Tips for Landing Your First Pilot Job

Congratulations, you’re flying high with your new commercial pilot license and ready to get started in a career in aviation. Even with the high demand and pilot shortage, employers will often want or need experience before they hire new pilots. Here are some ideas to increase your chances of getting the pilot job of your dreams.

Get a Flight Instructor Certificate

Flight instructing is the most widely available pilot job. After you’ve achieved your commercial certificate you probably don’t want to hear about getting more certificates, but a flight instructor certificate can help you check the boxes employers are looking for and give you more options. Plus if you ever want to take a break from commercial flight, being a flight instructor gives you more flexible hours to fly for yourself and other hobbies.

Don’t Stop Training

The more endorsements and ratings you have the better. Fly as many different airplanes as you can. All of the additional training will make you an irresistible candidate. The more you pad your resume the choosy you can be with who you choose to fly for. 

Research the Market

Don’t take your first offer without knowing all of your options. Don’t just stick with the geographical area you live in as this will limit your opportunities. The market is massive, and having a clear picture of what’s available gets you into the position you want, and gives you negotiating power.


Companies prefer pilot applicants who have recommendations from a current employee. They feel they are taking less risk hiring from a recommendation. Many piloting jobs get filled through word of mouth and are never listed publicly. Get active in the aviation community. Attend aviation events and find volunteering opportunities. Stay in contact with your flight instructors.

Expand Your Non-Flying Skills

One way to differentiate yourself is to bring more to the table than just your pilot certificate. You will be more valuable if you can bring more than just piloting skills to the job. Work on your non-technical skills like customer service, office admin, and even bookkeeping. Larger employers may need help in the regulatory/safety management area.

Always Act like a Professional

Every time you correspond or engage with a person at a company you are being evaluated. That person may be judging your qualifications, your attitude, and ultimately if they’d like to work with you. Even if the person is not directly involved with the hiring decision they will pass along impressions to those who are. Always being polite and professional goes a long way.

Ready to Learn to Fly?

If you’re ready to get your wings choosing a qualified flight school makes all the difference in ease of learning, time to complete your courses, and money spent. Come visit our Florida campus or Tennessee campus. You can request a tour and see all that CTI has to offer our students.

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