Working in Tourism: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting

If you are working — or keen to start working — in the tourism industry, here are some great tips for avoiding easily-made mistakes that might hamper you from getting the job you want and deserve.

Mistake #1: Settling for something you don’t enjoy

In today’s economy, it sometimes seems that getting any job is a blessing. But remember: tourism is an industry in which you can — and should — be passionate about what you are doing. So it would be a waste of skills and energy if you don’t end up in a job you are able to love.

What you can do: Be patient when looking for work. Consider each position and decide whether you would really want to do that kind of work for the next few years.

If you are not sure about what kind of job you would like, you can try job shadowing various professionals while you study or job hunt. When you pick a tourism or hospitality course to study, also make sure to choose a study programme that covers a range of different fields and experiences.

Waiting For Train

Mistake #2: Disqualifying yourself

Many job openings out there will ask of you to have certain skill sets, qualifications, and/or years of experience.You might feel discouraged and think that you don’t qualify for any of the jobs you really want.

What you can do: Most employers are willing to take a chance on a job candidate who shows potential and promise. Especially when it comes to the required years of experience, an employer might make an exception if he or she can see that you have confidence in your skills and knowledge.

Take the chance and apply for those jobs where you miss a few of the requirements. Write a compelling cover letter and sell yourself when you eventually get the interview.

Mistake #3: Sending out general résumés

A lot of people looking for work will say: “I sent out 100 CVs this month, and I haven’t heard back from any of the companies!” Perhaps, if that person focused on tailoring a few résumés to specific job openings, rather than sending them out in bulk, he or she would have gotten a few call-backs already.

What you can do: Look at each job ad carefully and take note of the specific things that they are looking for. How is this job different from the others advertised? And how can you adapt your CV to cater for these differences?

You should tailor your CV to fit the requirements of each job specifically. Leave out the things that are not relevant to the specific vacancy, and expand on sections that would matter.

Your cover letter is also a great place to talk about how you qualify for this particular job. Don’t just use a template — write something that is uniquely relevant to this position.

Mistake #4: Not doing your homework

One of the biggest off-putting factors in an interview is when a job candidate doesn’t really know anything about the company he/she is being interviewed by. Not doing your homework about the company before the interview is therefore a big mistake.

What you can do: Before going into an interview, or even replying to a job ad, read everything you can find about the company, their product, and the specific industry they are in.

Remember to browse through their social media profiles as well. This is a big part of corporate identity and will be the place where you will get the best feel for what the company is all about.

Mistake #5: Being flexible about your career

Maybe you have been working as a travel agent for a couple of years now and you are looking for a new job. Since there might be a lot of travel agent jobs out there —have you ever thought about looking for something else instead?

What you can do: A lot of the knowledge and skills in the tourism industry are transferrable, and you should look beyond your narrow professional field for other jobs that you might be qualified for. You might find your true calling, without even knowing you were looking for it!

Working in Tourism

More tips on how to find a job in the tourism industry

A great way to expand your professional skillset, and qualify for a wider range of jobs, is to take a part-time skills development course. This is a great way to study and develop your CV while working, or looking for work.

Oxbridge Academy, one of South Africa’s leading distance learning colleges, offers a diverse range of tourism and hospitality courses that you can study on a part-time basis from home. To find out more about these courses, you can visit this link.

Already qualified or looking for a different position in this field? Check out the latest tourism jobs on Job Mail.

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2 Responses

  1. Jabulani says:

    This is eye opening… grateful.

  2. Jabulani says:


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