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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Diversity and Networking: Fast Track to Delta


At Delta Air Lines, diversity is extremely important ...
Diversity in your resume, that is.  

With 7000 applicants, what will make yours stand out? How will you create diversity in your resume?

  • Do you have a flying job, yet continue to increase your skills and experience?  
  • On your layovers, do you hang out in the hotel and watch television, or will you use the time to take classes and earn a masters degree? 
  • Do you take leadership roles within your company? Within your community?
  • Have you taught ground school? Volunteered on career day?
  • Have you volunteered to write training manuals, to be on a safety committee, or offered to work in the office? 
  • Do you speak a foreign language? 
  • Do you take classes to improve your aviation skills? 
  • What can you do that will make you stand out above all the rest? 

Is any of this required to be a Delta pilot? No. I'm just saying... what will make your application stand out? Delta is hiring leaders; our future captains. While we may have had 7000 applicants for a very few jobs last year, that will be changing rapidly. My guess is that if you get hired within the next 5-10 years, you will be looking at a very quick upgrade to captain at most airlines... Delta included.


Delta weighs heavily on pilot recommendations. When you're on a Delta flight, or in the terminal, introduce yourself to a Delta Pilot. Tell them you're a pilot, and ask how they got hired. Ask for their business card. Tell them you'd like to work for Delta. Don't be shy. Get out there and network. Stop by the flight deck and say, "I want to be a Delta Pilot." We've got great pilots who would  be more than willing to help you. Connect with the Delta community... Network!

Tuesday I received a comment from Jun, a young man aspiring to become an airline pilot, who said that his focus is on helping others, not competing. I loved that statement. Don't go into the job search as a competition with your classmates. There will be enough jobs to go around. Pilots support other pilots... that is one of the best things about the aviation industry, and one thing we can't lose. I think it comes down to core CRM skills... learning how to work together as a team for a common goal. Those you help today, could be the same pilots who will help you tomorrow.

Good Luck everyone! I'm looking forward to all your comments and suggestions.

Enjoy the Journey!



  1. For the longest time I've been too timid to ask to go visit the flight deck and say "I'm a student pilot and can I sit in your chair," but now I guess I can say "I'm a pilot, can I sit in your chair." :D

  2. Ok, so in your opinion a masters would be worth it (regarding my question on the previous Delta blog). Thanks for the advice...I didn't even think about putting down on a resume that I have 6 years of spanish and am fluent- I guess that may help me stand out.
    Thanks for the advice!

  3. Hi Dan, Will a masters in itself get you a job? Not a guarantee. But if have the time on layovers and are improving yourself...all things equal, and you have that degree... YES, that will put you on the top of the list!!

    Also, keeping your mind alive through learning is essential. When I wrote the continued education idea, I was thinking about your comment. I've earned two masters while working for Northwest on layovers, and loved the process.

    Added benefits:

    Studying keeps your brain alive. That extra studying will help when you go through your airline training program. Your brain is already in study mode. Research has also proven that continued learning helps keep Alzheimers at bay. So... learn, learn,learn!

    Fluent in Spanish? Nice. I know the passengers love it when the pilot will also welcome them in their native tongue.

    You're on the right track!!!

  4. I wish I'd had you as a mentor 30 years ago. My career path would have been very different. Your blog followers are very, very lucky to have an insiders viewpoint.

    BTW, just got my CFI initial check-ride scheduled for next week. Fingers crossed - my second (part time) career will most definitely involve more time wheels up than the first!

  5. YEAH D.B.! Congratulations ahead of time. Keep me posted and email me pictures!!!! What day is your ride scheduled for? I'm thinking of doing the exact same thing... then I could at least fly while on reserve.

  6. Christine... you go to that flight deck and say, "I am a pilot and can hardly wait to fly with you!" lol You have to remember... pilots are pilots. When a cute girl wants to sit in their chair, they will probably pat their lap and not move while they say, "Certainly, come on up!" ;) Congratulations Christine! Exciting.

  7. That sounds like outstanding advice, Karlene! I'm excited for all the young pilots out there who want to put it to use.

  8. Thanks Linda! There are many and we'll be counting on them.

  9. Thank you for sharing how important resume is,Karlene san.

    I am happy to know about Delta Air lines from you who work for Delta Air lines:)

    I think it is good start for me to know that what will make my application stand out?

    Next time ,I am on Delta flight from Narita airport or Kansai airport ,I will introduce myself to pilots,and want to know more about Delta Air lines from them.

    You have a great day

  10. Thank you Jun. I'm hoping that when you come to the flight deck to say hello to that I will be one of the pilots.

  11. Hi Karlene,

    I can't say how much I agree with a lot of what you said in this post. From the start of flight school I could get a feel that a lot of my school mates were already bent on reaching their goals no matter what, and that meant even if they had to step over/on a few of their friends.

    I think that the world of aviation shouuld be the inverse of that. Help each other, because you never know who you will be flying with some day.

    Networking has always been a very important part of my career I think. It is true that a lot of it is all about who you know :) But aside from that, I have taken my father's advice and made it my own: In everything you do, strive to excel. This will not only make you invaluable to your company but make you stand out.

    In our company, advancement is also based on what you did to invest in your own growth and help the company. In my case, I have just finished a 3 weeks leadership course, getting ready for a 3 years business/HR degree, and getting involved in teaching a youth curriculum for safety.

    If you say "oh but my company is too small to invest all this in me/i'm too poor to take those classes" then it's the wrong attitude. There is always something you can do better, help fix or improve. Look around and take initiative. Just doing that will help a long way.

    When it is time to apply for an airline job or other, every body around you will be more than happy to recommend you (unless they try to keep you for themselves! ;)

    So I leave you with this, if you are a new pilot: In everything you do, aim for excellence. Do it, or don't do it. There is NO try! ;)

  12. I am very excited to hear i'm actually not far from what they seem to be looking for in applicants! I constantly try to improve myself and my resume. Hopefully Delta will be hiring in the near future!

  13. Jean Denis, thank you so much for that wonderful comment. Your father gave you excellent advice! You have passion for your life and that makes it worth living to the fullest. Besides all the side benefits of being a superstar at work, isn't it just fun to expand, grow and learn?

    I'm sorry your friends attempted to climb to the top over their counterparts. That's a shame. They're missing the big picture of this incredible career.

  14. Karlene san. thank you for your kind message:))

    I am hoping too.I am just excited that you are flying from USA to JPN as airline know,your job is real my dream.haha!

    Take care of you and have a great week!!!!

  15. Jun, I will take special care of your dream! And it will be awaiting your arrival!

  16. Karlene, do you know the story regarding the pilot on the left in the last picture? I had met him once and thought it might be of interest to talk about him...

  17. Flight learning so important. Such as resume writing. If you want to show your skill so at first your need write a great resume. My university teacher recommended me for write a fantastic resume. Now i am feeling happy for your great blog.


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