Getting your CV right…

The best travel and tourism jobs attract masses of applicants, so it’s important that you get your CV right to be in with a chance of getting your dream job.

If your travel curriculum vitae still resembles the outdated list of educational establishments, exam grades and employers, and does not reflect the nature of the Travel and Tourism business or your experience within it, the chances are, it will not get you the job you’re after.

What is the recruiter looking for?

Your CV will form a basis for discussion at the interview. The recruiter will have two primary objectives when meeting you. He or she (or even they, if it’s a panel interview), will need to consider the following two issues:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you fit in?

Can you do the job?

This question is normally asked by recruiters assessing your skills and experience to date. They may also set tests and ask technical or travel-based questions.

If possible, include a travel profile. In your profile, you’ll need to be specific so list where you’ve been, how long for and what type of travelling was involved. For example, was it an extensive backpacking tour, or perhaps a cruise or have you become a connoisseur of European city breaks? Employers may be willing to take on someone who needs further training, if they have a strong passion for travel.

Be clear about your achievements and use examples in figures, where possible. Also, be sure to make a note and mention software you have used. If you have attended events that you feel are relevant or have any work experience relevant to the role, be sure to mention this too.

Be specific about what you already do with reference to the job ad. Are you a holiday rep? Are you good with numbers and dealing with foreign exchange? Do you speak particular languages? Do you have experience as an account manager? Spell it out for them and make it crystal clear.

Will you fit in?

The question “Will you fit in?” is harder to answer. ‘Fitting in’ is particularly important in many positions in the Travel and Tourism industry. Your hobbies and interests will provide a clue, but only mention these when prompted and without going into too much detail.

To overcome the ‘Will you fit in?’ question, try starting your CV with a personal profile, two or three sentences long is an acceptable length. Be sure to emphasise your best assets by summarising the top three attributes you think that employers want to see. If your most relevant experience is not from your most recent job, this is your opportunity to make sure it still comes to the recruiter’s attention.

Use a targeted CV

Your CV is a vital part of your success, so make your CV relevant and competitive.

The best approach is to tailor-write each CV to meet the needs of the position you are applying for. So try to write your CV with the job and position in mind. Outline details of your experience, education (including any qualifications e.g. a HND in Travel and Tourism) and skills to show what you have accomplished and tailor the information accordingly to suit the role. Make sure your CV mentions any added factors that the employer has asked for, such as being ‘fluent in Italian’.

Be aware of the ideal person the employer is looking for and try matching your CV as closely as possible to a basic imaginary profile of that individual. Adopting this style will, by its nature, mean that you are likely to need a number of versions of your CV, which you should adapt accordingly.

Become a master in CV writing

A good CV tip is to create a CV master file, including any details which may be relevant to many applications. Print this out and then use red ink to customise it to the particular position you are applying for, before re-keying and printing the new document.

CV appearance

Your CV should always be typed using a computer, never handwritten. Be sure to check for mistakes once printed and make sure you amend and re-print if you spot any errors.

Choose your font carefully. Whether you post, e-mail or fax your CV, keep your font plain and easy to read. Use a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana, not Times New Roman or Comic Sans MS. Also, select a reasonable font size. Anywhere between 10 and 12 points should be acceptable. Microsoft seems to have settled on 10 point Arial as their default font in most of their applications. Also, consider 1.5 line spacing to help make it easier to read (though this may compromise how much you can enter within the recommended 2-side limit).

Too many different fonts, colours or graphic styles will irritate the reader. Simple bullets are best for separating points; use bold and italics sparingly. Formatting should emphasise your accomplishments, not draw attention away from them. If you want your CV to stand out, keep it brief, stick to facts, and put down the information the employer wants to read.

Be honest…

The essential thing to remember when writing your CV is to be honest. It might seem a good idea at the time to concoct a few qualifications or embellish your work experience but as a result your new employer in the Travel and Tourism industry may have a higher expectation of your ability. Therefore, it is much better to be honest, but to show that you are willing to learn.

Many job seekers in the sector inflate their CVs by providing false or exaggerated information, ranging from innocent omissions to blatant lies. The most common lies discovered on CVs in the Travel and Tourism industry include: skills and experiences claimed, areas travelled, dates of employment, educational qualifications, job titles, and previous salaries earned.

There is considerable evidence to show that employers in the Travel and Tourism industry who receive falsified applications do not employ the candidates involved. Even the slightest embellishment can destroy your credibility. If you’re concerned about the thinness of your academic background, lack of skills required by a position you want, or time gaps in your CV, invention is not your way out. Your sins will catch you up in the interview! Use your cover letter tactically to extend your CV, focusing on your strengths and achievements explaining any areas of concern if needed.

Use active verbs

Employ verbs in the active assertion (“I did X” instead of “X was done”). Use strong action verbs to emphasise your job experience and duties. Instead of starting your sentence with a noun, kick-off with an active verb, for example: I developed…, I supervised…, I enjoyed…

Watch your use of jargon

Consider carefully your use of technical language. Most positions in the Travel and Tourism industry have abbreviations attached to them. For example, PAX – passenger, SV – sea view, SSV – side sea view, pppn – per person per night, etc. When completing a CV it can be difficult to know whether you should use this technical jargon yourself. The use of jargon may demonstrate to an employer that you understand the job well enough to be comfortable with its terminology. However, the over-use of technical language can be perceived as a little pretentious. It’s best to take clues from the job advert or job description. If the employer has used ‘common words’ to describe technical elements in the role, then it is a good idea to follow their lead and stick to simplified language.

Buzzwords won’t help your image. Don’t use buzzword-driven statements to describe yourself and your achievements, for example; ‘I am a dynamic, self-motivated, forward-thinking games organiser’. Too many of these are stale and unsubstantiated. Put yourself in the position of the tired employer reading through dozens and dozens of CVs. You can be sure they will grow tired of reading such statements very quickly!

Don’t slip up on your spelling. Ensure that your spelling, grammar, and syntax are correct! This is a vital requirement! Spelling mistakes on a CV are unacceptable and show lack of care, even negligence. If you can’t put together a simple CV with the advantage of modern software spell-checks, then how are you going to perform on the job? Candidates are likely to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to spelling. ‘I worked in a busty bar’ or ‘my previous reception manager was god to me’ would not go down well.

CV tips:

Buzzwords are out

Use technical language and jargon sparingly

Proof-read and spell-check your CV, we all make mistakes

Get your foot in the door before other applicants. Apply quickly

Make sure to read the job ad carefully. It may give you important clues

Get your foot in the door first. Apply for a job early

Will my HND in travel and tourism improve my CV?

Travel and tourism remains one of the most sought after industries to obtain work. The sector welcomes able and confident candidates to fill the many vacancies that are always occurring. An Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management (as can be obtained at UKCBC), is a strong plus. However, candidates seeking work also have to present themselves to employees, they need to create their own ‘shop window’. A well-structured, well presented and relevant CV will do just that!

Continue reading more articles on careers

For further information on handy tips, articles, industry relevant news and general insight for your career, follow the UKCBC blog on careers. Also, if you are interested in learning more about studying for a HND in Travel and Tourism, contact our team on 020 8518 4994. Our friendly team is here to answer your questions about any of our HND Courses in London and Essex.

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