Through the years, we’ve been seeking more and more efficiency in everything we have and do. This is easy to see in the transport industry.

From traveling on foot and riding horses to traveling using the steam engine and modern cars, the change has been big.

Then came the airplanes. These really transformed transportation enabling us to cross continents and seas. But with great convenience always comes one or two challenges.

With air travel, the biggest challenge is obviously safety.

Although air accidents are rare, the air transport industry has experienced some accidents. One of the worst was the Tenerife collision between a KLM and Pan Am Boeing 747 passenger jets. These collided on the runway killing 583 people.

The disaster is attributed to bad weather and a misinterpretation of a command from the control tower.

It is such incidents that remind us of the important role air traffic controllers play.

If you are an air traffic controller, we celebrate you. And in an effort to help you grow and enjoy your career, we wrote this article for you.

This article is to help you get your first job if you’re just getting started in your career. And in case you’re seeking to move from one employer to another, we also have you covered.

We’ll show you how to write the best air traffic controller resume and also give you two sample resumes. These will show you how the final document will look like if you apply the advice provided.

With competition for jobs in your industry being very high, it’s necessary to invest in writing the best resume.


Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that your industry is not growing as fast as others. Probably that’s because naturally, there isn’t much room for expansion—at least considering what we know about air transport so far.

You see, whereas it’s easy, for instance, to see what the future of automobiles will be, things aren’t as clear in the air transport industry.

For example, there is the Hyperloop project which promises revolutionary travel. If successful, the need for air travel will reduce significantly. On the automobiles side however, we’re moving towards electric and self-driving cars . Some of these are already in existence.

It’s probably on the backdrop of such a challenge that the air transport industry isn’t seeing many changes.

With this in mind, it’s understandable that your occupation’s growth is projected to be 1% in a whole decade i.e. 2018 – 2028.

One of the things that such a figure implies, is high competition.

That aside, there is something good in the industry.


One of the most important things to consider when looking for a job is the total pay. Obviously, you want to get paid well so you can take care of life’s needs.

Although your total pay may consist of different things, the main part of it is the salary. And before you decide that you’ll negotiate your salary, it’s important to know what the industry pays.

Like in many other occupations, the salaries of air traffic controllers vary. With basic education and no work experience, you can expect your pay to be on the lower side.

But the more you gain work experience and hopefully advance your education, things get better. All the same, the average pay as of February 2020 stands at $83,920 per year.

Source: ZipRecruiter

Another factor which greatly influences how much you get paid is your work location.

Most air traffic controllers work in airports and if you work in the busiest airports, your pay will be higher.

Still, and quite obviously, not all employers pay the same.

The majority of air traffic controllers are employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA.

As it turns out, FAA is also the highest-paying employer of air traffic controllers.

Source: PayScale

With this information, regardless of who hires you, you’ll be better placed to negotiate your salary. Just remember that you should not focus too much on your salary. There are other things to consider.

Ask about the benefits you are eligible for.

Everything from retirement to medical benefits can be negotiated. Make use of the opportunity. That way, despite the amount of work you do, you can at least brag about a decent work-life balance.


But have you considered the fact that pay and benefits are not all there is in a job? Being satisfied and happy with your job entails more than these.

Given the high salary that you can get, especially from the FAA, you can bet that it doesn’t come easy. If you’ve worked as an air traffic controller, you know what we’re talking about. If not yet, you’ll soon understand once you start working.

Your job as an air traffic controller is quite tasking, especially in regards to mental concentration.

When you think of the need to be constantly alert and watch planes symbolized on a screen as a dot of light, you know that things are tough. That aside, how comfortable will you be knowing that the lives of thousands of people are in your hands every day?

A very small mistake on your end could be disastrous. The last thing any airport or country or any human being for that matter wants, is the death of many people all at once. Especially if the deaths were as a result of negligence.

Living with that can be difficult. Not to mention the possibilities of losing your job, being sued, suffering anxiety and depression etc.

Such are the reasons why out of 5 stars, many air traffic controllers rate their jobs at 3.3. This is despite having very high salaries.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. And if you got into the career out of passion, then you can always see things differently.

In other words, your attitude matters a lot.

What’s your attitude? And are you ready to enjoy your career?

This article focuses on helping you write the best air traffic controller resume. But if you’re in a hurry, you could simply pick one of our resume templates and use it to quickly present your information.

But if you can spare a few minutes to be equipped with valuable knowledge, then read on.

