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 – this is a must. 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 and attractive fonts that you have ‘designed’.
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