How to Write an Aviation Resume: The individuals in charge of hiring at airlines typically look through a large number of applicants. How do you differentiate yourself from others?
It is of the utmost importance to have a resume that is spotless, well-organized, and simple to read, regardless of whether you are just beginning your career in the business or seeking to land your ideal job.
Because your resume is frequently the very first impression that a potential employer (or admissions officer or scholarship committee) will get of you, it is important to invest the time and effort necessary to ensure that they have the impression that you are someone who is well-organized, intelligent, and procedure-detail oriented.
Even if you have written a resume or CV (“curriculum vitae”) for a job that has nothing to do with aviation, you need to know that pilot resumes are different in important ways from other resumes.
The resume that comes next is a typical example of an aviation resume.
You can also download our editable Aviation Resume Template below
1. Overall Format
In aviation, in contrast to many other fields of work, the normal resume length is just one page. This will influence many of your decisions and may require you to be creative with format, margins, font, and line spacing. Bear in mind that a resume does not have to convey everything about you; rather, it should only highlight the aspects of your background that are most relevant to the business or organisation that you are looking to work for.
The idea is to display enough information to express your strengths without making the page so busy and difficult to read that it is impossible to do so. It need to have a beautiful appearance and be balanced from left to right as well as from top to bottom.
You should make use of one or two contemporary typefaces that are easy to read (I prefer Avenir Next; other common fonts are Helvetica Neue, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and Verdana).
Numerous sectors, notably those associated with the creative arts, have adopted more contemporary resume forms, which include the use of color, images, numerous columns, introduction paragraphs, and lists of both technical and non-technical talents, as well as keywords that are descriptive. On the other hand, I think most companies in the aviation industry prefer traditional ways of thinking to creative ones, and your resume needs to show that.
Your name ought to be front and center, and it ought to be set apart from the rest of the content adequately. You should use a classy font for this section of your resume, rather than the one you used for the rest of the document (Here I used Didot; Garamond is another nice choice). It is a matter of taste and mostly depends on how wordily your parents named you whether you use your middle name, middle initial, or merely your first and last name, but you should aim to match what you put on your application and cover letter. Some people place their contact information in the footer of the document, but I prefer to put it in the header.
Although the objective has mostly been replaced by the executive summary in many industries that are not related to aviation, we nevertheless use it very frequently. You should tailor not only the rest of your resume but also this section specifically to each job and employer/organization that you have your sights set on. Make sure that the job title and, most importantly, the name of the possible employer are spelled correctly in your application. If you apply to work for Delta Air Lines and say that you wish to work for “Delta Airlines,” you will immediately be moved to the bottom of the queue.
This might either come before or after the sections that are specifically about flying. If you have a degree that is at least four years long and your potential employer is known to place a high emphasis on education, I would suggest that this part should be first on your resume. You should mention your education after your work experience if you do not possess a degree or if the degree is not relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Include the greatest level of schooling that you have completed, together with the name and location of the institution that you attended, the field of study you pursued, the year you graduated, and any awards or GPA you received (if above 3.0). The criteria of the job, as well as the amount of space that needs to be filled, will determine any more details that are provided.
If you are just starting out in your career and just have a few FAA certificates, a small amount of flight time, and a limited employment history, for instance, you might want to add both your high school and your college education.
It would be appropriate for you to state here that you finished a flying training programme at an aviation academy that is not affiliated with a college or university.
Include on your resume any non-aviation-related professional development programmes that you have completed, like an information technology certification, if you have the room for it or if the education section of your resume is otherwise lacking in substance. In the event that you have more than one entry, list them in the order in which they were received.
If you have any experience in the military, I would put that section on your resume either immediately after your education or immediately before your employment experience, depending on which one comes first. It is sufficient to identify the branch of service and the periods of service on a single line; specific military occupations and units should be listed under the heading “work experience.”
5. Pilot Certificates and Ratings
The meat of your resume is found in this part, as well as the next two sections. Include, at a bare minimum, the pilot certificate (with category, class, and type ratings), as well as the medical certificate, that is required for the position for which you are seeking.
In this instance, where I’m applying to World Dominance Airlines, I could eliminate the third and fourth lines if I were short on space; they don’t necessarily care about my Commercial Glider rating or CFII certification. In other words, if I were short on space, I could eliminate the third and fourth lines.
