I've made the jump

So I have made the jump from a full-time job in construction work to a full time ATP student at 46 years old. I know I’m not really the typical student here, I started my flight training journey way back in 1993, I received my private pilot’s rating in August of 1995. Due to the same old story, getting married, buying a house, and having kids, I inadvertently quit flying in 1999, but after some serious thought decided to pursue a career in flying which I kicked off in December of 2019 by continuing training towards my instrument rating. Fast forward to this year, I started at ATP on a custom program with credit for my commercial rating at the LZU CFI School on June 14th, I passed my CFI initial check ride on July 8th. This wednesday, July the 14th I will be taking my CFII checkride and I will be following the program through to my MEI rating, currently that check ride is scheduled for August 2nd. When I complete the program I Should have between 490 and 500 hours. I have been construction work all of my life, upper level management for the last 15 or so years, and I do not know a whole lot about the airline schedules, or applying for a job. I do understand the concept of seniority, I kind of understand the concept of Junior bases as well. I live in Albemarle, North Carolina which is just outside of Charlotte. Obviously, I would love to end up being based in Charlotte but I know that’s kind of a long shot starting out. My question revolved around how do I go about getting my resume out to perspective employers, and how to best go about building that resume. Every job I have ever gotten up to this point in my life has been from word of mouth, I’ve never had to fill a resume out for anything. So any tips or hints or help pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
My ultimate goal would be to fly for an airline and be based in Charlotte, but my primary goal is to be able to make a living flying. My wife and I have discussed me instructing for ATP to build the last 1000 or so hours that I will need to get me to where I’m ready for my ATP rating, and we are both open to me temporarily living alone somewhere else to take first available instructor job. I would obviously prefer to instruct here at Concord, but I am prepared to do so elsewhere. I’m also prepared to instruct at places other than ATP, but I feel like ATP will get me to my goal faster and to me, right now, speed is more important than the potential money I would be making somewhere else working as an instructor. As I previously stated, any tips, pointers, or help would be greatly.

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Darren,

First congrats on taking the plunge and pretty much checking all the boxes you need to realize your goal as an airline pilot. Now it’s really simply a matter of checking the last box of building the 1500hrs required for hire.

As for getting hired, building your resume etc it’s really much easier than you might think. While the pandemic slowed hiring considerably, the airlines are recovering quickly and all indications are hiring will be ramping up again shortly. Possibly even more aggressively than pre-CV. Airlines look for well trained pilots who meet their hiring requirements and have clean records. Beyond that they’re not overly concerned with your resume. Republic, Piedmont and PSA all have bases in CLT which means you probably have a better chance of getting there than you might think. Once you’ve completed your training and find an instructor position I suggest you reach out to each of the 3. All have recruitment info on their websites. Tell them where you are in the process and your strong desire to fly for them and why (do some research into each so you can express why intelligently). You should get a response and in most cases they’ll tell you what they’re looking for. Letters of Recommendation are always good from the manager of your base and the DEs you meet. Also if there are any recruitment events in your area it’s always a good idea to get some face time.

Once you can check all the boxes getting hired is usually the easiest part of the whole of the whole process.

Adam

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Darren,

First off, congrats on passing your CFI initial checkride! I enjoyed reading your experience so far. I also live in Charlotte and I trained at the Concord ATP location and I couldn’t be more happy with my experience. Unfortunately when it came to a CFI position there, the wait was in excess of 8 months, so I went with the first available option. In February when I completed the program, I applied to a majority of the flight schools in the area but unfortunately very few were actually hiring. And if they were, they were looking for full commitment up to your 1500 hours. However, I think this has changed over the last few months. I’ve seen Aerowood has hired a few new instructors these past couple of months and things are definitely picking back up. If you are wanting to stay in the Charlotte area, you could work for another flight school until your name is called for a position in Concord. And if you want to start with ATP immediately, select first available and then there’s always the option to transfer back to Charlotte down the road. I agree with you that ATP will get you the hours and the consistent training faster than other flight schools, so that’s also something to consider. In terms of working in Charlotte for an airline, I pretty much have the exact viewpoint that Adam mentioned. PSA, Piedmont, and I think Republic all have bases in Charlotte, so I think the best plan is to just to get started instructing, build some hours, then start reaching out and applying. At least that’s what I hope to do. Looks like you’re on a great path so far!

If you have any questions about the ATP hiring process post program, feel free to reach out and I can offer my experience,

Good luck!

Roscoe

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Darren,

I would search online and find a sample pilot resume, or better yet, borrow somebody else’s that is applying for jobs and use it as the basis for your own resume. The best way to get the resume to prospective employers is, in the case of smaller flight schools, to walk in the door and hand it to them. With larger companies, you will need to follow the path that they state on their websites or that their HR department tells you. I would ask other CFIs and see how they have gone about doing this.

As for instructing with ATP, reach out to the manager at your training center and ask them the best way for you to apply.

Chris

Hi, I’ve also found the Regional Airline Association to be a good resource for industry information - here is a link to their 2020 annual report: RAA 2020 Annual Report - Regional Airline Association

Darren,
Congrats on your progress so far! You’re nearing the end of your program which is a very exciting time. I live in Charlotte, NC and did all my ratings as a student and instructing out of Concord, NC. Its a great location with lots of airplanes, students and a MX facility. As soon as you finish up I’d talk to your training support specialist and lead instructor about the wait times at certain locations and see if they’d be willing to write you a letter or recommendation. Those notes can jump you up the list. Make you location preferences online and start working on your resume for other flight schools. I will agree, instructing through ATP should be your top option because you’ll achieve those remaining hours quicker than probably anywhere else.

As for your resume, google some. Make it your own and then just start showing it to everyone and ask for their advice to make it stronger. Other CFI’s will have advice for you as well as DPE’s. The big stuff you need to include: your ratings, type of medical you hold, if you have a unrestricted passport, radio op license, your hours broken down in all the categories plus your 90 day and year recency. Then just add you timeline of experience, where, the dates and a brief description of what you did. For example, College (dates) and below, "Achieved a bachelors in ___ while also participating in ___ and ___. " Then include the job you did prior to switching careers and how it molded you in to the person you are aka work ethic, communication skills, leadership, etc. Then mention ATP just like you mentioned college. “Attended ATP’s accelerated career pilot program completing my CSEL through MEI in ___ months with 0 check ride busts.” Then below your experience, if you have any awards, accolades, community service work. Think about how you can show who you are and your best qualities all on one piece of paper. Hope this helped some!
-Hannah

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Think outside the box if you want to stay close to home.
Are there any local airplane dealers/brokers near you that you could work for? I never earned my CFI with ATP (tried but just ran out of time and money) but my first job was with a large Cessna dealer here in Texas. I ferried planes for them all over the country to and from customers. The CFIs averaged 80hrs a month while I averaged 50 because customers always wanted instruction in the plane they just bought and/or biannual flight reviews in their planes when they would come pick them up after maintenance/annual inspections. I won’t mention names but I think there’s a rather large dealer in Greensboro.