You will learn what to write and how to write it. And at the end, you’ll have two resume samples to use as a reference. One is for an entry-level air traffic controller and the other for an experienced air traffic controller.

In short, whether you’re experienced or are hunting for your first job, we have a resume to guide you.


As an air traffic controller, one of the things you must show in your resume is attention to detail. This can even be seen in the way you write your resume.

Remember that your job is a high-stress job due to the pressure involved and the high stakes. It’s therefore important to write well since this means clear communication and concentration.

There are five things your resume must contain. These are your name and contact details, work experience, education, skills and work summary or objective.

If you write these and still have some space, then you can include other sections like certifications or even hobbies and interests. Among the common extra sections, certifications should come first because they indicate professional advancement.

Let’s look at the five sections and see how to handle each one of them.

Personal information

This is the first section of your resume and it comes at the top. In some resume templates, your personal information can be located on either the right or left side of the resume.

Still, this will be at the top.

This section is basically for introduction. It tells the hiring manager what your name is, your physical address and how to contact you. Contact information will normally be in the form of a mobile number and email address.

Generally, you would expect no mistakes in this section. But there are usually some.

Probably you’re wondering how you can make a mistake in your name and contact details.

Well, it’s not about misspelling or writing your sibling’s name. It about writing the wrong thing—from the hiring manager’s point of view.

If the hiring manager notices a mistake just on the first section, your resume is immediately cast aside.


Because hiring managers have too many resumes to go through. The faster they can go through the pile, the better.

So, how do you present your information correctly?

Simply avoid using nicknames and make sure you have a professional email address.

Here’s how not to do it and how to do it.

Wrong way of writing your personal information

Name: Johnny Maxwell

Right way of writing your personal information

Name: Johnny Maxwell


A professional email address isn’t a difficult thing to get. Just try playing around with your official names and you’ll get one even with free email service providers like Google and Yahoo.

Here are some tips to help you.

  • Try using your full names only
  • If that address isn’t available, try
  • You can also try or
  • You can also use numbers e.g.
  • Another option is to create a custom email address using your name only. You can do this using a custom domain or a service like G suite.

Summary or objective

After your personal information, most resumes will have the professional summary or the career objective. This is not just a design decision for the resume but one based on functionality.

The purpose of the summary or objective is to take advantage of the few seconds the hiring manager sets apart for every resume. These statements or lists are meant to catch her attention and quickly show her that you’re the right candidate for the job.

If you’ve ever heard of the elevator pitch, this is your version of the same.

The question is: What do you do when you know that you have only 6 seconds to wow your potential employer?

Obviously, you won’t start by telling him about your skills. Despite how good your skills are, you need to understand that what matters is the unique value proposition. If you want him to hire you, show him your value quickly since he doesn’t have the whole day.

This is exactly how you should handle your summary or objective. Make sure it shows how you will benefit your employer. To do that, you have to quantify the results you’re claiming you can bring.

But first, which one should you use? The summary or the objective?

Professional summary

You should use the professional summary when you have some air traffic controller work experience to show off. This is what the summary is best for.

It will help you achieve your goals of showcasing your abilities because you have evidence for it.

You can write this in either two ways: as a short 3 or 4-sentence paragraph or a bullet point list. Either way is fine though for a harder punch, go for the bullet point list. Especially when you have big results to show off.

Remember that these should ideally be quantified. Don’t just say that you helped the airport ensure air safety. Find out what used to happen before you got there and measure the change you brought about.

Here are some examples.

Ineffective professional summary

Experienced air traffic controller with proven abilities to work in highly-stressful seasons coordinating tower control and pilot communication. Able to help any airport have safe travel.

Effective professional summary

Air traffic controller with 6 years of experience controlling traffic in busy airport. Updated up to 10 aircraft with weather conditions while supervising aircraft movement. Managed 5 emergency landings averting runway accident.


Career objective

If you have not worked as an air traffic controller yet, then the best option for you is the career objective. As the name implies, this is used to tell the hiring manager what you intend to achieve by working in the company.

In the former days, career objectives would be used by candidates to communicate what they hoped to achieve—at a personal level. This would be along the lines of their career growth.

This quickly lost touch with employers as it implied that candidates were only out to benefit at the expense of the company. It is for this reason that career objectives became a turn-off for many hiring managers.

However, when used correctly, a career objective is a powerful tool. It shows that you have something to give and you know how to use it for the benefit of the company.

Check out the below examples.

