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Taking the leap into a new career: here's how to pursue a job in travel

In Australia, like the rest of the world, changing careers at various points over a lifetime is common.

The Foundation for Young Australians reports that for young people, "It's more likely that a 15-year-old today will experience a portfolio career, potentially having 17 different jobs over five careers in their lifetime".


Senior employees, too, are changing careers midlife. One reason for this is that people in Australia are retiring later - the average retirement age has risen from 64 to 65.6 for men, and from 61.8 to 64.2 for women.


For many people, the travel industry holds particular appeal because it is, in many ways, an open door into unchartered territory. Is a career in travel right for you? If so, what considerations should you keep in mind?



How financially attractive is a career in travel?

It is important to compare your current earnings to those earned by a professional in the travel sector, where there are a wide variety of jobs from which to choose.


Just a few examples include a travel agent (earning between $34,200 and $115,000 per year), a travel publicist (around $61,000), and a cruise ship director (in the region of $205,000).


All of these salaries vary depending on your experience and the company you work for, but they give you a rough idea of whether you can afford to change professions at this moment in your life. 


What skills will you need to hone? 

To gain a good idea of the skills you need to sharpen or obtain before applying for a job in travel, check out current job postings in the industry and identify gaps in your CV.


If you worked in travel many years ago and are thinking of this industry to make a professional change later in life, you may find that many things have changed - particularly in terms of technology.


Today, the travel industry is relying on an array of new technology ranging from augmented reality to big data analysis. Obtaining the qualifications you need, researching the specific qualifications that are required in your chosen area, and keeping your current job until you are ready to take the big leap, will ensure your financial security remains intact.


Building a network 

Join networks and associations for people working in the travel industry. Joining weekly breakfasts or going to regular talks will enable you to get your ‘feelers’ out there to assess how attractive a change is.


Networking will also help you identify new positions in the industry that may suit your experience and skill base. Remember to use online apps and sites such as LinkedIn to connect with leaders in the travel industry. Give them feedback, send them a message, and inquire about your suitability for their respective organisations. You may be surprised to learn that they need someone from your speciality. Sometimes, making a change does not mean throwing away your experience, but rather, using it in a setting you have always wanted to work in.


It never is too late to change professions, with research showing that employees in Australia change their career paths several times throughout their lives. Before investing in further education or sending your CV out, try to identify gaps in your knowledge or experience, so you can create a sound strategy to build a more complete resume. Finally, build a network in the travel industry, both in person and online.


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Written by: Sabrina Johnson
Published: 3 June 2020

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