As a pilot, you see the world from a perspective most people can only dream of. Soaring above the clouds, transporting people and/or goods from one far-flung destination to another. Of course, that's the glamorous side of things. Pilots' jobs require the utmost attention to detail, crucial decision-making and mental and physical stamina to make sure passengers and objects arrive safely where they need to go.
So how do you show an airline that you're expertly-trained and committed to the demanding life of a pilot? A pilot resume needs to be full of specific information, the right training and a focused set of skills. Luckily, Resume.io will be your co-pilot on this adventure. With more than 250 job-specific resume samples plus templates and a builder tool, we know our stuff when it comes to helping you land the right position (we can't help you land the plane though.)
Here's what we will cover in this guide along with our pilot resume sample:
- The right format for a pilot resume with excerpts from our resume example
- Tips and tricks for formatting a professional resume sample
- How to write each of the sections on your resume
- Our top ways to beat the applicant tracking systems that could filter out your resume
What does a pilot do?
Pilots are professional transportation specialists who operate aircrafts. Pilots transport passengers or cargo from one place to another. Pilots may have a combination or short and long trips, depending upon the nature of the flight. They might operate flights for leisure, commercial, or business purposes. The main goal of a pilot is to safely transport passengers or cargo in a timely manner. In order to do so, pilots must check weather patterns and communicate with air traffic control professionals to ensure a safe flight. Remaining well-rested and focused is also essential to a pilot’s success. An ideal candidate holds a bachelor’s degree in aircraft operations, aviation, aeronautical engineering, or a related field. You will also need licensure, training, and flight hours.
This is a great moment to make a career move as a pilot. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for commercial pilots is expected to increase by 9 percent over the coming decade – much faster than average for other careers. Job prospects tend to favor candidates applying for non-scheduled services like air ambulance operators and regional companies. These jobs have less strict requirements and attract fewer applications than the major airlines where competition can be tough.
Ready for take-off? Don't forget to have a look at similar transportation resume samples listed here below:
How to write a pilot resume
A pilot resume will contain many of the same sections found on a traditional resume sample including:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
A pilot resume should clearly demonstrate a candidate’s ability to safely fly passengers and cargo from one place to another. A winning pilot resume should highlight the candidate’s outstanding flying skills and flight experience. You should also highlight your spatial awareness and superior coordination skills. Your resume should showcase your ability to make good decisions quickly and remain calm in tense situations. You should also indicate an ability to work well with other airline pilots and crew like flight attendants.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you include all of the required sections on your pilot resume is by using a resume template. These expert layouts allow you to mix and match sections and move them around as you see fit without all the hassle of reformatting and wondering if the information will still fit on one page. Check out Resume.io's collection of professional templates which we recommend for pilot candidates.
Choosing the best resume format for pilots
As a pilot, you've gained a lot of experience through traditional means: education plus experience in the field. That's why the best resume format for pilots is one that offers ample space to show your career trajectory. We recommend the reverse chronological format because it's the most common format and is what hiring managers will be expecting to see in a pilot resume sample.
To create a reverse chronological format, begin with your current (or most recent) position and work backwards until you've listed all relevant experience. Create 4-5 bullet points under each job title to explain your responsibilities and achievements in each role. Make sure to use common section headings throughout the rest of your resume format so that hiring managers can easily find the information they are looking for.
One thing to consider when creating a pilot resume sample is that the hiring manager likely won't be the first set of "eyes" than scan your resume. Applicant tracking systems, known as ATS, are algorithms built into most of today's online application software. These resume scanners look for keywords and then rank your resume against the other candidates. Only a small percentage of applicants are then passed on to the hiring manager for further review. While the idea of being filtered out might seem scary, here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of beating the ATS:
- Read the job description closely and look for "keywords" – important skills or responsibilities that are emphasized by the employer
- Place these keywords in the appropriate sections of your resume making sure to incorporate them naturally and using the exact language from the job description.
- Never engage in "keyword stuffing" which is the practice of trying to overcome the ATS by adding keywords in random places or when they aren't true for your experience. The hiring manager won't look upon your resume favorably.
Resume summary example
The resume summary is exactly what it sounds like: a short round-up of your experience, training and accomplishments. A hiring manager should be able to get a feel for why you're qualified for the pilot position and should be interested to continue reading to learn more. Remember to use as many powerful action verbs and job specific information as you can. Pilots should have excellent technical skills and impressive work and/or training experience. Highlighting your key attributes that effectively showcase your qualifications and accomplishments for this position is crucial.
The summary is one of the most important places to include keywords from the job description. Bonus tip: the name of the employer is often a keyword.