However, if you have the room, it is important to list every certification and rating that you have obtained because they present the whole picture of a well-rounded pilot. If there is enough space, you should make an effort to use the language that is really printed on your certificates.
The inclusion of medical waivers or limitations is not permitted. Include minor credentials like the FCC Restricted Radio-telephone Operators Permit on your resume only if you need to fill up space or if the job you’re applying for specifically asks for them.
6. Flight Time
This should be formatted as a table and tailored to the requirements of the job you’re applying for; if you include too many fields, your resume’s most important section will look jumbled. There are a lot of applications out there that have really detailed flight time grids that will drive you insane (“Solo Night Cross-Country”); there is no reason to get that granular on your resume as well. If I were limited on space, I would say that the only things that really matter to World Domination Airlines are total time, turbine, and turbine PIC (though heavy time might well catch their eye).
7. Employment History
This is where many resumes begin to balloon out of control. You are not required to list every job that you have ever held; applications are for the purpose of gathering this information. In this particular instance, I listed “Airline Work Experience” because I had room for three different airlines and even an internship from a very long time ago.
Before I started calling it “Aviation Work Experience,” it was simply labeled “Work Experience,” and it went all the way back to a job I had in high school at a lumber yard. When I first started my career, I called it “Aviation Work Experience,” and it encompassed flight schools and Part 135 businesses. If you are limited on space, you can label this section “Recent Work Experience,” You should simply list your current job and the job you held most recently before this one.
Include the name of the employer, its location, the start and end dates of employment, and a few descriptive bullet points for each entry (for flying jobs: position, aircraft flown, type of operation). When bragging about all the amazing things you’ve accomplished, it’s typical practice in the creative and sales industries to make use of “power verbs.” It is not required to state this here, as the presumption is that each and every flight was successful. It is recommended that the entries be listed in reverse chronological order.
Space dependent, there are several categories you can add. Some popular ones are:
- Other skills: Tailored to the employer. I happen to know that World Domination Airlines, likes their pilots to be tech savvy, so I listed my sweet cyber skills here.
- Volunteer work: Surprisingly important at some employers (Dixie Air Service for one), less so for others. Know your targeted employer.
- Languages: Be careful about overstating your level of fluency, someone at the interview will no doubt speak it as their first language.
- Awards: Community recognition can make you stand out from the crowd.
- Activities/hobbies: I’d be very careful about this one, unless you’re involved in something challenging and interesting that makes you stand out but doesn’t make you sound like a wild card (“Master Glassblower” I’d put on an airline resume, “Regional champion BASE jumper” not so much).
- Availability: Personally, I’ve always enjoyed advertising my willingness to screw over my current employer. Your mileage may vary.
9. Editing and Distribution
It is impossible for me to emphasize this point enough: you must pay the utmost attention to even the tiniest of details, and you must have many people look over your resume before you present it to any potential employer. Send it not only to your friends who are into aviation, but also to your friends who are into reading.
All errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation must be corrected, and the formatting and style must be maintained consistently. Examine your application in a variety of formats and mediums, including not just on your word processor but also in PDF form, on standard printer paper, and on quality resume paper. The illustration above has a few typos that I didn’t notice until after I printed it. I left them there as Easter eggs.
Because different versions of word processors might sometimes render DOC or DOCX files differently, the ideal format to use when sending your resume online (whether by email or attached to an application) is PDF. This is because PDF is universally understood and supported. Most word processors, including Word, Pages, and the vast majority of others, can export in PDF format.
There are still quite a few scenarios that call for an old-fashioned paper resume, such as job fairs and conventions, interviews, hitting the street on a cold call, or for the possible employer who is really stuck in the past, sending snail mail.
Do yourself a favour and invest in some resume paper that is not only visually appealing but also quite pleasant to the touch. My personal preference is for linen-finished 32-pound cotton that is made entirely of cotton. White is always a good option; almond or ivory would be as adventurous as I would get with a CV for an aviation job. FedEx Office will offer you smaller quantities of paper, and if you don’t have a high-quality printer, they can print copies for you as well. Good paper costs between $20 and $30 for 100 sheets.