Qualifications to go Above and Beyond

What are qualifications and skills that I can develop to truly stand out when becoming a pilot for the airlines (regional and majors)? Some specific examples I am wondering about are learning a second language, getting a degree in aviation or STEM, etc. Currently a junior enrolled in engineering, looking to start my flight training this spring.

Honestly none of that will matter to the majors. They will want to see a college degree with a strong GPA, no checkride failures, no failed training events or written exams, no accidents or incidents and no legal issues (speeding tickets, DUIs, etc.

Then when it comes time to build hours, do it with quality not just quantity. Flight instruct, keep your IFR knowledge sharp and be safe. Nothing can wreck a resume like an accident or incident when you’re a complacent flight instructor looking to throw hours in a logbook.

When you get to applying for the majors they might appreciate community service or volunteering but it should be your last priority. The aviation specific resume you build is the most important aspect. They want to see a pilot who already has established great habits as an aviator and will continue to bring that to their company.



Aviation is different than many other careers in that in many ways it’s still very traditional. As Hannah said none of the things you mention will give you a leg up. The airlines really only look for 2 things, well trained, experienced pilots and people who want drive you crazy locked in a cockpit for hours.

What will help you is to do well in training and always conduct yourself as a professional. In doing so you’ll be able to get recommendations and endorsements from others in the industry.



It sounds odd, but none of those things really matter when it comes to the airlines. There is no need to speak another language, in fact it is prohibited in the cockpit, an aviation degree is absolutely worthless and STEM classes will not matter.

What does matter is flight time, the quality of that time, and having a college degree. At the end of the day, airlines hire pilots, not business executives, not foreign language speakers, not even engineers. They do hire pilots, so get your flight time as quickly and efficiently as possible.