5 Ways to Clear Your Aviation Career for Takeoff

Closeup of airplane engine in a hangar

Did you know that aviation will be one of the industries hardest hit by the retirement of baby boomers? It’s true.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that aerospace product and parts manufacturing has the 8th highest median age of any employment sector at 49.7, and aircraft and parts manufacturing is not far behind with a median age of 48.2.

What does that mean for you?

If you’re looking for a career with growth potential, the sky’s the limit in aviation. But it helps to have a plan. We asked Aerotek aviation recruiting experts Julie Lewis and Josh Rainey for advice on how to raise the cruising altitude of your aviation career.

Looking to get a foot in the door? Click here for part one of our conversation: 4 Keys to Starting a Career in Aviation.

Keep track of your training

Those in aviation know the field is an alphabet soup of certification options. While maintaining certain licenses are necessary to keep a current position like A&P mechanic, sheet metal mechanic and others, it can be a little less clear how much past or lapsed certifications can matter when looking to the future.

Don’t assume that records of your past training will be available to all potential employers. For example, those who have had certifications or training in the military: Josh Rainey says, “The military recommends people keep track of their training records.”

YOU are in charge of maintaining your permanent record of training and certification.

And you’re also in charge of sharing that record with potential employers. “Always put past certifications on your resume,” Julie Lewis recommends. “Even if you don’t currently hold a valid certification, knowing that you once did makes you much more attractive to hiring managers.”

Get in a growth mindset

If you’re looking to build a career over the long term, keep in mind that it’s not always about where you start, it’s about where you end up.

“Apprenticeship programs are becoming more and more common,” says Rainey. “Ask about growth and training opportunities as you explore your career options.”

Keeping a growth mindset can also help you make a splash in your current position — and keep you top of mind when promotions open up. Lewis notes, “Employers love candidates who take every opportunity for specialized training offered by their company. And you never know when it might come in handy.”

Know what’s in demand

Aerotek’s recruiters have their fingers on the pulse of the industry’s hiring practices, so we asked them what specific positions and skills they’re seeing the greatest demand for.

Julie Lewis sees a great need for candidates with training and certification in A&P mechanics, sheet metal and avionics. Josh Rainey observes, “The process for military contractor clearance is 60-90 days, which is a long lag time for employers. If you already have that clearance, you are very valuable right now.”

Develop difference-making soft skills

Certifications and training are the name of the game in aviation. But you can really separate yourself from the pack by showing off your soft skills.

According to Lewis, “The ability to communicate technical information well to people who don’t have a technical background is a crucial skill for anybody working in Mobile Repair Units (MRU’s) directly out on a site.”

Josh Rainey adds, “A lot of aviation companies see it as a huge bonus if you can be client-facing, and help with business development. Many even look for prior customer service experience.”

Learn more

Aviation is a large and diverse industry, and finding the right career path requires research. But you don’t have to do it alone. You can always reach out to experts like Julie Lewis and Josh Rainey for advice.

Want to know more about career opportunities that fit your goals?

Talk with an Aerotek recruiter. And if you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search.