A résumé is a detailed summary of your work experience and qualifications, and it is the most important tool for your job search. Your résumé serves several purposes. The résumé represents you, the applicant. It is your image on paper or online. Thus, your résumé should reflect you as a professional, well-organized individual. Remember, when you submit résumés with personal data, your résumé may be discarded.
Some companies grant interviews after reviewing an applicant’s résumé alone.
Your professional résumé should contain these critical components: heading, objective, certificates and ratings, flight times, work history, formal education, professional training, and availability. Memberships/miscellaneous data, specialized interests, volunteer/community service, and awards are optional. For aviation it must all fit on one page, no exceptions. (See an example résumé on KitDarby.com.)
It is important to list a current address and a permanent address (if your current address is temporary). The permanent address can be the address of a family member or a friend. Listing an alternate email, and phone number, provides a prospective employer with a means to contact you or leave a message if you are flying when they try to reach you.
Your job objective should state the specific position you desire. Show that you know what you want, but keep it short and clear. A one-line statement is sufficient. Some modern résumé formats replace the objective with a summary statement, but for pilots there simply is not room to restate information found elsewhere on your résumé. Additionally, if you are participating in a job fair where several career groups are being recruited, your objective keeps you in the right pile.
Companies seek pilots with specific ratings and certificates; therefore, it is important to list all your current ratings and certificates—pilot, instructor, pilot instructor (ground, basic, advanced). List your medical certificate here, too. Also indicate under this heading any written exams you have passed (ATP-CTP, ATP, other), the date(s) you took the exam(s), and your score(s). List your score(s) only if you scored in the ninetieth percentile or higher. If you have the certificate or rating, it is not necessary to list the written exam. Include all certificates and ratings that are required by the company. Do not forget all minimum requirements like a current FAA medical certificate, radio telephone operators permit, and passport.
Breaking out your flight time is crucial on the pilot résumé. A typical flight time breakout for your résumé should include any stated minimum requirements: total time, pilot-in-command, instructor pilot, second-in-command, turbojet, turboprop, multiengine, single-engine, and instrument (actual and simulated). Multiengine and single-engine should equal total time. Accuracy and consistency are extremely important when completing this section of your résumé. Often, prospective employers verify the numbers you list on your résumé against your logbooks. Use whole numbers and avoid large round numbers (such as 500, 3,000, and similar numbers). Be accurate—do not estimate. Use a calculator or logbook program to verify your calculations. Do not include in your flight time total any time accrued in a simulator. Be sure to include the following in the breakout of your flight time: cross country, night, and instructor (IP). Turbine time is time logged in an aircraft with a turbine engine—jet or turboprop.
Your work experience is an important section of your résumé and one an employer will review very carefully. This segment will create the most points and usually drives the interview. It is imperative that this section show that you meet the prospective employer’s minimum requirements. It should also reflect your special talents and qualifications.
I strongly recommend that you follow the typical when (date), where (name of employer/address), what (job description) style. It saves space and follows the traditional employment application format. List your employment in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent employer.
Your performance and participation in school tells a prospective employer a lot about you. Always list on your résumé the highest degree you obtained and your four-year degree. Again, use the when (from/to) if you did not complete college or if you are still enrolled, where (location), and what (degree achieved) style. If you have completed a degree program, all you need to show is your graduation date. Indicate the name of the school, your major and minor area of study, and your academic standing or GPA if it was above average (honors, dean’s list, and similar designations). List any special scholastic achievements, extracurricular activities that correlate to your aviation career goal, demonstrated leadership, and other highlights. List any part-time employment that was concurrent with your education; indicate if you paid for any part of your tuition and/or living expenses through employment or scholarships. Include sports, clubs, flying, volunteering—anything that took your time in addition to school. GPAs below 2.5/4.0 can be an issue at some airlines/employers, and these extra activities can help explain a lower GPA.
This section provides an opportunity for you to highlight any professional or technical training or experience you have that would be of benefit to the position you want. This is a good place for civilian pilots to detail the type of training they received, where they received their training, and whether the school was Part 61 or Part 141, and other pertinent information. Other items to include in this section, other than flight training, include CRM, EFIS, check airman qualification, college, military aviation training, and other training. List these events in reverse chronological order in a when, what, where format.
This replacement section shows your professional and social affiliations that are directly related to flying or support your community. I recommend the when, what, where format for this section, too.
Being flexible and available if offered a job is a requirement of a successful job search. If you are currently employed, indicate that you would give your current employer two weeks’ notification. If you are currently in school or the military, state your expected graduation or separation date. If you are unemployed, indicate your immediate availability.