Internal Referrals and Your Cover Letter
Write the opening sentence in a manner similar to these examples:
"Tom Allen mentioned that you may have some need for Saab 340 First Officers. With over 3 years flying Part 135 freight in multi-engine Metroliners, I..."
"Acme Air Captain Bill Hendall suggested to me that I submit a resume, as hiring at your company might be commencing soon. I am thus eagerly applying in the hopes of becoming an Acme Air B-737 new-hire first officer."
"Acme Air marketing assistant Jill Smith informed me that you are presently interviewing for Fall pilot new-hire classes and suggested I contact you."
As you can see in the above examples, we used the referral's name to highlight the connection to the pilot recruiter. This is a very effective way of getting attention drawn to your resume.
Of course, you must contact the insider and make sure that the name-drop is OK with him or her. Do not introduce the name of somebody that's merely a met-one-time acquaintance, lest the truth comes out in your interview.
In sum, do not be afraid to mention a contact within the airline when you're drafting the cover letter. Rather, address this person right up front in your opening sentence-- given their permission. Your cover letter will be off to a great start.