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Job Hunting 101

by Lydia Wiff 1. January 2017 08:00
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As a new year has just begun, some of our readers might be considering a new job or a career change.  I’ve been in the process of job searching and applying as my graduation date is just around the corner and naturally I’ve been thinking about the subject a lot.  This week’s post will focus on some tips on preparing your application and for an interview.

The Application

I recently went through the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Aviation Capstone as part of finishing up my Bachelor studies and we had a few weeks of class activities surrounding the idea of career preparation.  A professor I had in class on several occasions came in as a guest lecturer and spends time outside of his classes as a counselor to individuals who are searching and applying for jobs.

One of the things he stressed the most was making sure that an application was completely filled out when applying.  Leaving blank areas can invite more questions than necessary, but could possibly put a person’s application at the bottom of the stack.  Potential employers need to know you can follow through on a task, so an application is a good place to see if you can read directions and completely fill out a form.  In the aerospace field, you’ll have to do a lot of paperwork and forms, so an application is a good place to start when evaluating a potential job candidate.

Another point he made was to be as thorough as possible when providing information.  For instance, in the airport industry you often have to go through a background check that can go back as far as five to ten years.  While this is a painstaking process, providing as much information as possible makes the process go much smoother than leaving out key details.  It can also raise some potential red flags to a future employer if they see large gaps during those time periods.

Lastly, it’s important to be entirely truthful in your responses to application questions.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but it could mean the difference from not being considered all together or getting a lot of extra questions in the interview process. 

Resume and Cover Letter

I’ve always thought of the resume and cover letter as the most important part of an application.  This is mostly because a resume provides a snapshot of work history, education, skills, etc., while a cover letter gives a snapshot of why a company should consider you as a candidate.  For those reasons, it becomes crucial piece of preparation for any possible job and should be periodically review to make sure information is up-to-date.

The resume is generally kept to one page.  Some professionals with many years of experience will often have two, or even three, pages for their resume while academic professionals, such as professors, will have a curriculum vitae (commonly known as a CV) as their resume.  It’s used most in the academic world, but contains greater detail than your average resume.  College graduates will often use a traditional resume style unless going into an academic position or some related type of job.

Important items to include are your personal information such as mailing address, email and phone number as well as your name.  The actual layout depends on your personal preference and generally includes the following items: an objective, educational degrees (who, what, where, and when), Grade Point Average (GPA), work history, as well as certifications held and personal interests or professional affiliations.

On my resume I have a section for my professional objective, Associate degree, Bachelor degree (clearly noted as in progress), honors level (if obtained), GPA, and then that section is followed by certifications I hold.  Currently, I have my Private Pilot’s License (PPL) for Airplane Single Engine Land (ASEL) as well as my High Performance Endorsement.  Eventually I plan to add certifications as I continue my training in airport operations and management.

The next section I have is work or related experience with jobs I have held in the last few years, particularly those I have held while at UND and in the Airport Management program.  The challenging thing about being limited to one page is that I may not be able to fit all of the jobs held prior to a certain date, however, those jobs are still related to my program.  While I may not be able to add it to my resume, it’s certainly something that can be worked into an interview when they ask about your previous experience.

Lastly, I have a section for my professional affiliations.  This section is sometimes used for hobbies and personal interests and give an idea of what a potential candidate does outside their normal workday.  For instance, for several years I was involved in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the US Air Force Auxiliary, so I list that on my resume as it was a significant period of time I spent in volunteer service.  However, I am inactive in CAP as of right now, so I am careful to delineate dates that I was actively serving in the program.  Oftentimes, applications will an applicant to list any volunteer service organizations, so I will use CAP if I come across such a question.

Lastly, cover letters should also be kept to one page and should be neat and to the point.  A good place to start is to write about your intentions (applying for “X” job) and a summary of your work experience.  It should also use key words that might have been in the job description and any pertinent information you may want to call their attention to.  An employer may spend 5 minutes or less on your entire application, so make it clean and to the point, but with a personal touch.  Addressing the specific person or organization in the header of the letter and salutation is also a nice touch.   As with the resume, I generally use a template I’ve created, but I also make sure to review each application and tailor the cover letter to fit each one.

