How to write a standout CV

How to write a standout CV

Writing a successful CV can seem like a daunting task, but there are some simple tips to follow which can make it much easier. Throughout this blog, we’ve covered everything from what recruiters are secretly looking for to how you should present your CV. Ultimately, your goal is to tailor your CV to each job and company you apply for, showcasing all your relevant skills and experience. When you’ve created your standout CV, you’re then ready to apply for your dream job!

 

First things first, what are recruiters looking for?

Many recruitment decisions are based on cold hard facts so a recruiter will be going through your CV looking for evidence that you can perform. These facts may include:

Your position in the hierarchy – It’s important for recruiters to understand where you would best fit in their team. Include information such as who you report in to, if you work independently or if you manage anyone.  

Numbers – Recruiters will look for ways of quantifying your value to your previous company in numbers. This could include revenue generated, percentage of targets hit, flight time clocked, or time taken to achieve a project. Providing strong evidence in figures gives a prospective employer an idea of what return on investment they will receive by employing you.  

What your current employer does – If you’re currently working for a lesser known company, make sure you add an explanation of what the company does so they can put your role into context. If you’re company is more well known, ensure that you describe how your department and role contributes to the wider business.

Technology expertise – Most jobs bring you into contact with some form of technology so recruiters will be keen to learn your level of ability.

The objective of your previous role – The most important thing to include is ‘what were you hired to do?’ A recruiter can then put your hard work and results into context.

Examples of past work – Whatever tangible work you have produced, ensure you state it clearly on your CV, indicating the volume and quality of work produced, and how this benefited the business.

How you interact with other people – The aviation industry will bring you into direct contact with many people, including international citizens where English may not be their first language. Recruiters will be looking for evidence that you are able to communicate clearly and effectively with them.

 

Where do I start?

Now you know what employers are looking for, there’s just one final thing you need to do before starting to write your CV – research.  If you spend some time doing research into the company you’re applying to, you may gain some insights that will help you write your standout CV. You should be able to find out online what sort of company culture they have and what kind of people they employ.

You need to demonstrate that you understand what the company does, what their position within the industry is and how you can align your experience, interests and values with the goals of the company. Having a basic understanding of the company and their aspirations will also help you when you get to the interview stage.

Remember to pay close attention to the job description. This will be full of clues about what the recruiters are looking for, especially in terms of skills and experience.

 

Writing your CV

Firstly, your CV should include some basic but vital information about you so that recruiters know who you are and how they can get in touch with you. Make sure you include:

 

 

Your full name

A professional email address

Your address

Your phone number

Your nationality

Links to any relevant blog / social presence

Personal statement

If you choose to include a personal statement, this should sit under your basic information. It should be a short paragraph that describes who you are and what you’re about, including your career goals and what you could bring to their company. They are similar in nature to a cover letter, just shorter – usually one paragraph.

It’s not mandatory to include this section but with average recruiters spending an average of just 8.8 seconds looking at your CV, this is your chance to give them a reason to read on. They are particularly useful in a competitive industry as they are the perfect way to grab the recruiters attention.

Avoid being vague or broad as employers might think that you’ve sent this CV to everyone and that you’re just applying for anything – really tailor your personal statement to the company you’re applying for. Aim for something similar to this.

After graduating, I spent one year travelling the world which has given me a great understanding and passion for different cultures, languages and practices. As a result, I am able to communicate clearly and effectively with many international citizens, which I believe would be extremely important in this position as a [insert job title]

 

Flight hours

It’s really important to include hours relevant for the position and split by type. For example:

X hours as Pilot in Command

X hours as Second in Command

X hours on a Boeing 777  

 

Qualifications and education

In this section, list all your certificates and ratings starting with your highest held or most recent certificate. You need to indicate that you meet the requirements of the job vacancy so include the licence types, any medical certificates and the country the licences were issued in.  

When listing your education, only list the most recent college or university that you attended. Include the title of the qualification, the grade awarded and the date achieved. If you are still in education, you are entitled to list it but ensure that you make it clear that it hasn’t been completed yet.  

Try and stick to bullet points in this section. If you do have months where you were out of work or education, keep your explanation brief. If an employer requires more information, they will ask you to elaborate during an interview.

 

 

Experience

This is usually the most prominent section on a CV and it’s worth spending some time making sure you have identified the most relevant experience for the job. This section is normally laid out in reverse chronological order with most recent experience at the top.

Keep your experience short and accurate, listing the company name, duration of employment in years, your title and the type of aircraft that you flew on.

You may have one particular job or work experience that you really want to highlight. You could create a new section titled ‘Engineering Experience’, or ‘Flight Experience’ and put this first. Your remaining experiences can then be put under ‘Further Experience’.

 

If this is your first job in aviation, lead with your qualifications and then add detail on the transferable skills you have gained from your experience. If you’ve been in the game a while, start with you experience as it’s more recent and relevant to the job.

