Many employers receive over 200 résumés for a single job opening. They typically scan a résumé for about 4 to 6 seconds before deciding if an applicant is worth a further look; here’s how to make those seconds count!
Aviation résumés should be short and sweet – one page with a lot of white space is easiest for an employer to skim quickly. Get you résumé noticed, by tailoring it – for this you’ll need to read the job advertisement and appreciate what the position entails. Integrate the terminology from job ads throughout your résumé; make it clear to employers that you meet all their qualifications.
No need for “Objective” or “Summary” sections, your résumé content will make it overwhelmingly clear as to which position you seek. From the top to bottom, the order of your résumé is vital. Here’s an overview of a pilot résumé and the order in which it should be written:
Name & Contact Info
List your name, cell phone, and email address. Remove your street address, unless it’ll make a positive difference to the employer. For instance, if you live a close commuting distance to the workplace, listing your address could be an advantage.
Ratings and Qualifications
List your ratings and qualifications to match the job requirements from the job advertisement. If the job requires an “FAA Class 1 Medical,” utilize that exact terminology. A security clearance shouldn’t be on a resume unless it’s required for the position.
List “Total Flight Time” (perhaps in bold to make it readily visible), and then list flight hours broken down. The key is to list what the job is asking for. Employers may be looking for a minimum of 50 hours-night unaided, or 50 hours-overwater/offshore. Adjust your Total Flight Time & Military PIC/AC time to reflect flight time logged in accordance with FAR Part 61.51.
Job titles should be a complete description of each job; they should stand out when someone skims down your résumé. “H-60 pilot” doesn’t offer the reader much; however, “S-70 Black Hawk
air ambulance pilot-in-command” articulates much more.
Very few companies are seeking an “officer” or an “aviator” – replace that terminology with their civilian equivalents (“aviation manager,” “pilot,” etc.) Concentrate on listing the skills employers are looking for in their job advertisements.
Job Descriptions should be brief, pertinent, and utilize terminology from job ads whenever possible. “Air bases,” “squadrons” or “battalions” can be omitted, but regions of flight are of considerable interest to most employers.
List relevant qualification courses and degrees. Your résumé is a living document, direct it towards the position you desire – this is quite the departure from simply recounting your past military positions. Include the qualifications and desired skills listed in job advertisements; always speak the employer’s language.
Lastly, have your résumé critiqued by people in the industry as much as you can. It’s worth it!
About the author: Stacy Sheard’s career began as a U.S. Army Huey and Black Hawk pilot until leaving the military to pursue a commercial flying career. She has civil experience in charter, tour, ENG, EMS, corporate aviation, and as a Sikorsky production test pilot. She is currently a corporate pilot with EJM flying the AW139. She is an HAI board member.