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Managing job rejection in aviation: Moving on to other opportunities without losing momentum

Job rejections are unfortunately common, especially in highly competitive fields such as aviation, where numerous candidates from all over the world apply for roles across its various sectors. Although the majority of them may possess the skills and experience required to get hired, only the select few will be offered the job in the end. Despite the odds, it's important for candidates not to be discouraged by rejection and to persist in their job search efforts. In this article, we will offer ways in which you can take a more pragmatic approach to rejection without letting disappointment prevent you from pursuing your aviation career goals.

business meeting

Much like in other sectors, securing a job in aviation isn't always guaranteed. Various factors come into play, including your skill level, experience, personality, and work ethic. These attributes are crucial, and actively working on honing them may increase your chances of landing your desired role. However, it's essential to recognise that the competition is fierce. In most industries, only 2% of applicants secure interviews, leaving the remaining 98% disappointed. Additionally, more than half of all candidates face rejection at the initial interview stage. Despite these challenges, perseverance and continuous self-improvement remain key in navigating the competitive aviation job market.

5 ways to manage job rejection in aviation and stay motivated

Each job will have different expectations and requirements that you would need to meet to be considered suitable. With every application you send, you should accept the fact that there might be a chance of getting rejected. As aviation recruitment experts, rejecting candidates is never pleasant, however, we have identified ways to help you manage rejections so that you don’t lose morale.

1. Accept the fact that you may not be the right fit

Don’t take rejection too personally as most of the time it happens due to lack of experience, wrong cultural fit, and strong competition. Rather than internalising the experience, and letting it impact your confidence, try to avoid dwelling on it too much, and consider changing your job searching approach. For example, if you’re a cabin crew candidate, it’s important to demonstrate that you are customer-oriented with the right qualifications.

2. Don’t beat yourself up, manage your expectations instead

Rejection is never the desired outcome for candidates who invest significant effort in their job search. However, it's essential not to be too hard on yourself if your efforts don't yield immediate results. Remember, positive outcomes are not always guaranteed. Instead, focus on setting realistic goals and expectations to prepare yourself for potential challenges or setbacks along the way. While it's crucial to be well-prepared for every job interview, maintaining a positive outlook in the face of rejection can help you stay resilient and motivated.

3. View rejection as an opportunity for bigger and better

man taking notes

Sometimes rejection serves as a catalyst for re-evaluating your career options and identifying new areas where you could excel. Many skills are transferable in aviation, allowing you to explore different opportunities within the vast industry. For instance, a cabin crew member could transition to a role as a flight dispatcher, leveraging their aviation knowledge and communication skills in a new capacity, while enhancing their experience through a new direction.

4. Reflect and learn from the experience

On reflection, negative experiences often provide valuable insights, as we take the chance to assess our approach with a wiser attitude. Seeking feedback from your potential employer or recruiter, and using it to improve for next time, is crucial. Feedback is a great way to learn what you may not have got quite right and make informed decisions in your next applications.

5. Take it as a chance to sharpen your interviewing skills for next time

candidate interview

Some candidates are better at interviewing than others, which can significantly impact their hiring outcome. Even if you possess the necessary skills for the job, your ability to effectively communicate your goals and experience might not resonate with the organisation, affecting the hiring decision. Practising your responses to common interview questions and refining your communication style can greatly improve your ability to connect with potential employers. Always observe which answers land better and which don’t, so you can work on them afterwards.

4 tips to avoid sabotaging your job search

While candidates strive to succeed in their job applications, they sometimes mistakenly take the wrong approach to their CVs or interviews. Unfortunately, mistakes made in the application process cannot be undone, but they can be learned from. However, making small changes can significantly improve your chances in future applications.


To help you avoid these pitfalls, here are four tips to prevent you sabotaging your efforts:

With a single job advertisement garnering approximately 118 applications, with only 20% progressing to the interview stage, standing out becomes essential. The high number of job applications and limited time recruiters spend on each CV underscores the importance of presenting yourself effectively. To increase your chances of getting noticed, tailor your CV to the specific role you're applying for. Opt for a comprehensive layout that is easy to read.

2. Emphasise your contribution to your past employers

online interview

Don’t just list your past job duties and responsibilities. Recruiters would also like to know what impact you’ve had in the businesses you were involved in, any personal objectives you may have met, and how those aligned with the organisation. By doing this, you’ll enhance your appeal to airlines who are looking for driven individuals who are not only willing to perform their duties, but to go that extra mile as well.

3. Don’t let overconfidence cloud your judgement, always prepare in advance

Just because you’ve been invited for an interview or two doesn’t mean that you have secured the job. Even if you are an experienced aviation professional who has gone through this process numerous times in your lifetime, you still have to prepare for each individual interview.

4. Don’t just search alone, use the specialist help of an aviation recruitment consultancy

Don’t rely solely on your own efforts in your job search when there are expert recruitment consultancies that can put you in the right path. Seeking assistance from a reputable recruitment consultancy will not only help you expand your search, but it will also help you navigate the job market more effectively. Recruiters have the experience and the contacts to present you with the most suitable opportunities, and match your skills with the right role.

Keep trying

Aviation is an industry that has long struggled with staff shortages. Despite airlines' efforts to address this issue by expanding their workforce, candidates still need to demonstrate that they possess the necessary skills to fill these crucial positions. Our tips and advice will help you to rethink your job search strategy so you can not only land your desired role at your desired airline, but leave your mark in the organisation as well. As you go through the long job hunting process, you will need to develop resilience to cope with rejection, adaptability to refine your approach, and determination to persevere until you achieve success.


Looking for your next aviation role?

Every year we help hundreds of individuals find rewarding new roles within the aviation industry. Working with a variety of airlines from across the world, we provide an end-to-end service that matches you with the right aviation role, in the right organisation.


The AeroProfessional team are specialists in the recruitment and selection of aviation professionals across the globe. Reach out to the team today to discuss your current hiring challenges and gain the expert advice and guidance you need to ensure your hiring strategy gains maximum success.


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