TPNx Notes – Application Tips

As you can imagine at an airline networking conference, the topic of applications came up a lot. Charlie Venema (owner of Checkedandset) gave a solid overview of the process. Below is information from his talk as well as some other tips picked up during the conference.

There are two main websites that airlines use to standardize formatting on applications. If you want to work for Delta or United (as well as a number of other non-legacy airlines), you need to open an account on If you are trying to get hired by FedEx, American, or Southwest, you need to go to (click on the desired airline at the bottom of the page). Pilot Credentials Global is currently having a lot of issues populating correctly to the various airlines; recommend not using it. UPS has its own application site.

A few tips while you’re filling out your application:

  1. Your application is the first impression you give a prospective hiring department…don’t skimp on time or effort when building your application. Pilots frequently take 40-60 hours to prepare the application.
  2. After you’ve built your app, make sure to have a professional app company review it (recommend Checkedandset!) and make any needed adjustments.
  3. You want your application to tell a story. Don’t get so caught up in including every detail that the story gets lost. This is one of the reasons a professional app review is important; a friend/coworker/family member who reviews your application won’t notice any holes in your application because they know you and your story.
  4. Be honest! Don’t estimate GPAs; don’t leave out speeding tickets / DUIs / busted check rides; don’t inflate numbers / positions; use a realistic hiring date; etc. Remember, everything you put on your application, you will be explaining during the interview; if that thought makes you uncomfortable, re-evaluate.
  5. Don’t worry about templates; your method is fine. Your application should reflect you.
  6. When complete, print your application and review it on paper.

Some useful information when filling out your application:

  • Applications becomes unviewable after 180 days; however, airlines can screen based on last update (general rule of thumb is 90 days); recommend updating at least once a month. UPS’s site does not allow updates; once your app is submitted, it is locked.
  • In Airline Apps, you can’t attach a resume (Delta will never ask for a resume; United will have you bring your resume to the interview), so ensure you paint a clear picture through your duties and reasons for leaving. In Pilot Credentials, you can include a resume; ensure that every time you update your app, you update the resume. They should always match.
  • Delta wants to see all of your flight training in the education section, so on Airline Apps, include all military ratings (pilot training, IFF, aircraft qual, instructor/evaluator upgrades; recommend not going to the level of flight lead upgrades) and civilian ratings (ATP, etc). School will be the flight training provider (e.g. 80 FTW) and the program will be the flight training event (e.g. pilot training). In Pilot Credentials, the education section specifies “College/University” – they are only looking for education leading to degrees.
  • In the work history section, include all military moves at a minimum. You can include job changes and/or deployments within an assignment if they are significant (show leadership, etc). Delta asks for average flight times per assignment – calculate an educated estimate: total flight time during assignment / months at assignment.
  • Pilot Credentials includes IP time in PIC (PIC+SIC=total); Airline Apps does not (PIC+SIC+IP=total). After inputting your flight time, check the generated total to make sure it makes sense!
  • Use “N/A” for all blank cells.
  • Delta wants all failures listed, including pilot training. American, FedEx and Southwest do not want to see failures before receiving wings.

Letters of Recommendations / References:

  • General references: These are input at the master level in Airline Apps; used for both United and Delta.
  • Background reference (United only): 4 required; can be the same as general references
  • Professional recommendation: These are individual to each company; you will send a request e-mail from your application for them to fill out. Internal to the airline is better. You can ask for these before your app is published.
  • Internal recommendation (Delta only): This is the “silver bullet” internal rec from a Delta pilot to pilot selection that will get your app scored (although you might not receive an immediate invite); do not ask for this until your app is perfect, published, and ready to be scored.