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Boost your pilot resume in 4 simple steps

When you build your pilot resume, it’s important to stand out – in a positive way. A CV is an objective list of your qualifications and experience. A resume offers recruiters an easy insight in what you have studies, where you worked and what your licenses and certificates are. It works as a checklist that is held next to minimum requirements for a job. If the objective requirements for the job are fulfilled, a recruiter will then look at your cover letter to find out what your motivation is. A few simple steps can make the life of a recruiter easier and will increase your chances of being shortlisted for a job. After all, recruiters are only human and the easier you make the information accessible, the better.

Tip #1: Less is more: Limit your CV to one page only

According to the popular job search engine “Indeed”, recruiters spend on average 6 to 7 seconds on reading a resume. That means that whatever is not displayed on the first page of your CV will probably never be read. Many people are proud of all the things they have achieved in life but only very little of those really apply for your job as an airline pilot. Moreover, recruiters don’t print your CV to read it. No. They will open it on a computer screen in PDF format and will probably only have the top half displayed. There is a good chance that whatever is written on the bottom of your CV is not even read.

Tip #2: Qualifications come first

Step inside the head of an airline recruiter: What does he really want to know? He will look at your qualifications: Does this candidate hold the correct ratings required for the job, are all required licenses valid? Next to that, he will check if you meet the minimum experience requirements: How many total flying hours does this pilot have? How many hours IFR, Pilot-In-Command, Multi-Engine? Only then he will be interested in which flight school you attended but keep in mind: Keep it simple! If you have completed a modular training with different modules at different schools, only mention the school where you graduated or where you spent most of your training at. Recruiters are often not pilots themselves, meaning that a detailed rundown of where you have done which module will mean nothing to them.

Tip #3: Less is more, stick to what is relevant

Many resumes become overloaded with information that is not relevant for recruiters. Marital status, number of children, or a long list of hobbies add little value to a candidacy. The more information, the more difficult it is for a recruiter to find what really matters: qualifications, hours, and work experience. Once again, look through the eyes of a recruiter and skip what is not relevant. Also, make life easier for them by providing only 1 e-mail address and 1 telephone number (with country code). Personal information such as marital status and number of children are only relevant during the HR-intake after being offered a contract, not when you present yourself to a new employer who hires you for your skills and experience.

Tip #4: Double-check your cv!

Don’t just finish and send your cv. Check your phone number and e-mail address for spelling errors. Also, when applying for different airlines, make sure that you have not mentioned the name of another airline anywhere in your CV or in the file name. Not a good start when your CV is named CV_JohnDoe_AirlineY when applying for Airline X. Export your CV to a PDF format before sending it.

BONUS: Picture or no picture?

The discussion goes on about whether or not to add a picture of yourself to your cv. This is not an absolute necessity (sometimes airlines will ask to upload a picture separately), but if you wish to do so, make sure that your picture is a professional one: a passport picture is the safest option. Steer clear of photos of yourself on vacation, together with other people (yes, we’ve seen this!) or basically any picture that belongs on a social media account, and not on a CV!

Pieter Brantegem
Pieter Brantegem

Safety Manager and Boeing 747 pilot

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