By: Lauren Burmester
This year’s 27th annual Women In Aviation International (WAI) Conference was held in Nashville, TN March 10th-12th. The theme this year was Connect, Engage, and Inspire. There was no shortage of opportunities to accomplish all three. Thousands of aspiring aviators from over the world gathered to network, connect, and encourage each other through keynote speakers, educational sessions, exhibit hall, scholarship awards, and good times with individuals from all areas of aviation—students to professionals, GA to commercial, military, and beyond. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with hiring managers from over 100 aviation related companies participating in the exhibit: http://www.wai.org/16conference/exhibitors.cfm. There’s no better place to be inspired, share your enthusiasm, and connect with others who share your passion for the aviation industry!
This year’s conference offered some new options for those seeking employment at the exhibit. Fair attendees could sign up for a “Fast Pass” option which allowed them to speak one-on-one in a separate area of the exhibit with select companies. These companies also offered 45 minute hiring briefings, open to all attendees, to discuss the current and future hiring needs as well as the requirements for certain jobs. Speaking with many of the hiring managers from corporate flight departments, regional airlines, cargo operators, and legacy airlines, even though the demand for pilots is high, so are the standards to get a chance at one of these highly competitive positions. This is why it is important to take advantage of the opportunity to meet face-to-face, network, and gain additional insight into the company as well as the application process.
Not only do you have the advantage of networking at conferences, but you also have the opportunity to learn more about companies that you might not be familiar with and increase your options. Currently, the demand for pilots at the regional level is high so you have many choices, and do not have to accept the first offer you get. Make sure to take time to do research on the companies and see which one is the best fit for you. Because the aviation industry is so tight-knit, having a strong supportive professional network is essential to the success and growth of your career. It’s never too early to start building your professional network.
Lauren Burmester is the Assistant Director in Career Services and Adjunct Professor for the Aeronautical Science Department. She has been an employee with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2006 working in Advising and Admissions. She completed both her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Studies with concentrations in Aviation Safety, Space Studies, and Business Administration, as well as a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Safety Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, graduating with distinction. Lauren’s passion for the Aviation and Aerospace industry is instrumental in teaching and assisting students to achieve their personal and professional goals.