Thanks to all who commented on my last post. It was rather personal but getting all that off my chest definitely helped.
Before I dive back into the Flying Careers series with Part V, I wanted to post a final note in response to a comment on Part IV. Norman wrote that he's always had trouble with the "Objective" section of the resume, and noted that "in the [modern] age of computers where electronically submitted resumes are linked to specific job postings, mating a particular resume to a particular job position in the objective seems unnecessary." He also mentioned that the most often given advice on objectives - keep it to one sentence or less - "severely throttles the ability of the writer to distinguish him/herself from the rest of the applicants." After all, doesn't the HR person know what job you're applying for? Why not use the objective section to show you have a firm grasp on what the job involves and are prepared to meet the challenge?
Norman, you have a point. Including an objective line reading "To obtain a position as a crewmember with XYZ airlines" is dull, unimaginative, redundant...and most likely the best thing to do, at least for most aviation jobs. Here's my reasoning:
If I were king of the world, I would banish the objective line to a lonely and indefinite exile. It really has no purpose in the modern world. Most resumes would be very complete without one, in my opinion. That said, most HR people cite the lack of an objective line as a major reason for throwing your resume in the recycling bin - something about showing lack of focus or some such poppycock. So out of tradition or whatever, continue to slavishly include an objective line.
But why not have some fun with it? If it's required, why not be creative and put something there that's actually useful and sets you apart from the rest? In the case of a non-aviation resume, it might not be a bad idea. Some of Norman's objective ideas would be great were I applying for a managerial position. For most aviation jobs, though, you wouldn't want to use them. Most aviation companies - particularly airlines - want conservative, disciplined, almost drone-like pilots, and your resume and cover letter should do nothing to destroy their depressingly boring image of you. This is why I stick to the tried-and-true chronological resume and shy away from such attention-getting innovations such as the functional resume. It's also why you should refrain from sending a resume on pink, perfumed paper, no matter how pretty you feel inside.
There's one possible exception. If you're shooting for a job that you're generally underqualified for - a long shot - it just might be worth it to get yourself noticed with an innovative objective line or resume format. Personally, I like to send tins of cookies to the HR people.