The Interview & Social Media

After you’ve finished the application process, you may be fortunate enough to get called in for an interview – this could involve a teleconference, a videoconference (common these days), or an in-person interview.  While a potential employer may have an idea of you on paper, you only get one shot at an in-person impression.

My professor at UND always stressed being professional in every way when it comes not only to your work, but an interview.  Preparing for your interview a few weeks ahead of time will help not only to reduce stress, but make sure you are on track.  Preparing answers to possible technical questions for your particular line of work, or field, as well as scenario questions (“Tell me about a time…”) are a good way to prepare and get your head in the game.

Additionally, preparing what you will wear is also important.  Suits are always a must and a black or navy blue with neutral or toned-down ties, accessories, etc. are a good start.  Making sure that your personal grooming is taken care of a head of time when it comes to getting a haircut, or shaving that winter beard off (this is important to males when they interview at airlines).  Additionally, going easy on the cologne or perfume, or forgoing it altogether can possibly prevent triggering your interviewer(s) allergies during the actual interview.  Of course, don’t forget to shower or use deodorant – this isn’t college!

Preparing ahead of time will can go a long way to feeling more comfortable in the interview setting.  As always, don’t get too comfortable – good stress is helpful in keeping you on your toes and focus.

Lastly, think long and hard about your social media use.  It’s more of an issue for my generation because of the ability to quickly access the internet from our phones, tables, etc.  A good rule of thumb is if your grandma would be shocked, then it’s probably something that shouldn’t be out there.  Also, comments about the work environment, coworkers, and bosses should be avoided, especially if in poor taste.  It doesn’t matter how private your settings are – someone, sooner or later, can find it.  I’m not saying social media is a no-no, I would just be careful what you put out there in general.

One other note: you might want to consider using professional sites such as LinkedIn which are often free and can be an extension of your traditional resume.  I’ve also used it to connect with those I’ve worked with or met in the industry and a way to network professionally.  I can also use it to keep track of special projects, events, etc., that I’ve been involved with over the last several years in addition to awards and certifications earned.  More and more, potential employers are using the internet to research candidates and LinkedIn is a positive way to present your past and present professional history.  I’ve also referenced it on more than one occasion when digging back into the last several years for job applications.

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully this article has been a good refresher on the job search process, but with some new twists on preparing an application.  While it’s an exciting time to be in the market looking for a job as an almost-graduate, it can also be an unnerving process.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to your college adviser, professor, or friends and family when preparing. 

 

Best wishes to all those in the job market!

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GlobalAir.com | Lydia Wiff | UND

Trade Show? I Think You Mean Fun Show!

by Lydia Wiff 1. November 2016 10:00
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Growing up, I always remember my dad attending trade shows for the different companies he worked for.  Now, he was an engineer, so I always assumed they were pretty boring (sorry, Dad!).  It didn’t matter if he came home with all the trade show cool swag like pens, pencils, reusable bags, hats, or stress balls (to a kid, those things are like gold).  Several years later, I have learned that trade shows, aviation ones of course, are tons of fun and the opportunities to network and learn are endless!  This post will cover a few that I have had the chance to personally attend as well.

Air Venture

What summer would be complete without a trip to Oshkosh, WI for the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Air Venture?  I know, people don’t really think of it as a trade show, but have you really looked around when you’ve been there?

Icon is giving demos of their recreational aircraft (you can fish from it!), Cirrus is writing up orders for their new jet, and general aviation is absolutely thriving during this aviation extravaganza.  Hundreds of companies tote their wares all week in the hope they will meet new customers, see their current customers, and really just get their name out there.  9am-5pm are the show hours, but networking goes on for hours after the show is closed.

Companies like Cirrus, Piper, Pilatus, Kodiak, and many other woo their customers and new clients with cookouts, dinners, and more.  New products get shown over dinner and deals get sealed by the time the dessert menu gets passed around.  Additionally, this “trade show” features class acts from aerobatics pilots, showcases military aircraft from every era of aviation, in addition to the biggest pyrotechnic show you’ll ever see at an airport (actually, it’s probably the only one at an airport). 

