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What should a Pilot's CV look like?

Ben Hall
January 30, 2022
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For normal jobs, a CV consists of a number of a reasonably standard sections in order to give a potential employer an overview of who you are and if you might be a good fit for the role offered. For pilots, the role offered is pretty much the same across the board – being a pilot. I’m simplifying it massively, I know, but in essence the job is the same for everyone. You’re responsible for getting an aeroplane from one place to another safely and efficiently.

Unlike regular CVs, pilots need to be very specific and relevant on their CV to display what the recruiters are looking for.  Whether you once worked as a hairdresser in a previous life is largely irrelevant, but the fact you’ve got 2000 hours flying a Boeing 747 is hugely important. It’s therefore vital that you structure your pilot CV in such a way, where you can show off your relevant experience and qualifications, whilst also trying to separate yourself from the crowd.

The design of your CV is entirely up to you, however we recommend a clean, modern looking CV with a good amount of white space. No recruiter wants to be faced with a CV crammed full of text. If you can separate your document into clearly defined sections and use bullet points to clearly display specific aspects, this is what we’d suggest. It’s also best to keep your CV short – 1 page if you can or a maximum of 2 if you have a lot of different work experience you want to show.

Luckily for you – we’ve already done the legwork, and split your details into manageable sections below.

We're also working on some CV templates for you to use, so check back soon for those gems!

Personal Details

This is an easy one! You need to tell recruiters who you are and how to best contact you. As a minimum, you should include:

  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Phone Number – if you’re applying for a job outside your home country, make sure you include country dialing code.
  • Address
  • It might be worth mentioning your nationality and residence status if you’re applying for a job outside of your home country.

Additional bits of info you might want to add:

  • Photo (this seems to differ between geographical regions. A recent survey by Pilotbase showed 55% of pilots choose to add a photo)
  • Residency visas

Aviation Details

This is the area which recruiters will look at to make sure you meet the requirements for the role they have available. There should be no exaggeration of these elements, as they will be checked thoroughly as part of the recruitment process. Integrity is a hugely important trait for pilots, so it’s really important not to try to mislead recruiters at any stage of the recruitment process.

License(s) overview

  • Type of License(s) and issuing body (with country)
  • Medical Class (with any restrictions)
  • Current Aircraft Type Ratings/Class Ratings

Flight Time Breakdown

  • Total Time
  • Total PIC
  • Hours split by aircraft type (5 most relevant)
  • If the job specification contains any particular hours requirements (e.g. jet time), make sure you also include that figure in your CV.

Additional Flying Experience

  • List any endorsements, such as instructor ratings or special training that you’ve taken.
  • It's good to list useful types of experience. If you’ve undergone training courses which allow you to conduct certain types of flying, you should write them in this section. This could be low visibility training, RNP-AR approach training or maybe you’re qualified to fly into a tricky airport, like Kathmandu. These may be the sort of elements which set you apart from other applicants.

Work History

As mentioned previously, pilot jobs tend to be quite similar, so when describing previous positions, make sure you point out certain aspects of the operation which may make you stand out. For example, if you worked for a private jet operator, you should push aspects like your adaptability, workload management and skills dealing with high net worth individuals. Conversely, if you’ve come from a long haul airline, you could focus on experience like management of a large crew, contingency planning and on-time performance, just to name a few.

You can also use this section to detail any unusual operations you’ve encountered, whether it be dealing with metric ops in Russia or Isolated aerodromes in the South Atlantic.

We recommend laying your work experience out clearly with the most recent at the top. For each job, you should include the following bits of information as a minimum:

  • Company Name
  • Role (First Officer, Captain, TRI etc)
  • From/To Dates
  • Brief description of your role


Actual education level is less important for pilots than most other skilled professions, however it shows ability to learn, dedication and capacity for knowledge. If your education credentials aren’t amazing, then you can keep this section reasonably generic. For example “3 A-Levels – Physics, Music and Geography”. Most operators in the states require a degree, however in the rest of the world, this is ararely a requirement.

As a guide, you can use this as a structure of the minimum information required. You should include your highest and second highest level of education.

  • Institution
  • Subject(s)
  • Level of Study
  • Dates of Study

Additional Information

This is one of the areas you can differentiate yourself. The fact you have a professional pilots licence and have worked as a pilot previously shows that you are a competent pilot.

What is becoming more and more important is the non-technical skills such as teamwork, decision making and situational awareness. On top of this, recruiters want to know that if they have to sit next to you in the flight deck for 8 hours on a night flight, you’ll be good company.

Whatever you do though, don’t just write random sports that you play once a year or a hobby you took up for a week, three years ago. They should be meaningful aspects of your life, which you could talk passionately about if asked (and you probably will be asked about it in an interview).

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