Monday, March 05, 2007

Landing the Job, Part IV Postscript

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.


Anonymous said...

BTW...He doesn't send tins of cookies to the HR people, because if he did, I'd know abou it; I would be the one baking the cookies. :)

Fred said...

Sam, welcome back.

I'm not a pilot (yet) but am going through a job search myself. I've come to the realization that the majority of resumes are terrible and show nothing of one's capabilities the way they're presently formulated. I know this because in the span of a few years working at my present job, I've had to review almost 100 and they were all template-derived and boring.

It wasn't until I read Nick Corcodilos's excellent Ask The Headhunter that I understood what a resume should do. As I said, I'm not a pilot so I don't know if Corcodilos's advice works in the aviation sector, but I can't see why not.

Corcodilos's site, by the way, is at

Sam said...

Anon, aka my better half - Phht! I've never baked cookies!? OK, you're right, I've never actually sent a tin. But when I'm really desperate, I will. :)

Sam said...

Fred - I like the Ask the Headhunter site, and a lot of what he says is dead-on in regard to getting yourself noticed & putting your best foot forward. He's definately right about your resume not being what gets you hired, or even primarily what gets you an interview. That is true in large sectors of the aviation world except perhaps flight schools & regional airlines right now. That said, most of his advice applies to jobs in business, creative, & managerial fields, where HR will be swamped with tons of applicants, most with fairly identical resumes, and where showing an ability to "think outside the box" is a plus.

In most cases, you will not be getting an aviation interview by simply sending in a resume (more on that in future posts). That said, your resume WILL be read when the people in charge are deciding who to interview, and you don't want anything on it to suggest you're any sort of loose cannon.

flyguy said...

Greetings, I am trying to start a writers association for people like you and I. I write a blog called Captains Log. Flying the B-767 for a while now. I have found out that if we fellow aviation writers form an association we can take advantage of the same opportunities writers from the press get. My sister is a travel writer and she has convinced me that I should at least try to get some of us together as an organized group. We could all try to meet somewhere down the road, get ideas from each other, give feedback about our individual writings. What do you think. Let me know if your interested. Rick(

~Rachel Mae~ said...

umm....can you MAKE cookies?!:-p

~Rachel Mae~ said...

oh...never mind, Dawn just answered my question...:)

Anonymous said...

Well, I do know he makes a smashing lemon meringue pie! Maybe they'd like that better!
M-I-L in SD!

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