|Thinking like a Fighter Pilot can help your Career! - Resume Not Required|
I recently had the opportunity to engage in some candid conversation with two very humble fighter pilots who shared some insight on the focus and concentration it takes to operate command and control of an F-35. There is so much more to being a fighter pilot than what a person would think. If there ever was a job that required lots of information to be processed quickly, it is that of a fighter pilot.
At the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, more commonly known as TOPGUN, you go up against the very best pilots in the world. The data captured within a single dog fight over the desert is extraordinarily impressive. The heart rate, eye movement, and reaction time of the pilot is measured. Everything is recorded down to the millisecond because it is within those milliseconds one pilot will be going home and the other will not. It is very serious business at costs that are staggering. The stakes are high and the training is as impressive as the aircraft they fly at speeds well beyond the sound barrier.
In most cases, a pilot during a dog fight is shooting at a target they can’t physically see using on-board information in their heads-up display. They know where the plane is at from any angle - its speed, approach, and every detail that is on the display. Even though the distances are great, they are extremely close when both aircraft approach each other at twice the speed of sound. One pilot compared a dog fight to a knife fight in a telephone booth because at those speeds, that is really how close they are to each other.
The process for a fighter pilot is all about gathering information quickly and making the perfect set of decisions regardless of where they are in the sky. If a pilot is electronically shot down they place an image of a coffin around the plane which has their name within it. It is a stark reminder of the cost of failure.
Many correlations can be drawn between what a job candidate goes through in today's jobs marketplace and what a fighter pilot goes through at TOPGUN. When applying for a job, there are many capable candidates vying for the same position. One will get the job while the other will go home empty-handed. Like a fighter pilot, it is about gathering all the information you can about yourself and the career you are trying to procure. Sometimes you don’t have the clearest view of what you are trying to target, yet at some point, you need to gather the information to have the perfect view to make the right decisions quickly.
There is so much more to landing the right career than what a person would think. Timing is everything - and what is truly amazing is that the timing is always off when you don’t have all the information you need at your finger tips and your competitors do. This is why we work with our customers to help them to validate the information they need to know about themselves, their goals, and the companies they seek to target.
Thinking back on my conversations, one fighter pilot smiled remembering this quote: "And my third grade teacher said you would never amount to anything, or get anyone to pay you for looking out the window!" When you compete in the jobs marketplace for top executive positions it can be like a knife fight in a telephone booth, where the differences between two or three top notch candidates are extremely close. Therefore, just like the best prepared pilots come home the victors, so it is true with the best prepared candidates, who will also come home the victors in a world that is going faster and faster and moving beyond the speed of sound to the speed of thought!