I love going to Oshkosh when I have the chance and even if you aren’t working with a company, it’s a great place to network.  Just sitting at lunch one day this summer, I met a pilot who flies for SkyWest – now, tell me that Air Venture isn’t the most fun you’ll ever have at a “trade show”. 

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

The second trade show I’ve had the opportunity to attend is that of the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (BACE) in Las Vegas in November 2015.  This particular trade show caters to any type of business with a corporate flight department in the United Sates and all over the world. 

I had the opportunity to attend last fall with a group from the University of North Dakota (UND).  Since we were students attending, we got a huge break in the conference fee and by that I mean it was so affordable even for a poor, college student!  All we had to do was take care of meals, flights, and lodging.  I found some fellow students from Purdue University who were members of Women in Corporate Aviation which proved to be a great networking opportunity in and of itself. 

Additionally, there were many universities that had their own booths at BACE including any company you could possibly think of.  I actually sat on one of the shuttle buses with a gentleman from Italy who worked for Pilatus – I told you it was a worldwide affair!  I also had the chance to meet those from other companies at the different booths in addition to after-hours functions.  A fun memory was going to the Las Vegas Executive Airport and looking at all of the static aircraft displays.  Gulfstream had many different aircraft on display, which is one of my favorite business jet manufacturers.

Lastly, NBAA BACE was a great way to faces to names.  I actually got to meet the owners of Globalair.com and those that had given me the blogging scholarship that year.  If I wasn’t so busy with classes, I’d be back this year promoting the scholarship!

Why Trade Shows?

You’re probably sitting there wondering why you should go to trade shows in general.  Besides the FUN aspect of trade shows, it’s important to continue to network even though you might currently be a student, or even if you are well into your career.

Last year, I had a professor that really pushed students to attend NBAA and to network in general.  In fact, many of my professors, including my adviser, always push students to get their names out there.  It doesn’t matter if it’s introducing yourself to a guest lecturer, meeting alumni, or attending trade shows.  I guess what I’m getting at here is that you never know what’s around the corner and growing your professional network only builds your contact list in addition to the possible jobs that could arise from it. 

Plus, going to these events is a great way to catch up with alumi!  I love running into people I know at these events – it makes the event that much more memorable and we get to talk about aviation (I mean, who doesn’t?).


Remember, NBAA BACE is just around the corner!

November 1-3, 2016 – Orlando, FL

Visit the Globalair.com booth – Booth 4936!

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GlobalAir.com | Aircraft For Sale | Lydia Wiff | NBAA | UND

So You Want To Insure Your Plane...

by Lydia Wiff 15. October 2016 10:00
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Imagine yourself here: you’ve finally saved enough to buy that beauty of a Cessna 172. You have got your pre-buy done, the loan paperwork finished and the delivery to your home airport all arranged.  You suddenly remember that you need insurance, but realize you have no clue if aircraft insurance works the same as car insurance.  Today’s post is designed to give readers an idea of how aviation insurance works – you’ll see that aviation insurance is similar to your car, but also very different. Before I give you the low-down on aircraft insurance works, it’s important to get a little history.

A Brief History 

After World War I, we begin to see the emergence of the civil aviation industry which goes hand in hand with the aviation insurance industry.  Post-war brought a surplus of war aircraft which were then either dumped into the market for pennies on the dollar.  An aircraft which had previously cost the government, such as $17,000 for a Curtiss Jenny, was being sold in the open market for as little as $50 – I don’t know about you but I’d buy an airplane right now if a Cessna was that cheap!

Former military pilots all over the country were buying these cheap planes up using them for a variety of civil aviation activities such as barnstorming (trick flying), crop dusting, mail delivery, passenger transport, and more.  As one can imagine, these new civil aviation activities added a whole new risk for insurance companies and often resulted in crashes for a variety of reasons.  Companies were ill-equipped to handle this new risk and many saw a significant loss as a result.

