A lot of people seem to underestimate how difficult it is to become a flight attendant. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to apply to your local airlines. In fact, it can take months or even years before an applicant can even step foot inside the cabin. There are thousands of people in the world who want that dream career of being paid to go from continent to continent, so the recruitment process is hard regardless of what airlines you’re applying for.
Slow Return of Flights
Despite airlines having large layoffs due to decreased flights, a study by Skytra, Airbus’s airline-data subsidiary, shows that bookings are starting to pick up, and people are planning to fly again by the end of the year. For example, Europe has already taken the first step to open its regional borders to essential travel.
While international travel for leisure purposes remains uncertain, domestic tourism would be the first to recover says the United Nations World Tourism Organization. They also predict that leisure travel will bounce back faster than business travel. Building trust in airlines and cabin crews would be the first step in regaining confidence in the air travel industry.
Though the recovery will be slow, the airline industry would still need a regular supply of flight attendants as they are one of the employees that help ensure that safety protocols are followed. However, there is the chance that airlines would be hiring fewer flight attendants and make the already competitive career even more difficult to get into.
If you want to get into the more coveted international airlines, that would mean competing with hundreds of thousands of applicants. For instance, Delta Airlines has an acceptance rate of less than one percent, so applicants really need to work to get their resumes noticed. To those seeking this line of work in the future, here are things you can do right now to improve your chances in the future when the virus has subsided.
A Good Resume/CV
While it’s good to have a lot of skills and experience, it’s important to present in the most concise way possible. Studies show that recruiters spend an average of seven seconds browsing your resume. Thus, multiple-page resumes won’t guarantee your success.
You only have a small window to get their attention, so make the most of that seven seconds by highlighting your top skills first. Start with your accomplishments and any work experience that highlights your customer service skills.
Lastly, make sure the format and layout of your resume is readable. If you’re aiming to shorten your resume to just one page, don’t make the font size so small that recruiters have to squint to read.
Just because you didn’t get into the airlines of your dreams, doesn’t mean the end for you. It’s actually quite common for flight attendants to spend a few years in one airline to build their reputation before applying to a better one. Also, make sure you expand your network while working for other airlines as well.
Experience can be unrelated to being a flight attendant as long as it shows that you can work with different people, such as being a front desk receptionist or retail worker. Aside from that, careers that showcase safety and medical training such nursing or firefighting would be a good advantage.
According to a US study, 82 percent of hiring managers prefer applicants with voluntary work experience, and 84 percent believe that it shows strong character. If you’re fresh out of college or just starting out in your career, adding volunteer work can make a huge difference.
Your experiences doing voluntary work teaches valuable interpersonal skills that can be useful in your career. It allows you to interact with people of different walks of life and is another way of showcasing your community service skills.
Flight attendants undergo rigorous training even after they have been accepted into the airlines. While airlines do have their FAs undergo training before flying, having the skills beforehand will improve your chances and make your training a lot easier.
Certifications are a great way to show off your training. Basic first aid, CPR, and survival training are just a few that you can start with. Similarly, listing past jobs that involve these kinds of training is another way you improve your chances.
Communication is vital in a flight attendant’s career. From the moment you get interviewed up until you’re already working in the skies, you need excellent public speaking skills. At the very least, you need to master English and whatever the local language where you are based in.
In addition, bilingualism would be a huge advantage to your applications. There are airlines that don’t require bilingualism, but most international airlines strongly prefer those fluent in what are considered as major languages. In Air Canada, one of the requirements is to speak both English and French. For Delta and United Airlines, applicants who speak Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, or Mandarin are the most in-demand.
Good First Impression
If you want to be a flight attendant, part of your job is to look presentable and well-kept from head to toe. One way you can highlight your grooming skills is through your appearance when you first step into an interview.
For your make-up, make sure that it looks clean, simple, and discreet. The same goes for your hair. For initial interviews, business attire is the standard, and don’t leave more than one button open for your tops. Shoes should be polished, with heels not too high or too low. Stick to neutral colours, and avoid loud colours for your attire.
Flight Attendant Education
The minimum requirements for flight attendants is a high school diploma, but there are airlines who only hire those who have taken college courses. Preferably, it should be relevant to the airline industry such as communications, public relations, tourism, and hospitality. Nowadays, there are specialized flight attendant programs that incorporate hospitality and tourism management courses, which you can use in other careers in case you don’t become an FA right away.
Eton College offers a highly specialized flight attendant program that is tailored to meet the needs and standards of airline industries. The program has produced several graduates who have gone off to fly internationally with Air Canada and Cathay Pacific.