Gayle Walsh is president of the Travel Staffing Group.
Travel Market Report heard from several frustrated job-seekers after a recent article about the difficulties leisure travel agencies are having finding experienced travel professionals.
“This situation is a bit comical. There are thousands of highly qualified travel consultants looking for jobs,” one wrote.
Jennifer Walker, CTA, a travel agent in Washington, Ill., said, “I’d like to know where all of these travel jobs are that need to be filled.” Walker went on to ask for advice. Here’s an edited excerpt of her letter, followed by my response.
Q. I’m a 43-year old CTA who can’t find a great job. I have two college degrees, a Travel & Tourism Specialist certificate and Sabre training. I have a great work ethic and positive work history. I took time out to be a stay-at-home mom and am trying to start a new career. I’m currently home-based, working for a semi-retired agent and giving up most of the commission to him. Local brick & mortar agencies aren’t hiring. Host agencies rarely allow new agents to live more than a specified distance from their home agency, and they don’t appear to be paying commissions equal to or better than what I’m already making, which is very little. What would the experts suggest I do next?
A. First and foremost, when job seekers are not receiving calls from recruiters, we believe the best approach is to examine your strengths and weaknesses.
Afterwards, review your resume and reflect on whether or not it portrays you! If not, craft a resume that best reflects you. Often while the strengths are there, the resume fails to properly articulate them.
Remember, your resume is the key that opens the door to a face-to-face interview.
Here are additional ideas to take into consideration:
1. If you cannot articulate your skills on paper effectively, don’t attempt to.
Resume writers are proficient in creating and writing resumes that will get you in the door. This is what they do for a living and they are usually quite good at it.
2. Be smart when posting on social media, because the backlash can be devastating.
Always be careful about how you communicate on the web; there is a record for everything you say. A simple search by an employer who enters your name can return a wealth of information you wouldn’t want anyone to see. Any negative posts disparaging a previous workplace or embarrassing pictures can haunt you in the hiring process
3. Dress the part and listen well.
Body language and appearance are some of the first things people see and react to – before the interview even starts! Refrain from spewing out your life story and talking endlessly about yourself. Instead, make a mental note that the conversation’s back-and-forth should be even. You need to listen just as much as you talk.
4. Before the interview, research the company you are interviewing with.
A well-informed applicant who asks the right questions can be the deciding factor in who gets the job. Understanding your prospective employer’s mission statement and type of business shows your knowledge and enthusiasm.
5. Find out what you need to know.
Your time is just as valuable as your potential employer’s. Don’t waste your time on a second interview, only to find out the compensation isn’t what you expected. If the hirer doesn’t mention the compensation package, make sure to ask for – and get – a solid number for the rate of pay and the benefits offered.
Gayle Walsh has been in the travel industry since 1983. She is the founder of Personnel Travel Consultants, LLC, and Personnel Travel Temps, LLC, which provide professional permanent and temporary staff to small and large travel agencies and corporate travel departments. She created The Travel Staffing Group, LLC, in 2007.
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