Ineffective career objective

Freshly-graduated air traffic controller with flight coordination experience at Kansas International Airport. Skilled in aviation flight planning carrying out communications search and rescue processes.

Effective career objective

Air traffic controller with superb concentration abilities and experience coordinating flight routes. Maintained radio contact and transferred controls with up to 25 control towers daily with 100%. Looking for air traffic controller job to utilize high concentration and help maintain airport safety.


Work experience

Next comes the work experience section. This is a sure challenge for any air traffic controller who has no work experience. Some even opt to remove the section from their resumes while others boldly write “No work experience yet.”

Both of these options will ensure you remain job hunting. Just imagine what the hiring manager will think of you.

Have you really never done anything?

Most air traffic controllers looking for their first job think that this section requires experience from working in air traffic control.

That’s not true.

This section is about the skills you have accumulated from working anywhere. Whether it’s a restaurant down the street or a corporate organization. But just as with the summary and objective, whatever you write here should ideally show the change you brought about.

Also note that the contents of the summary and objective are usually highlights from the work experience section. For that reason, always write the summary or objective last. That will help you pick what stands out in your whole resume.

And just to be clear, it’s understandable that you can’t measure everything you do. So don’t struggle  adding numbers to everything you ever did. It’s not necessary.

Here is how to write your work experience if you haven’t done any air traffic control work before.

Wrong way of writing your work experience

Previous jobs done

  • Customer service
  • Volunteer work in the community
  • Freelance graphics design

Right way of writing your work experience

Customer Care Representative
La Mada Hotel, Houston, Texas
2013 – 2014

    • Took customer order over the phone and via email with 100% accuracy
    • Generated daily reports on booking data and customer engagement on social media platforms
    • Created PowerPoint presentations for marketing team


Did you notice that the second example included work not directly connected to air traffic control?

But even then, the accomplishments from that job have been presented in a way that says, “I learned something which I can apply here.”

If you’ve been working for some years as an air traffic controller, then this is going to be a bit easier. Just ensure that you list accomplishments and not duties and responsibilities.

The same expectation to use numbers in your work experience will apply.


For you to become an air traffic controller, the least you need in terms of education is a university degree. If that’s all you have, no problem. But if you have more, go ahead and list them.

Keep your list reading from the most recent to the oldest. This is what is referred to as the reverse chronological order and it’s what recruiters and hiring managers prefer.

It focuses on the most recent achievements which in most cases, are the most relevant.

When listing your degrees, note that you don’t have to just write the university, program and years. You can do something more, especially if you have no work experience.

Since you have the job ad as a guide to what the company expects, use it to your advantage. Connect some relevant coursework to the requirements in the job ad.

If you have air traffic control work experience, you don’t need to do this. But if you don’t have, then make sure you write your education in this way.

Wrong way of writing your education

BS in Air Traffic Management
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire
2015 – 2019

Right way of writing your education

BS in Air Traffic Management
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire
2015 – 2019
Relevant coursework

  • Airport and Airspace Capacity Management
  • Air Traffic Control Tower Operations
  • Airspace and Air Traffic Systems Management
  • Air Traffic Control Tower Operations



And lastly, you need to mention the skills you have which you think make you stand out. But don’t be too focused on standing out and mention skills which you don’t have. Lying in your resume is not a good idea.

And just as you did with the education section, check out the job description as per the job ad. Identify the skills required and if you have them or other related skills, list those first.

To help you with this, here is a list of skills common among air traffic controllers.

  • Stress resistance
  • Decision making
  • Spatial awareness
  • Math skills
  • Visual-motor coordination
  • Emotional stability
  • Excellent memory
  • Detail oriented
  • Flexibility
  • Multitasking
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Prioritization
  • Visualization
  • Concentration
  • Organization


You’ve seen how to write different sections of your resume to increase your chances of getting hired. Now we’ll show you how the advice fits together.

Below are the two sample air traffic controller resumes we promised. Go through them and see the difference for yourself.

Entry-level air traffic controller resume


Experienced air traffic controller resume



Can you see the message communicated by the sample resumes?

They tell a story of value addition. Even the entry-level air traffic controller’s resume shows that he has some history adding value to his former employers.

Use the above advice and tips to write a better resume which will make the hiring manager want to interview you.

Remember to use our resume templates to make it easy handling the resume format thus making your air traffic controller resume both beautiful and professional.

Air Traffic Controller Resume: Examples, Template, and Resume Tips

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