How BizJetJobs Pilot Resumes Gain an Edge: Computer-Friendly Formatting

, pilots are gaining an edge on the competition with resumes that HR software loves. Did you know: if formatted incorrectly, your resume may not ever be seen by human eyes? Learn our tips and tricks to writing a pilot resume that gets your resume past automated scanning and sorting while others are lost in cyberspace.

Companies and flight departments everywhere are using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to pre-screen and sort resumes for things like flight time. So take care when writing your pilot resume. If it’s not formatted correctly, regardless of your qualifications, your pilot resume may be passed over and not seen. offers these quick formatting edits to our BizJetJobs pilots that will help you get past the “machines” … and get the job.

  • List your flight hours … and get to “first base” with the computers. pilots get the job that is a fit for them by listing their flight hours. Others who omit flight hours – for fear they are too few, or out of concern over looking old – can shoot themselves in the foot. If you are looking for a flying position, even a part time one, you need to list your flight hours. Even though you may have many years with your company, the machines need a flight hours number to read in order to determine your qualifications.
  • List your dates of employment. Listing dates of employment will assure you get in front of the employers who are looking for a high level of experience, a young, trainable pilot (low hour/entry level pilot jobs), or the pilot who is right in the middle. The software in use today by many corporations can read, understand and sort resumes based on dates of employment or consecutive years in a position. Once you get past the machines, dates of employment are still important. HR specialists, recruiters and interviewers know what to look for and how to read between the lines.
  • Name only on the top line, your address & phone numbers in the lines below it. Organize your resume so the computers can read it. Include name and contact information centered at the top of your resume as part of your resume body. Don’t create a separate “header” or “footer” in Word for your contact information, since some software will not recognize it.
  • Keep 1-Inch Borders. Maintaining nice 1-inch borders around your resume will assure your resume is legible – while the other guy’s gets chopped off. It’s a great idea to keep your resume to one page unless you are applying to a management position (see our Professional Pilot Resume Guidelines), but don’t try to cram in too much by changing the document’s borders or going too far to the edge. Some of these software programs may put chunks of your resume onto another page, or leave them off completely. When the HR person finally does look at your resume, you want your resume to look its best.
  • Graphically “boring” is better. Skip pictures, characters, graphics, headers, footers and logos. Save the resume with the nice looking photo of yourself for when you are applying for an international position or personally contacting someone at a flight department. Keep it “boring” with the headhunter or HR contact because they may be feeding it into a computer program. Content is what drives these software programs and sorting programs, so focus on giving them good content.
  • Always upload. When you’re on an employment website that gives you the option to either upload or cut and paste into a text box, it’s always better to upload your resume. The upload feature will often parse information for you and will save your resume in the optimal format so it looks good when the hiring manager sees it. The cut and paste option may look fine, but when you hit “Submit” it could get jumbled.
  • When emailing as an attachment or uploading to a website, use Word 2003 (.doc NOT .docx). Word documents can usually be put into these computer programs, so the odds are in your favor with a Word document. By saving your resume in an earlier version (with the .doc extension), you ensure that it can be opened and read by someone using any version of Word on either a Windows or Mac platform. Word versions after 2003 generate a .docx file. Convert it back to .doc by using the “Save As” command. Simply “Save As Word 97-2003”. Do not use a PDF.
  • Choose a popular font like Times New Roman, Palatino, Arial, Universal, Helvetica, or Bookman. The size should be 10-12 points.
  • Print any hard copies of your resume on a high-resolution laser printer paper. When asked for a hard copy, send an original printout of your resume, not a photo copy. When you show up for the interview, make sure the resume you bring with you is an original.

These computers are pretty sophisticated, but are still sub-human. Next week, we will be taking a look at how to use contextualized keywords in pilot resume writing to get the job you want.

We also offer Resume Writing, Cover Letter & Interview Prep Services. If you’d like to take advantage of a professional resume review, we can help! Please review our packages and pricing options here, and give us a call today. We are available from 9-5 ET M-F.