Letters of Recommendation

When do you recommend getting letters of recommendation? I believe they need to be submitted with application (im using AirlineApps) when I’m ready to publish about 12 months prior to my military retirement, so looking at August or so of 2017 for retirement in 2018 a year later.

How many letters?
Do they only want internal or do they value those a lot more, I assume?
For external letters, do they want only other pilots that you have flown with or previous instructors? What about direct supervisors, whether they were pilots or not?
How fresh should the letters be? As close to the application as possible? I saw somewhere else that you should update your app about every 30 days, so would you recommend getting updated letters every so often?

Any other advice for letters or recommendation?


Hey Ryan,

It varies from airline to airline but as with most things quality outranks quantity. Direct supervisors, pilots you’ve flown with and of course internals if you have are always best. One of the biggest things is they need to be current. Honestly I think a year out is a bit early? Personally I’d be starting 6mos tops but your call. Just make sure whoever you get the letters from will give you an updated copy when it comes interview time. You really don’t want to be showing up with a stack of old letters.



Thanks, I will make sure I have current letters for interview.



I’ve gone for Fire Department hirings in the past and have contacts with State and US Reps/Senators. Do you think references from them would improve an outlook of a prospective employee in the airline industry or remain the same? I know in a Public Safety job they look good but wasn’t sure in this industry.

Thanks for your time and Ryan Thank You for your service to our country.

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References like that certainly couldn’t hurt, but I wouldn’t go crazy with them. One or two would look very nice as part of your portfolio.


Thank you for your time Chris!


I’m with Chris on this one. While they couldn’t hurt if I was on the hiring panel I’d be more interested in people who can attest to your flight skills.


Thanks Adam!