Entering Business Aviation: Crafting a Resume
Writing a résumé can be one of the most daunting parts of any job search. Quite frankly, it is one of the most important elements in helping you find work. A good résumé can ease doors open while a poorly written one will certainly shut these very same doors. In aviation, certain things must be included in a résumé to help you get noticed: getting noticed is, of course, the first step in securing an interview which may lead to employment.
There is no "one-size-fits-all" résumé that will guarantee success. In my many years of reviewing pilot and, later, flight attendant résumés I have seen submitted anything from multipage treatises to two paragraph summations. As a private flight attendant, your résumé should fall somewhere in between: a one-page copy is a preferred length in this industry.
The top part of your résumé must include the following:
1. Your name
2. Your complete address: house or apartment number, street, city, state, zip, and country if applying internationally.
3. Your home phone number.
4. Your cell phone or secondary number such as a fax machine.
5. Your email address.
This information should be centered for easy reading and your copy should be on white or off white paper. No fancy fonts, no loud colors, nothing to make it stand out. Why? More than likely it will be trashed if it is not visually appealing. Trust me: in business aviation, which is generally a very conservative field, the flamboyant self-promoter is often ignored.
What follows next is open to debate. Some human resources people insist that you need an Objective on your résumé while others do not. If you do include an Objective, please write a strong and positive statement of your career and job objective, concentrating on your strengths and how you can add value to a potential employer. When creating your objective, use clear and concise language. One of the advantages of including an Objective is that it tends to set the tone for the entire page. Leaving one out is sometimes preferable if you are applying for different positions. Always state in the Objective what you can contribute to the company and not what you want to get out of the company.
After you write your Objective, you should follow up with your work history. Please, if you have been working for many years, you might want to consider limiting your information to the last ten years. A résumé is not your job history, rather it is a summation of who you are and what you bring to the table. Save the nitty-gritty details for the application form. This is particularly important if you are over 40: do not kid yourself by thinking that age discrimination does not occur. You want to get the interview and then work on getting the job during the interview. In some situations, you will not even get the interview if someone finds out that you are 49. Is this legal? Usually, no. Is it provable? You probably will never find out.
After including your work history, you will need to list your training. If you completed FACTS, Alteon, FlightSafety, etc. then spell it out. Include training locations, dates, and a brief synopsis of the training. For example, "emergency egress training, emergency medical procedures, food safety, and culinary arts, wine service, etc." Do not write several paragraphs but do include some information about what was accomplished during your training. Taking other types of training related to the field can and should be mentioned as well including food service, wine courses, language training, etc. The training section could easily be titled "Education" and include college degrees and other post-high school training as well.
References: Please do not include references on your résumé! If you feel the need to mention references, please conclude your résumé with something like this: References furnished upon request. That's it. Nothing fancy. If you do mention that references will be included at a later time please make sure that you have at least three, be prepared to present them upon request, and make sure your references know that you are using them as references.
Hobbies: Hmmm... I am not sure why some people feel the need to include details on how they spend their free time. Perhaps they are trying to tell the person reading the résumé that they are a well-rounded person. In my opinion, save those details for your interview.
Other personal information: In most states giving out one's marital status, age, height and weight are illegal. If you are applying for work overseas the company or agency may want this information in addition to a full-length picture of yourself and a headshot. I have heard objections from some about this particular practice. Remember: the U.S. Bill of Rights stops at our borders. If you want to work internationally, you must respect local laws and customs. Your opinion will probably not shape what they want; if you do not like it then do not apply.
College and universities are key institutions where many get their first try at crafting a résumé. I like what the University at Buffalo School of Management has to say about writing a résumé:
- Do try to fit your résumé on one page
- Do leave an appropriate amount of margin space (1/2 – 1 inch is good, no less than ¼ inch)
- Do use positive action verbs to highlight your skills
- Do use the present tense for current activities and the past tense for previous experiences
- Do place important items in the most prominent areas of your résumé
- Do proofread your résumé for spelling, punctuation, grammatical, and typographical errors
- Do make sure your résumé is neatly typed and letter-perfect
- Do be honest and accurate in the facts you give on your résumé
- Do be Positive!
- Do not write RÉSUMÉ on top of the page
- Do not use "I," "Me," or any abbreviations!
- Do not date the résumé, attach advertisements, or list salary requirements
- Do not leave out volunteer or other experiences where you have demonstrated relevant skills
- Do not give any false information
- Do not include reasons for changing jobs
Have others proofread your copy and do not be offended by their suggestions or comments. Consider all comments and suggestions for change; if you are rigid about your résumé you may be too rigid for this industry. Remember, there is no "one-size-fits-all" résumé; your copy, however, should accurately reflect what you are all about and what you can do for the company.