Myths are great for stories, but when they get in the way of your career they need to be debunked.
Last week, in part 1, we covered why it is imperative that student pilots get more sleep. This week we dive into myth #2. Kicking this myth to the curb will help students be better prepared for graduation day, and hopefully ready to enter the career they went through all of that schooling for.
Myth #2 – “I’ll graduate with a degree so it should be easy to find a job in my desired field right away.”
Almost everyone goes to college with the idea that it will help them get a better job and possibly make more money. Even if the lure of college is purely an interest in a particular field of study, the idea is to graduate and get a job in that field rather than something unrelated. While the goal is good, the truth is that many college students will graduate and have to get a job doing something they didn’t go to school for. Why? Simply going to college doesn’t land you a job. You have to strategically plan and search to get the job you want.
Aviation and aeronautical university students aren’t immune. Even though most of them will graduate with a highly specialized set of skills and knowledge, they aren’t guaranteed a job in this field. However, being aware of the issue, and making plans ahead of time can help you be better prepared when you step off the platform with your diploma.
Here are a few tips:
Get educated for jobs in areas that have projected growth.
This tip is most important for those who are just starting college or are still able to choose their degree path. Get an education in a field that has projected growth. If the demand is higher in a particular field there is a greater chance that you will be able to get a job using your training. For example, Aerospace Engineers can expect a projected job growth of 7% in their industry from 2012-2022, for Aerospace Professors the job growth is 19% in those same years. While projections are not cold hard fact they give a good idea of what will most likely be the case.
You can find other projections about the aeronautics and aviation industry from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
Try to secure a position before graduation
Look for ways to start a relationship with a company in your desired field before you graduate. You might consider an apprenticeship, paid or unpaid that will turn into a job after graduation. There is also the idea of getting an entry level job within a company before graduation with the potential to move up later on. It may mean taking less pay and not using your exact set of skills, but would allow you to build rapport in that company. After all, sometimes it’s better to get your foot in the door than not have it be open to you at all.
You could also consider taking a career related job or volunteering for a career related project at your school. Doing this would give you some experience without needing a degree. You could add this to your resume when you graduate, and be one step ahead of the game.
Start showing your knowledge now
Just because you are in school to get a specific degree does not mean you can’t start sharing what you know right now. Aside from doing an apprenticeship you could start to post videos, write blogs, and share articles from other viable sources in your field that show your knowledge. Take for example, private pilot Swayne Martin. He is 17 years old and shares his flying adventures and knowledge on his website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. His hope is to become a professional pilot some day. While he is still in his journey, there is a big chance that what he is doing now will pay off later. After all, he already has 2,204 followers on Twitter. People in the aviation industry already know who he is. He has a head start and something to show companies when he becomes a licensed commercial pilot.
Postings like this create an online portfolio that companies can reference later. It will document your progress, and show that you are not afraid to be responsible with the information you know. You never know who might be watching or reading your content.
In any industry, having the education may be the first step. However, it is important to stand out and do something with that knowledge even if you don’t get paid for it right away. Considering the highly competitive nature of the aviation/aeronautics industry, taking this sort of step shows that you have what it takes to be successful. The company that may hire you will be relying on this success.
Next week we will close this series by debugging myth #3 about becoming a master of your craft, so stay tuned.