Skills

Amongst others, employers will be looking out for skills such as positivity, loyalty, creativity, adaptability, tenacity and being a team player. These are highly desirable for employers and should be mentioned in your CV personal statement or cover letter.

Avoid using buzzwords or including skills for the sake of it. If you make a statement, back it up with an example of how you demonstrated that trait.

If you’re new to the aviation industry, demonstrate how you have transferable skills from other industries you’ve worked in. For example, you’ve only ever worked in a restaurant and you’re applying for a cabin crew position. Demonstrate how your time at the restaurant taught you:

Valuable insights into the hospitality industry.

How to communicate with customers effectively.

Excellent customer service skills, including being patient and resilient.

How to pay attention to detail in a fast paced environment.

How to deal with handling money.   

 

How to multitask.

Past work experience that might not appear to be directly relevant to the job at hand might show another dimension, depth, ability, or skill that actually is relevant or applicable.”

Alyssa Gelbard, Career Expert

Interests & Hobbies

A section on your CV which includes a diverse range of interests can help you seem interesting and personable. Highlight interests that have helped you develop the skills that the employer is looking for. Don’t mention ‘passive interests’ such as watching TV or playing games, especially if the job requires you working alongside other people.

Interests and hobbies are subjective. Some employers believe that they are an integral part of the application, whereas some will only find them beneficial if they are looking for a particular fit in their company culture.

 

References

References act as a third party endorsement and are used by hiring managers to reassure them that they are about to offer a position to the right candidate.

Only include references on your CV if you’ve been asked to in the job description. Avoid the classic line ‘References available on request’. This is unnecessary and takes up valuable room on your CV. An employer will contact you for details of references if they are considering offering you a position.

 

When contacting your reference, they could ask for:

A character reference

Details about responsibility

Length of employment

Punctuality and attendance

Overall performance

Reason for leaving

 

Who should I choose?

Choose your referees carefully, usually it would be your most recent employer. If you don’t have a recent employer, teachers, business acquaintances, customers and organisational leaders can all verify that you are who you say you are.

Avoid choosing family or friends where possible. It’s also considered good etiquette to ask for people’s permission to act as your referee. By notifying them beforehand, it also gives them chance to prepare for any questions, should they be contacted.  

 

What are they saying about you?

Under the Data Protection Act, you have the right to view any references given by your previous employers. If you disagree with any comments, you may wish to address the matter with you previous employer or remove them as your reference in future applications.  

Contrary to popular belief, previous employers can give a bad reference, providing that it is accurate and fair – and that they have evidence to back up any bold statements, for example, that you were sacked.

 

 

How to format your CV

Making your CV look professional and easy to read is essential. Recruiters are ‘time poor’ so you should aim for one or two pages of A4, but no more. The upper-middle area of the first page is known as the ‘CV hotspot’. This is where the eye naturally falls so think about including your most important experience or ‘key attributes’ here.

Top tips

  • Avoid huge chunks of text – bullet points will make the information easier to read and digest
  • Sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica or Arial make for an easy read  
  • Make headings bold and clear, but not oversized
  • Avoid using confusing subheadings
  • Stick to conventional colours – printing your CV in neon will make you stand out but for all the wrong reasons!

If you are sending your CV via email, send it as a PDF unless otherwise specified. If you’re sending it via post, you could look at getting your CV professionally printed – or printing it yourself on good quality paper.

 

Like what you’ve read?

If you like what you’ve read in this blog, you can download the whole thing in a handy PDF format. Simply click the red button to get yours now.

 

Who are we?

We’re Aviation Job Search, the biggest aviation job site in the world! For decades, we’ve been helping unite candidates with employers, so it’s safe to say that we know a thing or two about helping you in your search.

We believe that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to ‘work’ another day again. That’s why we continuously strive to provide our jobseekers with all the best jobs from right around the world.

If you’re looking for your next challenge, why not browse all the latest jobs near you right now? Start your journey today at www.aviationjobsearch.com

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CV Clinic: Ten ways to get noticed by aviation employers

CV Clinic: Ten ways to get noticed by aviation employers

It goes without saying that a brilliant CV will be your ticket to an interview and a great aviation job. Whether you are applying for engineer jobs, aircraft maintenance jobs, IT, or an operational role, all the advice from job-hunting experts says spend plenty of time getting your resume right. Don’t be sloppy, try as hard as you can to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

As a starting point, remember that hundreds of other people may be applying for the same aviation position as you, and the recruiters can realistically only spend a short time going through each CV – sometimes decisions are made in as little as 20 seconds. So work hard to get all your best points across while being as clear and concise as possible, and remember to prioritise so that the most important information isn’t left to the end.

It’s useful to think of your CV as your own personal marketing tool. This is your chance to really sell yourself and communicate your skills and experience in the best possible light. We think these tips for the ideal aviation CV will help:

 

1. Clear and simple layout

Your CV must be easy to read quickly, so make it uncluttered and eye-catching. With your layout, separate out the different sections and use clear section headings. Avoid long paragraphs and rambling sentences. It often helps to use bullet pointing to break up text into easily readable bite-sized chunks – you can provide a lot of information about your past engineering, IT or airline management experience this way.

