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HeliTorque :: View topic - what should a professional resume look like?
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Employment

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raffski
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: what should a professional resume look like? Reply with quote

I'm applying for my first job, have no professional experience (brand new CPL), applying to a HR department of a large operator for a job I'm not likely to get, however I'm doing it for the experience and just on the off chance I might get in there.
So how should I structure my CV? What relevance does my non helicopter work have? Should I list the work in detail, list the jobs with a short sumary, or not list them at all?
Since I have not done any commercial work thus far, should I detail how I have built the hours or is there any point? Would a sort summary of this be useful in the cover letter?
All comments are welcome.
Thanks,
Raff.
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WhirlyGirl
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you signed up with HeliJobs? It might give you some ideas for the structure of your resume.

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raffski
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave it a go, but when I finished it said there was a mistake and I should go back and update the mistake, when I tried to do that, it brought me back to the blank resume page, (pet hate, never bothered refilling forms), so I submitted anyway in the presumption that I would be able to update the resume, but I can't see if there's a way to do that. I presume it should be possible as no ones resume is going to remain static.
However the format seems similar enough to what I plan to use. Minimise the detail on the non flying stuff, list the flying stuff, not in great detail though.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you can update your resume from this link. You might want to use the same format to build a resume that you can print and send out when you apply for jobs. I would focus mainly on flying stuff, but also include some background information on your other experience, qualifications and hobbies.

That said, I've never been for a flying job, so anybody out there who has, your advice would be well received!

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raffski
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Er, unless I'm being stupid, that only lets me update my objectives. There's no link to change the Resume itself?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you filled in the sections besides the objectives? On mine it comes up with personal info, training info, type ratings, education, the whole lot.

Are there any other registered job seekers out there who could click the link and tell me what comes up? That would really help as it's pretty difficult to fix a problem that I can't see.

Rafski, which internet brower are you using?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IE 6.0
Yeah I filled out the main thing first, including personal info etc., it then asked me to complete the objectives, which I did, then said, halt, you have incorrectly filled out Ze form and must retreat to the form filling section. At that point when I retreated, it presented me with a blank form.
But I got the picture. Anyway, still welcoming CV (resume) advice.
WG, shouldn't you be studying?? Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I should be studying, but Christmas has got in the way Sad

Could you tell me how many orange "update" buttons there are on the page that comes up when you click the above link? There should be one under objectives, and then several others, one for each section of the form. In the database, only your objectives are filled in. Most probably the form did not submit the first time you filled it in.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep just the opjectives have an update button.
Bugger!
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paco
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe this will help (from the Helicopter Pilot's Handbook):

Applying for a job involves selling yourself, by which I mean that you are the product to be marketed, and the process starts even with the envelope in which you send your details (a full-sized stiff-backed one ensures they don't get creased). It's surprising how many people fail to use the resume and covering letter (they are, after all, a first introduction) as properly as they should be. I have seen very badly handwritten resumes with no idea of spacing on ragged paper that would disgrace a fish and chip shop. This type of introduction says little for your self-image and is likely to go straight into the bin - if it doesn't, it will be a reminder of what you were like long after the interview. Your resume is your sales brochure.

Having said all that, in a lot of aviation companies the atmosphere is relatively informal, and, although you need a resume, hardly anyone ever reads it, at least not till you make them do so by turning up on their doorstep, so take the following remarks with as large a pinch of salt as you feel able. You may only be required to fill in an application form (see below), which will also involve a breakdown of hours - usually First Pilot and Grand Totals. The initial contact could well be a faxed one-page letter, with everything relevant on it, and full details when asked.

Tip: Keep a running breakdown of your hours, separate from your logbook and updated monthly, say, in a spreadsheet, which will help you extract these figures when required (it will also be a back-up should the original get lost, but a logbook must fulfil certain legal requirements). Keep columns for specialised stuff.

However, a large company with a personnel department (which therefore deals with several other professions) will expect to get the full treatment. Like flying, the more preparation that goes into your resume, the better the results you will get. Remember, you're trying to beat the opposition, in an environment where the best person for the job frequently gets eliminated early on, and the person who plays the application/interview game best wins. Unfair? Yes, but life's like that, so here's a couple of points to note before we go any further - the resume is not meant to get you a job, but an interview. Secondly, it actually consists of two parts - the resume itself, which contains the usual stuff, and a covering letter, which, being a business document, should be neatly typed or wordprocessed on white letter-sized paper, unless you are specifically told to do otherwise (you might be asked to fill in a form) - it looks more professional anyway.

The letter is actually a focussing device, that should include information that might not belong in the resume, or to highlight anything that might be particularly relevant (from the ad, maybe) and to get it in front of the right person. Ring up to make sure you spell their name right, as "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam" will often mean consignment to the waste bin immediately. You may also include reasons for wanting to join the company, or, more to the point (salesmanship again), how useful you will be to them, because that's what they're bothered about. You could, for example, cover points mentioned in the advert, or you know that they're concerned about. This is your sales pitch.