However, one company rose to the occasion, despite an almost certain loss, and Travelers Insurance Company became the first to announce a comprehensive program specifically for air risks in 1919.  Travelers wrote lines of insurance primarily for maintenance, operation, and the use of an aircraft for private and commercial operations.  Several lines were included in the program including: life insurance, accident insurance for owners and pilots, trip accident ticket insurance, Workers’ Compensation insurance, and public liability and property damage insurance.  While Travelers was the first to offer these lines of insurance, it’s important to note that they did not include lines for damage to the actual aircraft (this is referred to as hull coverage). 

Over the next few years, which Travelers anticipated to be a period of profit, the company ceased to exist in 1931 after being in business for 12 years.  Several other companies sprung up during those first years after Travelers made their foray into aviation insurance.  As the aviation insurance industry stabilized, companies that exist still today started to appear such as United Sates Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG), the Associated Aviation underwriters (AAU), and the Aero Insurance Underwriters (AIU).  With several new companies in the U.S. market and an abundance of accidents during the early years, companies began to look for ways to spread the risk so that losses were not so significant. 

Group Approach, the Law of Large Numbers, & Reinsurance

As many new companies were entering the aviation insurance industry, it was discovered there was a more economical way to do business in addition to spreading the risk.  Individual companies were taking huge losses when a claim was filed because of the damage to aircraft and property as well as the deaths of those involved.

The “Group Approach” was created with the intent not only to spread the risk between many companies but also to spread the profit between those same companies.  The founders of the group approach did considerable research in Europe (a country with a more developed aviation insurance industry) and found that indemnification (making a party whole after a loss) could be handled safely only by employing the group approach.  This new method of the group approach also brought about the synonymous concept of the “Law of Large Numbers” – the risk and profit are spread over a large number of companies which allows for a much more stable aviation insurance industry.

Another approach used to stabilize the insurance industry was the approach of “reinsurance”.  In the early days of insurance, a devastating fire threatened to bankrupt several of the local insurers and it was quickly discovered that insurance companies themselves needed to be insured against such catastrophic losses.  What began as a way to protect insurance companies became the essential element of aviation market supporting major airlines, airports, and even space risks.  Aviation insurance can be similar to auto insurance (premiums, liability, etc.), however there are some key differences that are important to know about. 

Direct Writers, Brokers, Underwriters & Policy Term Length

Recently I bought a new car.  To add it to my insurance, all I did was call up my insurance agent at State Farm® and give the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year, and the accident history.  I opted for full coverage since it was a much newer car than I had owned previously and in a matter of minutes I had a binder (temporary insurance policy) ready for me at the office to pick up so that I could use my new car.

State Farm® is a great example of what is known as a Direct Writer.  A direct writer gives a you an aircraft policy option through their company, just like an auto insurance agent.  There is actually only one company that currently issues policies this way –  the Avemco Insurance Company.   This company is actually very popular with private owners of aircraft in general aviation, airports and Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs).  It can be argued that Avemco gives the best deal as they directly write their own polices, which brings me to the concept of insurance brokers.

Insurance brokers (as well as agents) are the middle men between insurance companies and people looking for insurance.  Brokers work for a commission (percentage) of the premium and work with certain companies to find the best policy for their client much like aircraft brokers look for the best buyer for their clients’ aircraft.  When they gather a list of different policies, they take them back to their client for comparison and selection.  Agents are a representative of an insurer and have delegated authority to act on behalf of their company.  Insurance agents, however, are often certified as both an agent and a broker.

An important item for novice plane owners to know is that the policy term is much different than that of auto insurance.  For instance, if you have auto insurance, you are probably set up for auto-renewal.  You pay your bill every month, every 6 months, etc., and your coverage continues along.  However, when it comes to aircraft insurance, a policy must be reviewed every year – this means that Avemco, your agent, or broker will be giving you a call to re-write your policy contract.  While this may be slightly annoying to you, it is actually in your best interest as it allows the company to revisit you and the aircraft and see what has changed in the last year.  The assumption is that risk has changed at some point whether that relate to you as the pilot or the aircraft itself.

