How to get a job in tourism (without any experience)
Considering a career in tourism? Now could be the perfect time…
If you’re looking for a job outside of the typical 9 to 5, or a role that involves meeting people and giving them an experience they’ll never forget, then working in tourism could be for you.
The tourism industry covers a wide variety of areas – including theme parks, hotels, travel agents, airport staff and much more. And many roles may not even require previous experience in the sector to get started.
Here are some tips to help you get your foot in the door:
Tailor your CV
Employers spend an average of seven seconds looking at your CV. This isn’t a lot of time to persuade them that you’re the right person for the job. If you want to stand out from the other candidates, you’ve got to spend time tailoring your CV to the job.
Even without tourism experience, you’ll have transferable skills that are of value. Examples of desirable transferable skills for tourism employers include teamwork, communication, listening and leadership. But there are many others that could help fit the bill.
To demonstrate transferable skills on your CV, first spend time looking through the job spec so you’re familiar with the skills and attributes the employer wants. Then, think back to times when you demonstrated these skills. For example, a job advert for an assistant role says you’ll be part of a group managing the queue for rides. This is teamwork – so on your CV highlight examples of when you’ve worked as part of a team effectively.
Get experience in a different industry
The idea of getting a job that’s not in the tourism industry may seem like a step backward. But it isn’t. It could just be a sidewards step to your future career.
If you have little or no work history, getting a job in another industry first will provide you with experience to list on your CV. It also gives you something to talk about in an interview. If you know what type of tourism job you want, search for a job in an industry that uses similar skills. If you want to work as a travel agent, for example, a job that involves communicating in-person or over the phone (such as a a customer service role) would be a great way to demonstrate the right skills on your CV
It may also be possible to get experience and gain new skills in your current job. If you think it is, speak to your manager and ask if you can take on additional responsibilities. Another option could be asking your employer if it’s possible to do a secondment to another department to help build practical experience in that field.
Use your connections
As well as focusing your search on sites like reed.co.uk, try speaking to people you know to see if they know of any jobs in tourism. You may not think it, but friends, family, neighbours, ex-colleagues and even school or college teachers can be a great source of referrals.
Send them an email listing your skills and explaining the type of job you’re looking for. And attach a copy of your up-to-date CV – just in case they can forward to their contacts who may have a job opening.
People you know less well may also be happy to help you find a job. If you’ve got a profile on a professional networking site, write a post explaining that you’re looking for a job in tourism and would appreciate any leads. If you’re connected to people who work in tourism, send them a professional email asking if they have any vacancies.
Having volunteering experience listed on your CV looks good – and it also helps businesses that may not have the budget to hire staff permanently.
If you’ve volunteered in the past (whether it’s with a tourism business or not), definitely detail this on your CV. You can choose to list it under the Employment section or create a separate section called Volunteering.
If you haven’t volunteered before, but are interested in doing so, consider looking for vacancies with local or small tourism businesses and organisations. These places don’t have the hiring budget of larger companies and will welcome your time and skills.
Embed yourself in the community
The tourism industry is made up of many passionate people, and this passion has led to several tourism-focused groups being created.
You should be able to find tourism-focused groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, although even a quick Google search may bring up details of some. Sites like Eventbrite and Meetup are good starting points to search for online and in-person networking events and meetups.
Groups are made up of people with a range of experience and knowledge. This makes them an ideal place for someone with no experience to get tips on how to land a tourism job. Not to mention you can expand your network of tourism professionals. Actively taking part in discussions, asking questions and liking and commenting on others posts will show your intent on working in the industry. It may even get you noticed by an employer.
Back your skills up with a course
It isn’t always enough to say you have the right skills. You actually need to put them into practice.
Getting yourself certified will help back up your attributes, not to mention expand your knowledge of the tourism sector in general. There are lots of different tourism courses out there, specialising in everything from travel agency and hotel operations, through to adventure training and airport management.
And don’t panic if you’re on a budget or tight on time. With a wide range of discounted courses available, both online and classroom-based, there’s something out there to suit everyone.
You just need to take a chance on yourself.
Good entry level jobs in tourism
To help you get started and put this advice into action, here are some great entry level jobs in tourism you could apply for:
You may not need any previous experience to apply for these roles, as on-the-job training will generally be provided. As a result, having the right skills – and the right mindset – could be enough to help set you apart and help you start on your dream tourism career.
Want to work in tourism? View all available tourism jobs now.