Although you'll want to tailor your resume to the ATS, it's important that it still reads natural to the hiring manager. Your summary is a great place to do this since it's one of the only chances you'll have to speak directly to a hiring manager on your resume.
Check out the summary from our pilot resume example:
Dedicated and experienced pilot with 10+ years experience perform flying at at a commercial level. Adept at monitoring the performance of safety systems and communicating with air traffic controllers. Able to effectively manage flight deck crews and multi-task to achieve flight success. Committed to the safety and satisfaction of passengers.
Employment history sample
Your employment history sample is one of the most important places to communicate your expertise on your pilot resume. Begin by listing all relevant positions, including the location and dates worked. In 4-5 bullet points, express your qualifications, achievements, skills and any complex challenges or emergencies you handled. Avoid repetition by highlighting various duties and your most notable accomplishments in each role. Remember to use powerful action verbs and mention job specific accomplishments that prove you are an excellent candidate.
Add extra punch to your employment history section by including concrete information about your responsibilities and achievements. Numbers, statistics and other hard facts show a hiring manager the value you add and make them interested in what you could bring to their company. Here are some ideas for sources of numbers on a pilot resume example:
- Number of years experience in the field
- Number of miles flown in an average week
- Number of passengers or amount of goods carried
- Awards and recognition for safety or efficiency
Check out the employment history section from our pilot resume example:
- Worked tirelessly with flight crew to manage the safe and systematic operation of air-crafts.
- Calmly worked through any in-flight emergencies to support the safety and satisfaction of passengers.
- Assigned crew members with tasks appropriately.
- Communicated with dispatch to determine best flight routes.
- Remained committed and focused on safe and efficient flight operations.
Pilot resume education example
As a pilot, your education is one of the most important sections on your resume. Education encompasses both formal degrees and also any certification, training and programs you completed to become a pilot. If you are still in-training, be sure to include the name of your certificate or diploma along with your expected graduation date. If you hold an advanced degree, you'll want to leave off your high school diploma.
Your licensing, any renewal courses, pilot associations, unions or other groups should also be mentioned in this section. Here's the education section from our pilot resume sample:
- 2001-2005 Syracuse University, Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering Syracuse, NY
- 2005-2007 Aviator College, Professional Pilot Program Columbus, OH
Skills CV example
It's important not to overlook the skills section, especially for a pilot CV example. Due to the bullet-point format of this section, you'll want to include abilities that can be summed up in just a few words on your CV. While this is a great place to mention any hard skills, software or techniques you might know (especially ones mentioned in the job description) you'll want to avoid sticking only to your technical abilities. As a pilot, you also need excellent communication skills, teamwork, the ability to work well under pressure and to adapt to changing situations. Make sure to mention these "soft skills" – the innate qualities that make you a better candidate than someone else with your exact training and experience level.
Here's the text from our pilot resume sample:
- Aircraft Technology
- Spatial Awareness
- Strong Communication Skills
- Leadership Skills
Resume layout and design
While your skills and experience are the crux of your work as a pilot, how you choose to present them also tells a hiring manager something about you. The layout and design of your resume can quickly paint you as a professional candidate who is ready for responsibility – or it can suggest that you don't quite understand the gravity of the role.
One of the most important aspects of your resume layout is making sure the hiring manager can find all the information they are looking for without having to read too much or otherwise encountering visual fatigue. Make sure to keep a healthy ratio of white space to text to give your resume a bit of "breathing room." While a touch of color can be OK depending on the airline's branding, make sure to keep the seriousness of your resume in tact with a neutral color palette and traditional font style.
- Stick with one or two font styles for consistency throughout your resume
- Create an attractive header that highlights your name and contact information
- Use common section header labels like "Education" or "Employment History"
- Create a resume longer than one page unless you are a career veteran
- Go overboard with bright colors or unnecessary design elements
- Submit a resume without proofreading for typos and grammar mistakes
Key takeaways for a pilot resume
- The job outlook for pilots looks very promising over the coming decade, especially if you plan to fly shorter or unscheduled routes.
- A chronological resume format best serves the needs of pilots by allowing them to express their employment history and education in a format hiring managers expect.
- Don't forget about those pesky keywords – especially in the summary and skills section. The ATS is your resume's first test, but you'll want to make sure it still sounds natural for the hiring manager reading it.
- Action verbs, concrete numbers and factual information serve to make your employment history section more powerful.
- Never underestimate the power of a professional layout. If you don't have time to fight with word processors or graphic design software, a professionally-designed template might be your best choice.