Closing Thoughts

Prior to a few months ago, I actually could not have told you the differences between auto and aviation insurance.  Since then I have been taking a class about aviation insurance and learning that it is a lot more complex that I originally thought.  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to insure an aircraft at this point, but just learning about it will only help me to become a more informed consumer.  Hopefully that is the case for my readers as well!

Works Cited

Brandon Wild, Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota, Aviation Insurance, Lecture, Fall 2016.

Wells, A., & Chadbourne, B. (2007). Introduction to aviation insurance and risk management. Malabar, Fla: Krieger.

Images courtesy of Google Images.

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GlobalAir.com | Aircraft For Sale | Lydia Wiff | UND

Where Are They Now?

by Lydia Wiff 15. September 2016 08:00
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Ever wondered what happens to students after they graduate?  Ever notice how their news on lives suddenly tapers off in our modern-day world where social media this time of year used to be filled with this class and that class, hockey games, football games, etc.?  Well, this summer I had the chance to catch up with a recent University of North Dakota (UND) graduate, Tony Batson, at the 2016 AirVenture in Oshkosh and learn about how he started at UND and what he’s up to these days.  

That Chicago Kid…

Tony grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL and not surprisingly, had exposure to aviation from a young age.  His father was a big part of his interest in aviation as he was told stories about aviation in World War II as a young kid.  Tony was also into model aircraft building as well as Remote Controlled Aircraft (RCA).  His interest for aviation piqued in high school when he had his first Discovery Flight at Chicagoland Aviation and soon he was working for the company as an aircraft detailer and in their office at the Lewis University Airport (KLOT).

Tony began his search for an aviation university in high school and looked at schools such as Purdue University, and others.  One of his managers was actually a UND alumni which greatly factored in his decision as he heard of how professors at UND would go above and beyond for their students. On a “freezing, cold October day”, Tony made the trip to the upper Midwest and the rest was history.

Being at UND…

Like most students, Tony’s first year was a bit of a culture shock – especially coming to the Midwest after living in the suburbs of a major U.S. city.  His roommate, a local to Grand Forks, took him under his wing.  Tony remembers when they first met his roommate offering his cars and spare keys for whenever he needed to use it.

Flying didn’t always come naturally for Tony and sometimes lessons were challenging, but Tony “hit the ground running”.   He wasn’t just involved in flying – he was also involved in different student groups on campus.

There were many groups that focused on aviation at UND, but Tony remembers Alpha Eta Roe as the “one club I really stuck with”.   As soon as he joined, he had a position – he worked his way through different leadership positions and ended up as the President of the aviation fraternity.  He remembers it as a way to network with leaders of other student groups on campus and what a benefit it was.

After UND…

College wasn’t always about Alpha Eta Ro as he remembers advisers and professors alike as being a positive influence on his time at UND.  However, the fraternity proved to be more than just a spare time activity as his work with the president of Piper Aircraft on a recent visit to UND landed him a job as a graduate intern in the Marketing Department.

He enjoys working with Piper Aircraft as it is something new every day.  Some days he could be working on developing checklists, or he’s working with Sales and matching sales leads with regional dealers or making that first contact.  Recently, he’s been working on marketing the new fleet of Piper aircraft being built to replace the aircraft at UND (and doing a great job, by the way).

Some Words for Students…

I often wonder what graduates would say to students at UND, almost at UND, or fellow graduates.  Tony advises prospective students to get involved and get to know people while his advice to current students is to work hard because it’s a great time for pilots right now.  Grads have some special advice that he tries to embody on a day-today basis:  pay it forward and help the people behind you.

Where Are They Going?

After catching up with Tony, I couldn’t help but be excited about his aviation journey which is just beginning.  I also ruminated on how his current job and experiences were because of UND and the groups he was involved in while a student there – UND is truly a great place to be.

Are you a UND alumni?  Feel free to comment with your memories as a student there or any other school you attended!

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GlobalAir.com | Lydia Wiff | Piper | UND



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