 

2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for

It is essential that your CV is targeted to the specific job role you are applying for. It will be useful to research each company in question and use the keywords that match what they are looking for – dynamic, innovative, etc.

Keep in mind the brand of the company you’re targeting. This sums up the kind of organization they are and the types of people they want to employ. Make sure you understand what employers are looking out for before you fill out your CV or application form. This may sound like a lot of work but it is well worth doing. Unfortunately having a one-size-fits-all, generic CV for everything won’t get you noticed.

 

3. State your objective

Stating your objective is a good way to outline what you’re hoping for with the application. It also shows you understand what the company is looking for. For example:

Objective: Seeking a challenging Aircraft Structures CAD Design Engineer opportunity where I can project manage, implement ideas, and adhere to company processes in a rewarding, results-oriented environment.

 

4. Provide a brief ‘Professional Profile’

This is a chance to pitch yourself in a paragraph or two. A professional profile will emphasise your key attributes, and so should be written in a way that catches the attention of the reader. Keep it brief as you can expand on examples of your attributes later in the CV. Try using strong words such as ‘motivated’, ‘innovative’, ‘problem-solver’, ‘dynamic’, ‘enthusiastic’.

 

5. Make a feature of your achievements at work

When you list your previous work experience, clearly outline what your responsibilities were with an emphasis on achievements. It’s really worth highlighting relevant projects you have managed, and specifying targets achieved. Also include any promotions however minor. Demonstrate any relevant experience you have of the company’s particular sector/market – structural design, aircraft interiors, electrical, private charter aircraft etc.

 

6. Highlight your unique skills

Emphasising certain skills will turbo-charge your CV in the aviation job hunt. Beyond your specific engineering, CAD design or aerodynamics qualifications you will have other skills that could boost your attractiveness in the eyes of the employer. These are often overlooked but can be a powerful way to set you apart from the competition. Would it be useful to mention language skills, communication skills, people management, computer and numeracy skills?

 

7. Work your ‘interests’

Interests can often look like an uninspiring list: skiing, reading, socializing with friends etc. But you can make this section of your CV work harder for you. Keep it short, use bullet points, avoid clichés, don’t look too solitary. What stands out are unusual hobbies, and those that reflect you as a great person. So rather than just put ‘photography, cycling and travel’ try:

Cycling: Completed a 20k sponsored cycle ride this spring.
Travel: Travelled Europe by train this summer in a group, exploring historic sites in Germany and Austria and practicing my German.
Photography: Set up a photography club with six friends and host an annual photo exhibition.

Remember interests can showcase your employability skills of organizing, planning, negotiating, managing a team. So for instance, anything that shows evidence of innovation, leadership and teamwork is good in the eyes of the airline or aircraft manufacturer looking for talented people to recruit.

 

8. Delete irrelevant information

It’s important for your CV to be highly informative but it must also be concise so that aviation recruiters can digest it efficiently. In general, using two A4 pages is about right for length. Only include information which will actually help to get you an interview for this specific role. Recruiters don’t want to waste time reading details irrelevant to your ability to fulfill the aviation job role.

 

9. Get someone to proof-read your CV

Of course, check vigilantly for spelling and grammatical errors. Don’t rely on spell check systems on your computer as they can overlook errors in what you’ve written. By all means run a spell check but also ask a friend – ideally someone with knowledge of your area of aviation – to go over your draft CV and spot any mistakes. Others might also make useful suggestions about tone, length of sections or layout of your CV.

 

10. Send it in the right format

Rather than guess which CV format the employer prefers, make sure you know how it will be received and read, and send it in as the right kind of file. With email and digital technology now so important in the job application process – many employers scan CVs electronically first looking for the right keywords. Follow the recruiter’s instructions on the job posting carefully, or email or ring through to check with someone. If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, it’s worth sending your CV as scannable text within the body of the e-mail itself. Then also attach a version with the full layout you’ve designed and attractive fonts that you have chosen.

 

Once you’ve perfected your CV, don’t forget to upload it to Aviation Job Search so that employers can find you!

Tim Peake set to open Futures Day at Farnborough

It’s that time of year again as everyone is preparing for one of the biggest dates in the aerospace calendar. From the 16th July, the Farnborough International Airshow will once again open its doors to the trade to do business, and the public for an unforgettable...

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England might be bringing it home but if you’re thinking about a career as a professional pilot, Manchester is the place you need to be tomorrow. Pilot Careers Live arrives at the Concorde Conference Centre at Manchester Airport between 9am and 4pm, with flight...

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As we're a lovely bunch over here at Aviation Job Search, we've teamed up with Mosaiqe to bring you the chance to win your very own watch! Why Mosaiqe? When you choose Mosaiqe, you choose a watch that doesn't cost the earth, literally. As a sustainable watch brand...