You’re on the hunt for a new role as a pilot, and you’ve just stumbled across an open pilot position at a prestigious airline.
It would be a dream to fly for this airline, jet-setting to all sorts of interesting locations.
But first you need to land the job. Most importantly, you need to impress the hiring manager enough to call you for an interview.
By writing a pilot resume that stands out against all the other candidates.
Continue reading this guide to learn how to write a job-winning pilot resume that will get you hired fast.
Let’s jump into it.
This pilot resume guide will teach you:
- 6+ samples of stand-out pilot resumes
- How to highlight your flight hours
- Ways to impress the hiring manager, even if you haven’t had a pilot job yet
- 19 technical and soft skills to focus on in your pilot resume
Looking for related resumes?
How to write a pilot resume that gets you hired
Being a pilot is prestigious and exciting. You’re the go-to man or woman who flies passengers to their destination, ensures their safety, and gives them the best on-flight experience they could have.
Your resume needs to show that you are trustworthy and knowledgeable enough to complete these duties.
The hiring manager wants to be confident that you will be an upstanding pilot that will leave a lasting great impression for the airline.
By crafting each section of your resume to make the highest impact, you will inspire that confidence in the hiring manager and land an interview.
A job-winning pilot resume describes your:
- Flight experience and flying hours
- Mix of technical and soft skills
- Completed certifications and memberships
Show off your flight experience and flying hours in your resume summary and work experience section.
Prove you have the right mix of technical and soft skills by highlighting them in your skills section.
List your certifications and memberships in their own dedicated sections.
We’ll walk through step-by-step how to highlight these three essential points throughout this guide.
The most important sections of a pilot resume:
- Resume header that includes all of your contact information
- Resume summary that highlights your experience level
- Descriptive work experience
- Education, certifications and memberships
What is the best format for your pilot resume?
A pilot resume must cover all the important points related to your career, but you have limited space to use! You must keep your resume clear and concise to follow best practices.
How can you battle between the need for lots of relevant information vs. keeping your resume concise?
By using the right format for your pilot resume.
The reverse chronological resume format is the ideal option since it emphasizes your flight experience, hours and aviation skills.
Your total aviation experience is the most important decision factor for hiring managers.
Formatting your resume so it’s easy to read will also go a long way in keeping it organized.
Here are our top tips for formatting your pilot resume:
- Separate your resume into sections with subheadings
- Use a clear font in 11pt size or higher
- Export your resume as a PDF or Word
Let’s learn how to write a resume header includes the right contact information.
How to write a header that stands out
Your resume header is where hiring managers will look if they want to take that next step with you.
Miss out on any critical information, and you may miss out on landing an interview.
Let’s say you’re applying for a pilot role at a commercial airline.
This is what the average resume header looks like:
Seems alright, doesn’t it?
It’s fine, but it’s too basic. We want your resume to make an excellent first impression.
Here’s the new and improved version.
What’s so good about this header?
It has everything the hiring manager needs to see:
- It shows you specialize as a commercial pilot
- Has your contact information
- Includes your LinkedIn URL for added credibility
Great! Now that you have your header written, it’s time to move on to your professional resume summary.
How to write a professional pilot resume summary
Your resume summary is the place to “sell” yourself as the right pilot for the role.
It’s where you should talk about your aviation experience, flight hours, technical abilities and your eagerness to join the airline.
Use real numbers to support your points. How many years of experience do you have? How many nighttime hours have you completed? Done any flights as Pilot in Command?
Highlight your technical abilities and your knowledge in the aviation industry. Do you have any certifications to show for them?
Describe your eagerness to join the specific airline you’re applying for. Hiring managers always appreciate a highly personalized resume.
Go a step further and read through the job description, so you can mirror the same keywords in your own pilot resume.
What do they value in a pilot? For example, are they looking for someone with a passion for safety? Mention this quality directly in your summary!
Most pilots that are job-hunting send the same resume to every airline they apply to. Taking the effort to personalize your resume for the job you want will help you stand out.
Here are two examples of pilot resume summaries.
2 Pilot Resume Examples - Summary
Here’s what an average pilot resume summary looks like:
Why is this summary lacking?
- It’s too generic, making it obvious that you’re applying to many roles
- You don’t emphasize your experience level, which is essential in a pilot resume
This summary certainly won’t lead to an interview.
Let’s take a look at a better summary.
This summary really shines!
- It describes in detail your flight experience, down to the # of hours in each category
- Highlights your certification status
- It shows an eagerness for the airline you’re specifically applying to
This summary will more likely have the hiring manager calling you for an interview.
Now let’s move on to the most important part of your pilot resume - the work experience section.