Use the word "I" as little as possible, include any reference numbers in the advert, and get the person's job title right. Don't "wish" or "hope" for an interview (salesmen are taught to ask for a sale, so - ask for an interview!). Remember that most resumes look the same, especially if you use a Microsoft Word template!

If you are not replying to an ad, remember that Personnel often do not know about vacancies until actually asked to do something about one, so you need to get hold of the person in charge of the department or base you are interested in. One tactic might be to write to the Big Boss, whereupon it might filter down to the relevant person from above, giving them more of an incentive to do something about it. Don't be shy about this - speculative letters show initiative, which is one quality required when operating in remote places. It also saves them money, if they are actually looking, as recruitment costs money (when talking about yourself, and therefore saying nice things, when you begin to feel slightly embarrassed is the time to stop).

Although it is often said that a resume should fit on one page (and this is good advice), life is never so convenient, and you should always be aware from the start that you might need 2 or even 3, if you include a breakdown of your flying hours. On the one hand, trying to cut everything down when it won't get any smaller is stressful, and on the other, many resume readers (myself included) find it frustrating that more information isn't forthcoming when I want to read it. The trick is to put the information you think might be needed on the first page, and expand it on the following pages, even if you repeat yourself (you could also put it in the covering letter). As a guide, my own procedure is to go through any list of resumes with the requirements of the job in mind, and either highlight any that are already mentioned, or write down any that are not, on the front page as an aid to later sorting. What is relevant depends on the job, but it's a fair bet that licences, types flown, total hours on each and availablility would be a good start - you could probably think of more, but especially include contact details.
Don???t bother with referees, as these are usually taken up after the interview anyway.

Having said all that, you should still try to get the information in as short a space as you can without leaving anything out - if you're only going for a flying job, the tendency to include irrelevant information should be avoided, and everyone knows what a pilot does, so your resume will be on the technical side, that is, short, competent and to the point. Management qualifications (if you have them) are not important to somebody who just wants a line pilot (all the advice here should be read in this light - you don't have to include everything). As with all salesmanship, you're trying to make it as easy as possible for the customer, in this case your potential employer, or at least the poor clerk in the personnel office who has to go through all the paperwork before the interviews (it's worth mentioning at this point that the clerk's job is to screen you out, or to discover who not to interview). If you feel the need to be more specific, use the covering letter to get your details in front of the right person. The screening out can take place in as little as 8 seconds - the irony is that they use the resume for the process. What do they see in that time? Well, the type of paper, its condition and layout, to mention but a few items (your subconscious can pick up a lot without you knowing). In short, whether you've spent time on it.
You need to use quality paper, A4-sized and white, and therefore inoffensive, but this requirement is really for scanning. Use one side of the paper only with the script centralised, with no underlining or strange typefaces. Leave at least a one-inch border at the top and bottom of the page with a good sized margin on either side. It will cost a minimal amount to get a two-page resume wordprocessed properly and not much more to get a reasonable number photocopied, preferably on to the same paper. Use a spellchecker. Twice.

It should include your career history, commencing with your present position and working back about 5 years in detail, the remainder in brief. The name and town is enough to identify employers with a brief description of their activities, if needed, as aviation is a small world. You may include reasons for leaving your current position but, as said above, when people read a resume they almost always do it with a highlighter in one hand to mark relevant passages for later, and you can almost guarantee that this will be a prime target, so prepare it very carefully.

In summary, the layout must be neat, as short as possible, well spaced and easy to read, with a positive attitude conveyed throughout. Section headings could include:

Personal Details, centred at the top - just name, address and contact number
Post applied for (optional)
Profile
Key Skills
Work Experience (a better heading than career, if you haven't really got one!)

If you don't have much experience, include outside interests that have transferable skills. All other personal stuff (date of birth, etc.) should be at the end, as it bores most readers.

Application Forms

Practice on a photocopy first, and always use the same pen throughout (that is, make sure you're not likely to run out of ink halfway through and have to change colours).

Don't leave blank boxes - use N/A (Not Applicable) if one doesn't apply, and never refer someone to an attached resume (that is, attach one if you like, but don't ask them to look somewhere else for information they want now).
The "other information" box is the same as a covering letter, so don't miss it out.

Finally, when asked to do an evaluation ride, don't push off afterwards without helping to put the machine away, or at least offering to help.

Good Luck!

Phil
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and the said Helicopter Pilot's Handbook is available in the HeliTorque Bookshop!! *plug*

WhirlyGirl Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And on my own shelf as it happens. :O
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of market research - I'm thinking of adding the CPL exam material to the heli handbook, so it becomes a true reference book for helicopter pilots throughout their career. Or would it be better to do a separate book?

Phil
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

raffski,

A professional resume looks like........a telephone.

If you get a positive response on the 'phone follow up with a one page resume.

Don't waste your time scatter shooting resumes around.
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raffski
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reddog,
Thanks for the reply. Actually it's for an ad that appeared in the irish newpapers, so I'm applying for a specific post. I don't really have any hope of getting it given my experenience, or lack thereof, but it's a good exercise and you never know with these things.
PLan A is still to get my instructors rating and network/pester those that I know and work my way into the system from there.
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