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6 Tips to Keep Your Helicopter Career Moving Forward

Posted 10 years 231 days ago ago by Admin


6 Tips to Keep Your Helicopter Career Moving Forward

By Janie Foster & Stacy Sheard

1.  Be in control
In order to move forward in your career, you need to exercise some semblance of control over it. You are accountable for your own success; stay proactive, think ahead, make goals, build a timeline, look for opportunities, and be adaptable enough to change plans when an unexpected opportunity comes your way.

2.  Stay positive
If you think your dream job is impossible, then you may as well give up now.  Your attitude will determine your success. It is easier to reach something if you are optimistic, see possibility, and actually believe it is attainable.  Positive people are inspirational and a pleasure to be around – no one wants to hang out with a Negative Nancy.

3.  Update your resume
It is vital to regularly update your aviation resume.  Keep it current, relevant and available in case an opportunity arises.  Your resume should reflect you as a person, and your overall aviation career.  Ask a mentor or friend to proof read it, or model yours after a friend’s successful aviation resume.

4.  Develop more skills
Staying current, learning new concepts, and developing additional skills will help you maintain the edge in your aviation career.  This could mean taking an online course, or applying for a scholarship to help pay for that night vision goggle endorsement you’ve thought about.  In today’s world, it is essential to stay ahead of the exponential curve by always educating yourself – regardless of your age.  Be a valuable, well-rounded asset.  Keep current on the helicopter business by subscribing to industry e-mails and following helicopter industry blogs and news sources.  (Humble Editor’s Note:  Rotorcraft Pro magazine and Justhelicopters.com are two good, free sources!)

5.  Network
We all know this is a small industry, and so many of the jobs are filled through recommendations.  You can go it alone, but why not take advantage of a collective effort to achieve better results, faster?  Invest in your career by attending helicopter and other aviation industry events.
Take educational courses.  Go early, stay late, be authentic, get out from under your shell and say “Hello” to people, and then stay in touch with them.  Networking is all about making friends.  Your job search starts years before you’re ready for the job, because people prefer to hire a known quantity.  It’s whom you know – and whom they know.  Get plugged in and stay plugged in!
6.  Give Back
Now that you’re thinking positive and networking a bit – give a little back.  Mentor someone in the aviation industry, or just help a friend.  When you’re not feeling particularly positive, call someone that might need encouragement, or just be a sounding board for them; it’ll take your mind off your problems for a while and make you feel good.  So, reach out and help another brother – or sister!


Janie Foster is currently flying the AW139 with Era Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico.  In addition to offshore support, Janie has worked in various segments of the helicopter industry, including SAR / medevac, wild land firefighting, and logging.

Stacy Sheard is a former U.S. Army Huey and Black Hawk pilot who has also flown charter, tours, ENG, EMS, and corporate aviation.  She is currently an S76 and S92 test pilot with the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

Janie and Stacy are two of many speakers who participate in the HeliSuccess Career Development Seminar produced every year by the Rotorcraft Pro Media Network. This seminar is designed to offer helicopter industry professionals, who may be new to the industry or in a transition phase of their career, an opportunity for learning and networking.  It is also for those who are looking for inside information that may give them that competitive edge in the helicopter industry hiring process. The next HeliSuccess is in Las Vegas on November 3-4, 2013. To learn more, search for HeliSuccess on Google.