How should you highlight your flying experience?
The work experience section is the most important part of your pilot resume.
Hiring managers value aviation experience the most when considering who to hire. Your competence as a pilot is significantly determined by your flight hours, the aircrafts you have experience flying, and the types of flights you have completed (eg: across countries or nighttime flights).
By highlighting your flying familiarity in your work experience section, you’ll inspire enough confidence in the hiring manager to call you back for an interview.
Your work experience section should focus on two factors:
- The details of your piloting experience
- Your ability to comply with company procedures and federal aviation regulations
To prove you have enough piloting experience, directly mention how many flight hours you have, what kind of hours you have (First in Command, Second in Command, nighttime, X country, etc.), and what aircrafts you flown. Are you experienced flying Boeing B737 MAX aircrafts? This is a good time to mention it. Your flight hours should be listed in its own separate section under work experience.
To describe your ability to comply with company procedures, mention specifically what procedures you’re familiar with and emphasize your commitment to safety.
Avoid listing flight time that is not relevant. For example, if you want to apply for the airline, do not put in 80 hours in the tailwheel because that is not relevant for the position.
Let’s compare two pilot work experience sections to see our tips in action.
2 pilot resume experience examples
- Was Second in Command for flights across the U.S.
- Ensured safety of passengers
- Provided excellent customer service with a positive attitude
This example just doesn’t cut it. It isn’t descriptive of your piloting experience at all, and it won’t inspire that confidence in the hiring manager that you’re the ideal candidate.
Let’s look at another example.
- Provided the Captain with detailed planning for each flight, including weather information and all other operational factors.
- Completed 1500+ flight hours, including 500 nighttime hours and 700 x-country hours.
- Prioritized safety of the aircraft, including crew and passengers, in compliance with the Captain's requests, company policies, and Federal Aviation Regulations.
This example makes a stronger impact!
It describes both your aviation experience, and your ability to comply with procedures and standards, providing a safe flight for everyone on board.
What Should You Write If You Don’t Yet Have Flying Experience?
Have you just finished your piloting education and have never had a pilot job before?
You can still land a role as a pilot, even without direct experience as an employed pilot.
You need to prove that you have three things: enough flight hours to qualify for the role, the right education and certifications, and an eagerness for the role.
If you’re applying for your first flight job, [talk about] accomplishments during your flight training. For example, if you earned a scholarship.
Does your pilot resume need an education and certifications section?
Your pilot flight school experience will be the main star of this section, but it’s important to include a well-rounded view of your entire educational background too. This includes your bachelor’s degree and/or college and high school experience.
After you complete flight school, in most countries you’ll need to get a license for the type of flying you want to be doing. For example, in Canada you choose between getting a:
- Private Pilot License
- Commercial Pilot License
- Airline Transport Pilot License
Your education section is the best place to mention what license type you have.
Here’s a complete checklist of what you should include in this section:
- The name of your flight school
- The name of the program you participated in
- Where your flight school was located
- The date of completion
- University/college name
- The degree/diploma you received
- Years attended
- GPA (optional)
18 skills to add to your pilot resume
Pilots need strong math and science skills to exceed as a pilot. They also need technical aviation skills, analytical skills and spatial awareness.
As well as the required technical skills, companies want to hire pilots that have soft skills that will help them succeed.
Show that you can represent the company in a positive light by being courteous, friendly and professional.
Highlight the soft skills that show you value safety and providing an excellent customer experience. Prove you’re compliant and can collaborate with fellow pilots and crew members in the air.
The skills section gives you a great opportunity to personalize your resume for the job you’re applying for. Read the job description closely to see what skills are wanted for the role, and if you have them, keep the focus on these skills in this section.
Here is a list of 18 skills to inspire you.
18 Skills to include on a pilot resume
- Operating aircraft (
- Using cockpit equipment
- Spatial awareness
- Nighttime flying
- X-country flying
- Aircraft technology
- Communication (written + verbal)
- Adhering to procedures and regulations
- Ensuring health and safety
- Customer service
- Decision making
- Problem solving
When deciding what skills to focus on in your resume, read the job description to see which ones they want to see in the ideal candidate. This will help you focus your skills section for the highest relevance.
Key points to remember for a pilot resume
- Highlight your specific flight hours, but only relevant ones to the job. List them under their own subheading within your work experience section.
- Keep your resume personalized for the airline or company you’re applying for by using the same keywords they listed in the job description.
- Bring attention to your soft skills, as well as your technical skills, to show you’re a well-rounded candidate who will represent the company well.
- Ensure your resume is clear, organized and easy-to-read by using the right format.