The past two years haven’t been the best for the aviation industry. Nearly fully wiped-out commercial travel, disrupted cargo airfreights, and the staff kept on the ground, or worse — furloughed. But it looks like the skies are getting once again busy!
In 2021, many airlines resumed regular passenger travel and they are dire to get more pilots on board. As WSJ reports, US airlines plan to hire over 9,000 pilots in 2022. That’s going to be the biggest hiring spree the industry has seen in the past three years! What’s more, commercial carriers are also aggressively competing for experienced talent. For instance, American Airlines is reported to be offering over $150,000 in sign-up and retention bonuses to new hires.
So if you are ready to get back into flying after a break (or to land a better work contract), now is the time to refresh your resume! In this quick guide, we provide several must-know tips for writing a pilot resume, followed by a sample airline pilot resume. Ready for take-off?
Apply the BLUF Principle
BLUF stands for “bottom line up front”. It’s a communication principle the military uses to ensure that the other party gets to see the most important information first. In other words — they place crucial details at the top of any document. Civilians too should apply this principle when writing a resume.
Ditch the standard resume objective. Instead, use your resume header area to immediately communicate your key qualifications such as the number of flight hours on each aircraft model, recent certifications, and training. You can present this as a short flight chart.
Talk About Your Impact, Not Just Duties
If you are applying for an airline pilot position, well, you probably know how to maneuver a plane. So instead of mentioning that you are “flying Boings and Airbuses without any accidents”, describe your work experience from an impact perspective. How do your core competencies drive positive outcomes for the organization and its customers?
For example, rather than saying that you “fly 8+ commercial short-haul routes per week”, try something like this:
“98% of the on-time rating for all domestic flights, completed between Jan 2021-October 2021”.
Keep Your Resume Skimmable
If you are an experienced pilot, it may be tempting to squeeze in as many work experience entities and accomplishments as a single page could fit. But Jennifer Carpenter, Global Head of Talent Acquisition for Delta Airlines urges the applicants to use more white space. She says:
“Many job seekers cram as much content into narrow-margined resumes as possible, thinking “more is better.” Your resume is your calling card, a first introduction, and should be easy to review and digest the key points”.
So once you are done with your first resume outline, go through it once again and trim some redundant bits. Cut down the number of duties you’ve listed. It’s okay to have 3-4 bullet point descriptions for each position.
Mention Your Soft Skills Too
Many pilots think that they only get assessed by their technical skills. That’s not the case as industry HRs such as Jennifer Carpenter and others confirm. Most airlines are looking to hire good team players. They look for candidates who’d fit well with other staff and would be pleasant to interact with. So mentioning some essential soft skills could help you show that you’d be a good add-on to the team and adequately represent the airline in front of its customers.
Pilot Resume Example (Word version)
The example below is for a mid-career pilot who is looking to obtain a new job with an international commercial carrier.
Pilot Resume Sample (text version)
Samantha Woolrich, FAA
10,000+ commercial fly hours / Type Ratings: 737, 747, A320, A330
099 123 45 67
Total time (as of Jan 2022): 10,205 hours
Pilot in Command (PiC): 8,134 hours
Second in Command (Sic): 2,071 hours
Turbin PiC: 6,432 hours
Multi-engine PiC: 3,773 hours
Night: 2,005 hours
Certifications & Ratings:
- FAA CPL
- FAA ATP
- FAA CMEL
- FAA 3rd Class Aviation Medical Certificate
- CPR / First AID
- US Passport: current & unrestricted
- Able to get Government Security Clearance
- Boeing 737 / 747
- Airbus A320, A330
- Embraer 190, 175, 170
- SIU Aviation Maintenance Training
- Advanced aerobatics
- Personal resilience
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Customer-experience oriented
Commercial Airline Pilot
Sep 2017 – present
- 4600 flight hours, PiC: 2600, SiC: 2000, Night: 800.
- Operated short-haul and medium-haul flights out of Miami hub.
- Destinations served: US, Cuba, Panama, Mexico, Colombia.
- 96% on-time rating in 2019 awarded
- Zero incident rate
- Voted “Co-pilot of the Year” by colleagues
Charter Airline Pilot
August 2015-Sep 2017
- Flew on-demand charter routes across the US
- Provided stellar levels of services to VIP clients
- Successfully completed an emergency landing due to engine misfunction post-servicing
- Ensreud top-most levels of operational safety
- Was one of the most requested pilots by regular customers
University of Illinois
BS in Aviation Science Management
- English (native)
- Spanish (bilingual)
- French (conversational)
Final Tip: Always Provide Extra Context
Apart from listing all your “technical characteristics” such as flying hours, type ratings, and industry certifications, make sure that you also provide extra context around these. For example, mention any unusual events (such as emergency landings or challenging airports) as an attestation of your qualifications. Likewise, mention some bits related to what it’s like working with you as a person by highlighting any feedback, praise, or awards you’ve received in the past positions.