Pilot Sample Cover Letter
By Chris Vika & Jennifer Meli
When you send your resume to an airline it should be accompanied by a cover letter. The cover letter has only one goal - to get the recruiters attention. It is therefore very important that you have a strong, professional looking, cover letter that effectively highlights your experience. A recruiter will only spend approximately 15 seconds reviewing your cover letter, so it is important that you are able to write one that will be noticed.
We begin by copying the header from your resume. This makes the two look uniform, and you can simply copy and paste the information into your cover letter.
2. Addressing the Receiver
Like a formal letter, the cover letter should have a date, name, title, and address on the top of the cover letter. If you do not know who to send your resume to - call the airline's corporate office and ask.
3. "To Whom It May Concern"
When starting the cover letter, make sure you name a specific individual. Again, you can obtain this by calling the airline's corporate office and ask. Never start the cover letter with "to whom it may concern." This only shows that you have not taken the time to find out who will be hiring you.
4. The Opening Sentence
If you know someone who already works for the company (who is willing to recommend you), this is the perfect location to namedrop. The person does not have to be a pilot, but should be someone who could have an influence on the recruiter. A good example is a senior captain or someone in management. A poor example is the janitor in the maintenance hangar. If you do not know anyone, then tailor the sentence to the specific airline you are applying to.
5. The Second Paragraph
In this section, tell the airline why you are a good candidate for the job. Let them know how your skills and experience can help them fill their needs. If you are not sure what to include, think about some of the benefits you may bring to the company, and write it in a way that shows your knowledge of the company. If you do not know anything about the company, you should do some additional research. But keep it short, two-to-three sentences max. Remember that the recruiter is not interested in reading a long winded story.
6. Your Qualifications
Here you will highlight your qualifications. Place them in a bulleted list (copy and paste the list from the qualification section of your resume), and be sure that your list cover at least the minimum requirements for the position. This will stand out in your cover letter and easily draw the recruiter's attention. Keep it short. Do not include more than seven bullet points. This will most likely be the first time a recruiter reads about your qualifications, so you should think carefully about what to put in this section. For more information on listing your qualifications, read the article Pilot Sample Resume.
Note that you so far in your cover letter have a mini resume; you have given them a good reason for why they should hire you. Your cover letter is now off to a good start.
7. The Conclusion
In this section, sum up your cover letter with additional information that makes you a great fit for the job. Here you can bring forth your good communication skills, professional image etc. This is again a good opportunity to show some of your knowledge about the airline you are applying to. End the paragraph with a sentence saying that you look forward to the opportunity for an interview.
8. The Closing
Like any formal letter it is important that you sign your cover letter. Keep it formal and use words like "Sincerely" or "Best regards." Type your name, like we have done in the sample cover letter, and make sure you leave enough room for a signature above it. Sign with a blue pen if the resume is to be mailed. If you have to fax your cover letter, then sign with a black pen, as this will show better on a fax machine. Under your printed name you type "enclosure: resume."
Finally, spell check, proof read, and have someone else proof read your cover letter. Spell checking in software like MS Word does not guarantee that it is free from errors. Do not forget to include your resume, and never attach the two together. If possible, avoid handwriting on the envelope. All modern printers can make professional looking labels or print directly on the envelope, so take the time to figure out how you do it.
The article and sample cover letter was written by a professional pilot in conjunction with a professional recruiter. It is intended as guidance only.