How to word work experience for a non-aviation resume


Well-Known Member
Any suggestions on how to put down my airline/CFI experience on a resume for a position in the computer industry? How do you describe your experience as a first officer to someone who may have only flown on a plane a few times in their life?

Terms like "First officer", "type rating", and a whole mess of other stuff will be foreign to anyone outside the industry.
I just sent out a bunch of resumes/cover letters for IT jobs? Shoot me an IM with your e-mail.
How do you describe your experience as a first officer to someone who may have only flown on a plane a few times in their life?

Doesn't really matter, since those details won't qualify you for much outside the aviation field. Suggest you leave out the details. Just having been an airline pilot is enough to make your resume stand out, whether for good or bad.

More important is to show how that experience makes you a better candidate for the position you're applying for. The airline experience suggests self-confidence, self-reliance, discipline, and ability to work under pressure

The CFI experience should focus more on "taught people to fly", which suggests patience, good interpersonal skills, and some project management ability.
Depending on the position you're applying for, you need to quickly and easily translate those skillsets into IT terms they can relate to.

For the FO work - you were effectively managing multiple electronic and mechanical systems. Not unlike dealing with a large enterprise network in resume'-world.

For the CFI - you instructed students in theory and practice of aerodynamics and airmanship, as well as systems and procedures. Being able to teach goes a long way in many industries, but ESPECIALLY in IT because a lot of people can't teach to save their lives.
Think in terms of specific job duties, rather than usual aviation terms.

Navigation, workload management, prioritizing, flight planning, etc.
Honestly, I left the flying stuff off. I listed it as a job but with no description. However, if flying is all you have, you're gonna have to come up with something.

For the computer stuff, maybe you could describe programming the FMS?

But for anyone who wants to see some leadership experience, CFI-ing can easily translate into leadership. Specifically mention any programs you created/ spearheaded, pass rate, mentorship, evaluating, and counseling are all good.

It'll be tough to sell your FO experience. You essentially helped operate a very specific machine. Can't really sell management/leadership since you weren't in charge.

I assume you have previous computer experience? Your resume (and any others who have primarily only flying experience) will probably be best written in the recent college graduate style since essentially that's the bulk of your relevant experience. A work history is good of course, but it'll be really hard to translate a pure flying job into relevant experience an employer can sink their teeth into.

Good luck! I feel your pain, man - been doing the job hunt for over a month now and I know how arduous the job-hunt/resume/cover-letter/application process is.
CFI-ing is very important as the above posters stated, but don't write off your FO experience to nothing. Let them know about the teamwork involved as teams are HUGE buzzwords in business right now. Also, let them know about the ongoing training you accomplished as it lets them know that when they hire you can follow their procedures and training.