Saturday, July 23, 2016

How To Be Crew

People I know (and people I haven' met before) are keen on asking me "How did you apply as a Flight Attendant?" or "Please share with us your experience." and "Can you give us any tips or advice?" And I can go on rambling from my love for airplanes and flying and traveling and the whole actual application process (which differs from airline to airline, and I can't speak on behalf of the company) But I'm glad to share with you my very own journey :) Which is as timely as it can get since I have just completed one year with my company (Yay!) and the recently concluded Skytrax Airline Awards at the Farnborough Airshow - where we maintained at the Top 10 World's Best Airlines of 2016 (Yay!) I too wanna say Mabrouk! to our neighbour in Dubai for winning this year's Skytrax!

I think I finally got the urge to write this one after watching the movie "Get A Job" starring Anna Kendrick and Miles Teller :) Here are some "practical" things I did (which I think) have helped me land a career in Aviation:

1. Research
Without us knowing, most airliners are continuously hiring! Continuously. From Cabin Crew, to Ground Staff, to Customer Service Reps - basically a position that requires manpower. The thing is we have to know where, when and how to apply. In my previous job, I had the luxury of time to spend the whole day online researching and sneaking for interviews (haha!) And read. Read a little something about the company you're applying for.
Most companies nowadays rely on their website for an online application process wherein you have to set up an account on their 'Careers' section, completed with your personal details, educational attainment, work experience etc. etc. before they actually contact you for a face-to-face interview.

I have made dozens of accounts on online job search engines (think LinkedIn) and still get emails for job listings 'til this day. I've had 4 active accounts in 4 different airline websites where I used to check their schedule for an 'Open Day' or Recruitment Event in a particular city. There are also third-party websites or blogs that post hiring events for Cabin Crew (like this and this). I have found out about the recruitment event for the company I work for now on a Facebook ad and just went for it!

2. Prepare
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare! No airline (or any company for that matter) would give second thoughts in choosing someone with incomplete requirements and someone who is, needless to say - late. By the time you've arrived, you're already out. I've seen it. This industry has just so much time and the competition is just too high that a little slip might be a setback on your application. With that, you may also only reapply 6 months after your first application, so make your initial approach a well-prepared one.

And by 'prepare', I also mean 'dress the part'. You are applying in a Customer Service and Hospitality Industry as well. A pleasant personality and professional demeanour is what they're looking for. Especially being based here in the Middle East, we must bare in mind to be conservative on what we wear and be refined on our actions. For the ladies - keep the hair neat and tidy, wear make-up that enhances your already-good-features, a good-fitting blazer, a pencil skirt (which length is below the knees) always looks professional and finally put on corporate heels (No pumps or peep-toes please!) For the gents - keep the hair neat and tidy, wear a good-fitting suit and tie, well-tailored trousers and shine your shoes. For both - keep a good hygiene and the smile! 

3. Be Confident
Probably the best (and most cliché) advice anyone could ever receive. But it's true. Be confident in who you are and how you express yourself. Confidence is something that only comes from within but is something that can be dulled by outside 'forces' if you let it. What was most intimidating from my experience is knowing that I'm sharing a room with so many pretty, tall girls (and others with flying experience under their belts) from all over the world. And hey, I'm not very tall, but it wasn't just the height that mattered. How do I make myself standout from the rest? They are looking for the whole package. But don't try to impress. You'd only have a minute to introduce yourself to the recruiters and say exactly what you want to say (and mean it!) So be confident, stay positive and you'll shine.

4. Ask Questions
Nothing is more interesting than someone who shows interest and being engaged. Ask questions when in doubt and be engaged especially in group activities when you reach the Assessments Stage. Join forums or ask people who are already in the industry (without being too annoying). During my 'Waiting Game', I have found this online Cabin Crew forum so helpful and comforting knowing there are other Cabin Crew hopefuls like me! I got to ask people of their experience and read their shared stories. I also received very helpful tips when I needed one of my online applications to be unlocked for me to be able to reapply again. That took me a while to figure out. I also unbelievably made friends with the girl I spoke to and we operated a flight together to Manila! Visit the cabin crew community here!

5. Have Patience
Truth be told, my patience was tested to the brim of me! The 'Waiting Game' slowly drained my trust and put me in doubt that I cried myself to sleep, painfully waiting... It really took some time before the company reached back to me and I had to do all the follow-ups for months. Most airlines would have to keep you waiting (sometimes with no reason) because the application is really a long and tedious process. Which involves waiting for visas to be approved, waiting for a batch to open and the list goes on... I'm so glad my recruitment coordinator was patient enough to respond to my emails. I also realized that you cannot get a thing you want at once. You know, great things take time. So please, please, kapit lang and have patience! 

6. Never Stop
If there is some truth about me achieving the things I want to achieve, it's because I never stopped.  I never stop for them. Really. I was rejected a couple of times that even my family and my Mom were telling me off to let things go, to not expect too much and just redirect my energy to something else. But I tried and I tried so hard. And me being matigas ang ulo, couldn't stop myself from things that make me feel alive. See?! A little bit of crazy, impatience and hard-headedness can take you places.

7. Pray
Nothing is made more wonderful than in God's time.