The Pilot CV

Click on each element of the CV to find out best practices in the aviation industry.
Once you select a section, scroll down to read the advice

Personal Details Section

Amelia Earhart CV

The Basics

The first section of your pilot CV should always be the vital information about who you are, and how you can be contacted.

Name

Your name can either be in the title of your CV to make it stand out, or simply within the personal details section. If you use a shortened version of your name, put your full name in the personal details section. Sometimes, recruiters will want to verify licenses or other documents which require them knowing your full legal name.

Photo

We recently conducted a survey asking pilots whether they include a photo on a CV. The results came back as a pretty even split, with some geographical bias. Mainland Europe, Asia and Africa tended to prefer including a photo, whereas the UK, US, Canada and Oceania tended to be slightly more adverse to them. It's your choice. If you do add a photo, make sure it looks professional, is high quality and formatted well on the page.

Contact Details

Throughout the recruitment process, you will receive communications and information in various formats. To make the process as easy as possible for yourself and the recruiter, a postal address, phone number and email address should be provided.

Nationality

Aviation is very much a global industry, and makes it possible to work in a variety of locations around the world. Certain countries have citizenship or visa restrictions which may exclude you or make you more attractive for the role. Include your nationality as a minimum but if you have additional residency visas, here is a good place to put them.

Date of Birth

Your Date of Birth, and therefore your Age is a hotly contested element in the hiring process. Most organisations will have very strict rules about not discriminating on age during recruitment. Having said that, there are civil aviation regulations which contain age limitations for different types of flying, and this needs to be incorporated into the hiring process.

Flight Experience Section

The Basics

Make your flight time breakdown relevant to the job you're applying to! Check the job requirements closely, and make sure you demonstrate your experience covers all the areas of experience that the job is asking for.

Must Haves

As an absolute minimum, you should include your total flying time and total PIC time in your flight experience. Don't include any simulator time in these totals. If you want to show your sim time, put that as a separate entry.

Operation Type

The type of operation will determine what kind of information is best to share. If you're applying for an airline, then any experience you have on large passenger jets will be far more useful than your single engine piston time. Conversely, if you're applying for a flight instructor role, that SEP and MEP instructional time will be far more relevant than time you've spent sitting in a 747 across the Atlantic. If you have time on the aircraft type operated by the employer, that's always a good entry to add.

Licenses, Certification and Ratings Section

The Basics

As with flight experience, make your license information relevant to the job you're applying to! Check the job requirements closely, and make sure you demonstrate your licenses and ratings covers all the areas of experience that the job is asking for.

Must Haves

Include your highest license or certification which would be applicable to the role first. If the role is based in Germany, and requires an EASA ATPL, make sure the first item you enter is exactly that. Recruiters want to be able to tick the boxes as easily as possible - not having to rifle through lots of information to find what they need.

Ratings

Depending of your licensing authority, there's a whole raft of ratings and endorsements you can have on your license. Everything from Type Rating Examiner, through to aerobatic rating. You don't have to list every single rating you have, but once again, show relevant ones and those you think will improve your desirability as a pilot.

Work Experience Section

The Basics

You don't have to include every job you've ever had. Your barista experience 15 years ago probably doesn't add much to your chances of getting the job. The main information you need to include is the role, the company, the dates you worked there and a brief description of what you did and any notable achievements.

Chronological or Skills based Experience

The two main options you have are to have a chronological CV or a skills-based CV. The traditional method is the chronological CV, where you list each role you've have in time order (most recent at the top). This is great if the majority of the jobs you've had are relevant to the role you're applying to, but if you've got some periods of time where you've tried different things, you can opt for a skills-based CV. With this option, you only include aviation jobs. If you opt for this, expect questions about the gaps in your CV during your interview. On the whole, gaps aren't a problem as long as you were doing something useful with your time.

With the description of what you did in the role, we like bullet points rather than prose. They are easy to read and digest for the recruiter, and enables you to simply state a few of the most useful skills and experience you gained during the employment. Mention specific experiences and skills you encountered rather than the generic "I flew the A320 to European destinations". If, for example, you flew for a short haul airline, you could focus on how you ensured on-time performance, short turnarounds, operations to small airfields, flexibility etc. If you worked for a private jet operation, you could focus on customer service, thinking on your feet and encountering all areas of the operation.

Education and Training Section

The Basics

If you have significant education or specific aviation education, make sure you highlight this on your CV. Usually, education level is somewhat of a tick box requirement for airlines, however if you have a relevant or impressive academic background, make sure you highlight the areas which may help your career as a pilot.

How Much Education Info?

There's no need to include all of your education background. As a minimum, include your highest qualifications, whether this be High School, Bachelors, Masters or even a PhD. For your highest level, include specifics about areas which are remotely linked to aviation.

Include the following elements:
  • Level of Education
  • Subject(s) studied
  • Institution (and location)
  • Dates of study
  • A small amount of information about your studies

Skill and Achievements Section

The Basics

This section is entirely optional. If you have no specific extracurricular skills or achievements, focus more of your work experience and education. This section is a good way to give the recruiter a little bit more of an insight about who you are.

What to Include?

If you have any voluntary aviation experiences in a non-professional capacity, this is a good way to show your passion and drive for your career.

Additionally, think about the ICAO core pilot competencies. If you're a member of a club or a sports team, this helps to show how you're a well rounded person and that you actively practice and enhance your non-tech skills outside of the cockpit. Sports and club participation can show leadership, teamwork, decision making, communication etc. All the traits recruiters want to see in their pilots!

Lastly, if you have any qualifications which may be useful to the airline in the future, make sure you add them. Any official (non-flying) aviation qualifications, or operations related skills often go down well. Auditing, Project Management, Recruitment, Training experience is all great.