By DebbieH 19 Feb 2021 5 min read

9 mistakes to avoid on your pilot cover letter



You’ve seen the perfect pilot job and you’ve subsequently spent a great deal of time creating the perfect CV or candidate profile. Job done, right? Wrong – you also need to create the perfect cover letter to accompany it.

Even before a hiring manager will review your CV, they will read your cover letter to get a sense of who you are and determine if you appear to be a good fit for their position. They will also be looking for clues on your personality, attention to detail and written communication skills, to see whether you'd be a good fit for their pilot jobs.

While it can be a chore to create a tailored cover letter for every position which you apply for, it is time well spent – a good cover letter will make you stand out in a sea of applications.

To help you craft the perfect cover letter, here’s 9 mistakes which are commonly made – and which you need to avoid – when writing your pilot cover letter.


Putting Too Much Focus On Yourself

The airline or company which you’re applying to is hiring because they need someone to fill a gap which they have. The most important thing which they want to know is what you can do for them.

While it’s important to explain why you’re a great pilot, you need to put more emphasis on why you’d be a great pilot for the position you’re applying to.


Not Tailoring It to the Airline

One of the biggest mistakes pilots make when writing a cover letter is not tailoring it to the airline which they’re applying to. Most employers want to see that you’re excited at the prospect of joining their airline and that starts with a strong cover letter, tailored to them.

While it’s fine to recycle a few strong sentences or phrases from previous cover letters, each cover letter should be unique. A good starting point is to research the airline – find out what they’re about, their mission, who they currently employ and who their competitors are.

By doing your research, you can really hone in on why you’d be a great fit for their airline.




Not Tailoring It to the Job Description

While different pilot job adverts will have common themes and requirements within them, each job advert is unique and your cover letter should reflect that. Read the job description closely and think of examples from your past which fit those requirements. Choose one or two examples and highlight them in short, concise sentences.

By doing so, the hiring manager will be able to clearly see that you have the requirements to execute their job well – they’ll also be impressed that you tailored your cover letter accordingly.


Enjoy this article?

Follow us and never miss an article or update from us.


Sharing Too Many Details About Previous Positions

Depending on how long you’ve been a pilot, sharing details about every previous job will make for a very cluttered and headache-inducing cover letter.

Previous experience can be listed on your CV or candidate profile, so there’s no need to go into too much detail about that in your cover letter. Instead, you should be focusing on what experience you learnt from previous positions which is relevant to the role you are applying to.


Writing Too Much

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your cover letter is detailing your life story. Include too much information and you run the risk of the hiring manager switching off or skipping your cover letter.

Your cover letter should be to the point, focused, and never longer than one page.


Repeating Your CV

Your cover letter is not a place to regurgitate everything that’s in your CV or candidate profile – if the hiring manager is reading your cover letter, they already have your CV.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to paint a bigger picture about who you are and highlight your experiences and accomplishments. The interviewer is not only looking for someone that can do the job, but for someone that will fit in well with their existing team.


Not Being Enthusiastic

A good hiring manager will be looking for candidates who are passionate, upbeat and enthusiastic about their career. At the end of the day, the most exciting people to hire are the people who are the most excited about what they do.

A good cover letter should convey these emotions and make the hiring manager want to read more about you in your CV or candidate profile.

That being said, make sure you don’t go too over the top as overly embellished language might come across as disingenuous.


Using Clichés

Avoid using clichés, buzzwords and obvious sentences such as “I’m a hard worker” or “I believe I am the perfect fit for the job”, because they won’t carry any weight with the hiring manager – how many times do you think they will have read these phrases?

Every word on your cover letter counts, so take the time to make yours work hard for you. Your words should reinforce the point that you have what it takes to be successful in the role you are applying for.


Not Proofreading

Even though a pilot’s job doesn’t revolve around spelling, the majority of hiring managers will eliminate any applications with typos because they lack professionalism.

If you didn’t take the care and attention to spell check your own cover letter, would you exercise the same level of carelessness when flying an aircraft? That’s not a risk a hiring manager would want to take.


Article submitted by Ellie Coverdale and edited by Aviation Job Search. 

Ellie is a technical and recruitment writer at Essay roo and UK Writings, is involved in helping individuals in their job search as well as assisting companies streamline their hiring processes. She also teaches writing skills at Boom Essays.



Search the Latest First Officer Jobs