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Career Seminar Session Links Students With Mentors

November 1, 2012

Recent college graduates are facing a tough job market. But students who attended the careers seminar held on Nov. 1 at NBAA2012 might have improved their employment prospects after receiving sage advice from several-dozen industry mentors who shared tips on how to break into business aviation.

The roundtable discussion, sponsored by NBAA and the University Aviation Association (UAA), enabled college students to pick the brains of a variety of experienced industry professionals, from pilots and aviation personnel recruiting specialists to fixed base operator personnel and NBAA regional representatives.

NBAA’s Sarah Wolf, project manager, professional development, welcomed the students and told them of the availability of summer internships and scholarships through the Association. She also introduced the NBAA regional representatives attending the seminar and urged students to join a regional group in their area to gain access to professional advice on an ongoing basis.

The UAA’s Carolyn Williamson noted that her organization offers a weeklong program each January where students can come to Washington, DC and tour various aviation organizations, such as the National Transportation Safety Board, to get a feel for the career opportunities available in the nation’s capital.

For most of the session, participants spent time talking directly to aviation professionals, who detailed the many opportunities available to individuals beginning careers in business aviation.

These mentors provided a lot of practical advice. For example, Aviation Personnel International’s Colleen Kelly offered a tip that any jobseeker should use: When seeking a position, address your letter to a specific person within the organization you want to join.

Hawker Beechcraft’s Bob Blouin told students that in addition to outlining their general experience on a résumé and in job interviews, they should share with prospective employers how they took leadership roles in various projects, explaining how they effectively managed people to achieve the stated goal.

Danielle Tanner, a marketing specialist with Pentastar Aviation, told students that making personal connections is vital. “Collect business cards and use LinkedIn,” he said. “It’s all about who you know.”

Andrew Williams, an aerospace engineering student from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is planning to enter the Air Force upon graduation and specialize in cyberspace operations. But he would consider a job in business aviation after his stint in the service is over. “This is my first NBAA Convention, and I have been impressed with the passion for aviation that the people in this industry have.”