There is little doubt that securing a good job nowadays is tough - and it is unlikely to get any easier in the future. Of course, this applies to travel agent jobs just as much as it does to positions in any other industry. It is therefore important to recognise that, if the idea of working in the travel business appeals to you, you need to seriously think about developing a personal strategy to get you ahead of the competition.
The first thing to grasp is that you're in a competitive situation. Good travel agent jobs are always in demand and it is very unlikely that you will be the only applicant. You therefore need to think carefully about what you can do to try and give yourself an advantage, however marginal, over others that may be applying for the same job. It hopefully goes without saying that, as a basic start, any application you submit must be faultlessly typed and written using excellent grammar.
Assuming that you have no previous experience of working in travel agents, when someone is reading your application, one of the first things that may catch their eye are the academic qualifications. Travel agent jobs come at various seniority levels, but if you are new to the field then you will probably be applying for a trainee position.
Trainee positions in the travel business typically do not have a set of mandatory requirements for academic qualifications at entry - although that may vary depending upon the agent concerned and their individual recruitment policies. But there are certain things that they will be looking for as a way of trying to assess an applicant's initial aptitude:
- reasonable grade GCSEs in English and geography;
- preferably similar in mathematics and perhaps business studies.
You may help your application stand out above others if you have taken additional study courses in the travel and leisure business. Some colleges offer full or part-time courses in these areas that can lead to BTEC / HNC level qualifications. There are also now universities that offer degrees (BA) in travel management that are certified and recognised by the ITM (Institute of Travel and Meetings), which is an important forum for business travellers.
Of course, no qualification, in itself, can guarantee you success in your search for travel agent jobs. They may, though, communicate something about your attitude, interest, aptitude and commitment - and that may get you noticed by potential employers.
Whatever your academic qualifications, in your initial application and interview little will create a better impression than knowledge. Prior to even your initial application, it would be highly advisable to spend some time researching the potential employer on the Internet. Find out about how the business works, what are the major markets it operates in, what its plans are for the future, and as much as you can about the specific office you are applying to. Once again, this communicates to your potential employer both interest and proactive engagement. Such little things might make all the difference in your search for travel agent jobs.