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  • Last Updated: 07th July 2014

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Travel and tourism graduate advice

If you’re interested in a career in the travel and tourism industry, Netflights are here to offer information and tips about getting involved in a highly competitive sector. Tourism is a big industry worldwide, and provides around two million jobs in the UK alone. It’s a hugely popular sector - therefore to optimise your chances of landing the job of your dreams, Netflights.com has provided some insider knowledge.

Advice for graduates

Jobs and work placements in the travel and tourism sector are highly sought after, and may only be advertised for a short time. Keep an eye on websites which specialise in travel and remember to check regularly to see if they’re looking for any staff. It may also be good to check their official blog, as some companies often announce openings through that medium.
Checking with your local Careers Centre or Careers staff if you’re still at school or university is also a good idea; they may have contacts within companies already or may be able to put you in touch with local, smaller businesses.
There’s also no harm in sending prospective applications off to companies even if they’re not advertising vacancies! Writing a well composed and interesting opening letter followed by an up to date CV shows you have initiative and are passionate about the industry, so it’s worth a try.

Five tips when applying

  • Take your time and read the questions. There’s nothing worse than having to scribble out what you’ve already written due to misunderstanding the question, so take your time and check you understand exactly what’s being asked.
  • Use appropriate language and grammar. If you’re worried about your spelling or punctuation, write out your answers as a draft first and get someone to check it – and then fill in the form.
  • Sell yourself. If you went travelling in Australia and that’s what has ignited your passion for working in the industry – say so! Employers recognise true enthusiasm and will respond positively.
  • Read the job description. It’s the best way of working out what kind of person the company is looking for and therefore, the best way of deciding which of your talents to showcase.
  • Check before you send! It’s always annoying when your application is rejected because you forgot to include your references phone number or you put the wrong job reference down. Check at least three times before you submit to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.

Interview technique

If your application is successful and you’re invited to interview, the first thing to remember is – don’t panic. You’ve been selected because the company thought you were qualified to do the job and found your application interesting – so you have every reason to go into the interview feeling confident. Make sure you’re sensible – wear smart clothing, arrive with plenty of time and don’t drink so much coffee that you feel jittery! Remember to turn off your mobile phone before you arrive. If possible, practice both your interview and the journey you’ll need to take to get there before the day – that way you can feel more secure of arriving on time and stress free. If you filled in an application form or sent in a CV, take a copy with you to remind yourself of what you said to avoid repeating the same information.

In order to create the best first impression on your interviewers, arrive early and take a few moments to compose yourself and ensure that you look both smart and confident. Having a good interview manner is important to ensure that you’re remembered for the right reasons, so make sure you come across as enthusiastic but mature. A good firm handshake is the best way to introduce yourself to whoever is interviewing you; it shows that you’re professional but also engaged. If you are being interviewed by more than one person, shake all of their hands. Similarly, if there are a number of people involved in the interview process try and ensure that you direct your answer to everyone, and not just the person asking the question. Sitting upright (not slouching or leaning back on your chair) is important, as is keeping eye contact with the person talking to you.

It’s also a good idea to do some research on the person who will be speaking to you before the interview; knowing their name and job title means you can impress them with your background knowledge of the company. If there are a number of people in the interview, when introduced make an effort to remember their names; addressing them by directly by name will help them remember you positively. Be careful not to talk too much – ensure that you have answered the question asked and give clear examples of times you have used your skills in the past. Once the interview is over, thank everyone for their time and shake their hands when leaving; staying professional even if you feel the interview has gone badly is good practice when trying to find a job.

When in the interview, it’s acceptable to stop and think before answering a question – potential employers would rather have a reasoned answer to a question than a hasty, unprepared one. Remember, while qualifications are important, it’s just as essential to show your unique experience. Focus on customer service experience, organisation skills, verbal communication and negotiating. These are all key skills for those in the travel industry, so if you can show when and how you’ve used them in the past, this will stand you in good stead! You may be asked to give information about a destination that you’ve enjoyed seeing – if so, be confident and positive. This will show you can discuss travel with others – a key way of building effective relationships within the industry!

Getting a response

If you’ve completed your interview, you should hear back from the company fairly soon afterwards to find out if they’re interested in offering you a position – ask at the interview when you’re likely to find out. If you receive a response saying that you haven’t got the job, calming and politely ask if they have any feedback on what you could improve on – write this down for your next attempt! Also, keep a note of places you have applied – both so you know yourself and also because some employers ask if you have applied for a different job within the company before.

Ideal candidates

The ideal candidate for a company in the travel / tourism sector isn’t necessarily one who has a Tourism degree! While related qualifications (Travel and Tourism, Hospitality, Management etc) are all useful, if you’ve got a passion for travel, organisation and helping others, then that’s a good start. Showing your enthusiasm is always good; if you write a travel blog or have travelled in the past make sure you mention it when applying. Having experience in Customer Service arenas is good, but not essential – but make sure you have a professional and comfortable telephone manner, which will always prove useful.

Graduate jobs at Netflights

As already mentioned, the travel industry is very fast moving and positions within big companies are often snapped up very quickly! Due to this, Netflights don’t run a graduate programme – choosing instead to advertise job vacancies when they become available. However, the best chance of getting a job at Netflights is to keep an eye on the website and local press to see if there are any current vacancies. Good Luck!

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