interviewing for a major airline you will immediately see that you are just another fish in the sea and that many of the mechanics that you will be competing for the job against will have more experience than you do.  You should also remember that there are only a small number of positions available even if they are hiring allot of people. Remember that if you don't get hired the first time you can always come back and try again, usually after one year. 

A new A&P usually goes to work for a Fixed Base Operator or F.B.O.  for his first job.  However this shouldn't keep you from applying to a major airline.  Who knows, Gods grace may be shining on you.

 

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