Pilot Sample Resume
By Chris Vika & Jennifer Meli
Having a strong resume is the key to getting the job you want. Remember that the person who receives your resume will only look at it for an average of 15 seconds. It is therefore very important that you are able to emphasize the skills that make you stand out from your peers.
A resume is a summary of your experience and qualifications. Your resume cannot be strong without the proper qualifications. At the same time your qualifications cannot be strong without a proper resume. A resume should only be one page long, so it is important that you include only the most appropriate information.
Print your resume on resume paper. You find resume paper in most office supply stores. Your resume should not be folded or attached to the cover letter, so make sure you also purchase large envelops. If you struggle to make everything fit on one page you can adjust the margins and font size. Do not use a font smaller than 10 points. If you change the margins, make sure that top, bottom, and both sides look balanced. If you still cannot fit everything - see if there is anything you can exclude from your resume. Remember that a resume is a summary, not your life story.
To the right, you see a sample resume that is split into seven sections; header, objective, qualifications, pilot credentials, experience, education, and achievements. We will now take a closer look at these important sections that make a strong pilot resume.
1. The Header
This is where you include your name and contact details. The header in our sample resume is only one way to do it. You can set up the header however you like, as long as it looks neat and contain the details listed below.
Include your name on the top of your resume in bold letters. If you have a middle name, use your middle initial instead. Example; "James Elroy Bloggs" becomes "James E. Bloggs" on a resume. You do not have to use a large font to make your name stand out.
This should be the address you want the airline to mail any correspondence. Make sure you are able to frequently check the mail at this address. Do not use your mailing address at work and refrain from using a post box address if at all possible.
Many companies today will only accept resumes sent electronically, thus receiving a reply via e-mail is very likely. Use your personal address, not your work e-mail, and make sure it is not too casual. firstname.lastname@example.org is a very neutral and personal address while email@example.com is too informal and unprofessional. firstname.lastname@example.org is just embarrassing and will not look good on a resume.
Include the phone number you are most likely to be reached on. As a minimum this phone should have an answering service, like a voicemail or an answering machine, which you check frequently. Make sure your outgoing message convey a professional image. Most likely this is the way an airline will contact you after reading your resume.
Common objectives are "First Officer", "Flight Instructor", or "Airline Pilot". If you are applying to an already advertised position, put the name the airline named the position in the objective field. Do not get too specific if you are submitting a general application. Most airlines will keep your resume on file and call you for an interview when a position opens up. This can sometimes take months.
This is the most important section on your resume as it contains all of the qualifications that make you eligible for the job. List your highest held certificate, additional certificates that are of relevance to the job, core flying hours, and any type ratings. If you have a college degree, this too should be listed here. Do not list high school, unfinished degrees or diplomas/courses that are not of relevance to the job. Make sure that the requirements listed by the airline are listed in your qualifications section. This is normally how far a pilot recruiter will initially read, so it is important that you at least have the minimum requirements for the job listed in this section.
4. Pilot Credentials
In this section, you will break down all your flying hours and list all other certificates that you have not already listed under qualifications. Highlight your total flying hours and put them in bold on top of the other flying hours. It is not necessary to include solo hours, instruction received, number of landings, or simulated instrument. Use common sense and include what you think is necessary.
When applying for an airline, multi engine hours, turbo-prop/jet hours, second in command time, and hours flow on a specific type should be included. Example of a specific type is "1,200 hours B737-400." Do this when you know the company you are applying for flies a type you have previous experience in. Do not put turbo-prop/jet hours or second in command time under pilot credentials if your experience here is 0. Again, common sense should dictate what break down of flight hours is worth including.
List all previous work experience as a pilot. The key is to keep it short and easy to read. The last thing you want to do is flood the recruiter with an abundance of detailed information. Include only the highest position attained with a company, what aircraft it was in, and the duration of employment in years. Make the job description short and include where the company is located. Do not include non-flying work experience. A recruiter is not interested in your college job or what you did before you started flying.
List the highest education you have obtained. If you have a college degree, list the degree and the university where you studied. If you have some college but no degree, you may list the college and the course of study. Also include your Grade Point Average (GPA) if it is higher than 3.0. Do not list your high school or courses of no relevance.
This section is optional and can be omitted if you do not have enough room on your resume. Further, you should not include achievements on your resume if you do not have any. Examples of achievements are honors awards, prices, or any other achievement you believe will make you stand out from others. In our sample resume James Bloggs has won some aerobatic championships.
Your resume is a sales tool intended to get you an interview for the jobs you have applied for. It does not have to look identical to the sample resume we have provided. Think about the job you are applying for and then set up the resume accordingly. It is ok to have a standardized pilot resume, but making a few adjustments before you send it to an airline may help you gain the recruiters attention. Remember that all airlines do not have the same hiring requirements; therefore your resume will stand a better chance if you tailor it to the airline you are applying for.
And before you send it - make sure to proof read, check any spelling errors, and have someone else proof read the resume for you. Automated spell checking, like in MS Word, does not guarantee it is free from miss-spellings and grammatical errors.
Never send a resume alone. Make sure it is accompanied by a cover letter. 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. Follow these guidelines and your resume should be off to a strong start.
The article and sample resume was written by a professional pilot in conjunction with a professional recruiter. It is intended as guidance only.