Airline Pilot Application Cover Letter

When you are looking for work as an airline pilot, a great cover letter can be a huge asset. In this article, we'll briefly review some cover letter tips, including suggestions for what to put in each paragraph.

General Tips and Introductory Section

Some general advice applies to any cover letter, not just those for pilots. Make sure you do some research on the company beforehand and know exactly who you are sending the letter to. Never address a cover letter "To Whom It May Concern." Try to use the precise name of the person you're sending the letter to. If you are unable to find out a name, address the letter to "Hiring Manager."

Begin the letter with a header containing your name and all contact information. This includes your physical address, email address, home phone and cell phone. The header is usually on the upper left side of the page, but it can be centered as well. Following the header, put a space and then today's date. After another space, put a block of information for the person the letter is addressed to, including his or her title and physical address. This block is to be put on the upper left-hand side.

After a space, put your salutation and then begin the letter proper.

First Paragraph

This is where you "hook" the reader. You should not only express interest in the job but also give a reason the recruiter would be interested in hiring you. A sample first sentence might read, "As an experienced commercial pilot with over 3000 hours of flight time, I was very interested to hear of your open position." If you have been referred by an employee or somebody the recruiter knows, mention that name here. A good referral is a very powerful tool.

Keep this opening paragraph brief but focused. Lay a strong foundation for the rest of the letter.

The Body

Now you must build on the foundation set up in the first paragraph by providing concrete examples of your skills and experience. The body of the letter is usually one large paragraph, but two can be used. Never use more than two paragraphs. Your resume will provide further details. For the body of a pilot cover letter, it is recommended that you use a bullet format to draw attention to your qualifications.

Here are some examples of brief but powerful bullet points you might use:

  • Have logged over a thousand hours flying the 737 model
  • Have flown for six years with World Aviation without an accident
  • Have also flown in the military and was promoted for outstanding duty in (Name Country)
  • Have been licensed as a mechanic on several different models.

The Conclusion

In the last paragraph, you wrap everything up. Restate your strong interest in the position and try to insert one more reminder of your skills and experience. You may want to say something like, "I can make a strong contribution to your growing company." Thank the recruiter for his or her interest and sign off with a professional closing such as "Respectfully yours." Make certain you proofread the letter carefully and correct mistakes.

You can find some great examples of pilot cover letters here:,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,21/Itemid,112.html.

Aviation HR expert Angie Marshall recently shared her pilot cover letter example and pilot cover letter tips that will help you make the right first impression on a potential corporate aviation employer. Angie is a Pilot Employment Consultant with over twenty years of experience preparing pilots for their professional aviation careers. (See Part 1 in our series with Angie here on Pilot Resume Writing.) Marshall believes pilot cover letters take on a bit more importance for prospective corporate pilots applying for a job than for standard airline pilot job applications.

“This is because the airlines primarily follow the company application form when reviewing documents and interviewing an applicant,” says Angie. “Corporate flight departments may not even have a company application. They will rely much more heavily on the prospective pilot’s resume and cover letter when reviewing documents in the interview.” For this reason, a corporate pilot cover letter will need to be more in-depth than a standard airline cover letter.

Here are some cover letter tips to consider:

  • Stick to one page. A cover letter of more than one page will overwhelm the reader, causing him or her to miss important facts about your experience.
  • Use names. Whenever possible, address the cover letter to a person or department, rather than the generic “To Whom it May Concern,” or “Dear Chief Pilot.” This shows a genuine interest in the company and that you’ve done your research. Use the Corporate Flight Departments Directory, search our Job Listings by the company of interest or use the Corporate Flight Department’s website to find the names you need.
  • Opening statement. Make your opening statement specific and to the point. “I read about your current opening for a Citation Pilot with great interest. I have included my resume for your consideration.” This allows the reader to immediately understand your intent.
  • Personal vs. technical skills. Cover letters need to be a blend of both your personal and technical skills. In the HR world, we call them “hard skills and soft skills.” The hard skills are those things that you can prove (flight time, certifications, etc.) where soft skills are more about your communication skills, personality and intangible personal attributes.
  • Don’t repeat information. Remember that the person reviewing your cover letter will be reviewing your resume as well. Make sure your contact information appears in the proper places on your cover letter, but don’t repeat it in the body of your cover letter text. Cover letters are valuable real estate, so tell a consistent story about your personal and technical skills, but don’t waste space repeating information.
  • The “fluff” factor. Don’t go overboard on complimenting the company to which you are applying. Wrong approach: “I read about your company and how it is growing. The potential to grow with a top company such as yours is an opportunity that I can’t possibly pass up. You are rated Number 1 for customer service in the nation, and I want to be part of that team.” Right approach: “Having read about your company in ABC magazine regarding your customer service rating has only solidified my interest in working for you. I have over 10 years of experience working for a company in which we transported VIP’s, celebrities, company CEO’s and political figures…..” The important thing to remember is that you have to get across the skills you have that will be an asset to their value system and company as a whole.
  • Polish your cover letter! In today’s competitive pilot job market, you need to ensure that everything looks perfect. Be sure to use spell check, correct email address and phone numbers, and a well balanced and professional cover letter. Have a friend, family member or trusted colleague in the industry with an eye for detail review it. Two sets of eyes are always better than one.

A cover letter is a selling tool and a brief glimpse into the personality of the applicant. Since many recruiters or interviewers will not have the ability to speak directly to the applicant right away, the cover letter works as your spokesperson. Use it to your advantage!

To help you get started, try writing out your “elevator pitch.” If you were to get into the elevator with the Director of Operations making the hiring decisions at the Corporate Flight Department you are interested in and you had 20 seconds to make a case as to why the company should hire you, what would you say? Now, take this speech and create a cover letter around it.

Looking for pilot cover letter examples, pilot resume templates, sample pilot resumes, resume examples or formatting advice? Contact us at from 9-5 ET M-F, we’re here to help!

Download the Sample Pilot Cover Letter Example.

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