The 4 P’s

By: Charlie Venema,

While attending a recent career fair I heard these three words used by a recruiter when discussing strengths of applicants: Professional, Personality, and Patience.  I have a fourth P word that may be helpful, Perspective.

Professional can be widely applied and is often thought of with regard to how one appears in person or the work that they accomplish.  Stop and think about how this fits into pilot hiring; no one can see you, but they can see how you present yourself when they review your application and resume.  Over the years I have seen many different approaches to the description of duties on an application.  One of my all-time favorites was from a First Officer who described his job as a regional airline FO as ‘Assist in the duties of part 121 operations, get coffee’.  This approach is probably better suited to an application for a barista position rather than a big three airline job.  Use of unprofessional language gets noticed quickly in this business and can be a significant roadblock.

Personality is another trait that would seemingly be observed in person but alas, no one can see you yet, only your documents.  The words and phrases that you use to describe yourself are in fact an extension of your personality and you have a tremendous opportunity to let that shine.  This can be difficult on an application but is quite easy to accomplish on a resume.  Imagine a recruiter looking at 100 resumes over two days at a job fair.  It is a safe bet that nearly 90 of them are merely regurgitations of companies worked for and dates of service.  Find opportunities to showcase what makes you unique and how you have added value along the way.

Patience is the hardest one to embrace as it is often trumped by frustration.  We live in an immediate gratification world, but pilot hiring is old school, it often takes years to even get noticed.  Getting hired at a major is going to take time, and your best approach is to use that time wisely.  Do you have your college transcripts?  Are your documents current?  Have you started thinking about interview questions and stories to share?   Make sure that you are ready for the call when it comes.

Perspective can best be explained with a quick story.  After a terribly frustrating day in the office, I sat down in my mentor’s office and stated that it was hard to keep my glass half full when people keep poking holes in it.  The reply was simple and eloquent… “Charlie, you have to decide if you want to keep filling it, or let it empty.”  Don’t share with the recruiter that you can’t believe that all of your First Officers are leaving to the majors, instead, share the opportunities you have had to mentor new First Officers that will one day replace you.  It’s about perspective.

Please visit to see how they can help you present your best self.