The best travel jobs attract hundreds of applicants, so it has never been more important to get your CV right.

Stand out - follow our tips on writing a good travel industry CV

And if your travel curriculum vitae still resembles the traditional list of educational establishments, exam grades and employers, the chances are it is not helping you get the job.

So what do travel employers really want to see on your CV?

According to C&M Travel Recruitment  sales manager Barbara Kolosinska, it’s all about experience. She said: “Travel industry experience is more important than qualifications. It’s important to put qualifications down but they definitely should not be first on your CV.”

Details of where you have been travelling are often forgotten but can give an otherwise average CV the wow factor. New Frontiers senior recruitment consultant Jose Cofone said: “One CV we had recently was quite weak, then I noticed in the covering e-mail the guy mentioned he had travelled extensively – he’d been to 70 countries around the world and he hadn’t put that in.”

The other thing employers want to see is specific details of your previous job and achievements. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the person reading your CV will automatically know what your previous job involves – he or she might be in the company’s HR department with limited specialist industry knowledge.
And however well you match their requirements, you will not get an interview if your key attributes are missed off or buried half way down your CV.

Discovery Selection director Jane Reeves said employers want to see immediately  whether you match the criteria they are looking for. If they don’t see this straight away, your application will be catapulted into the “no” pile and they will move on to the next one.

So it is vital you know what the employer wants, be it knowledge of South America or experience of a particular bookings system, and make sure they cannot miss it. Otherwise, you may be simply wasting your time.

Ten tips for the perfect travel industry CV

1. Tailor your CV for each application to make it fit that employer’s requirements as closely as possible.

For example, if an advert asks for experience selling to Peru and Colombia, make sure your CV mentions those counties by name rather than saying South America.

Find out more about the company by visiting their website and make sure you include anything relevant to their business.

2. Start with a profile two or three sentences long. Be sure to emphasise your best assets by summarising the top three attributes you think that employer wants to see. If your most relevant experience is not from your most recent job, this is your chance to make sure it still comes to the employer’s attention.

3. Include a travel profile. Be specific: list where you’ve been, for how long and what type of travelling it was – was it an extensive backpacking tour or have you become a connoisseur of European beach breaks or cruises?

Employers may be willing to take on someone who needs further training but who can show a passion for travel.

4. Be specific about what you do. Do you do ticketing, or do you specialise in a certain type of holiday? Do you work to targets? What is the turnover of the account you manage? Spell it out.

5. Be clear about your achievements and use concrete examples with figures. For a sales role, put down what your targets were in your past job, whether you achieved or exceeded them, if so by how much and for how long. If you were salesperson of the month for eight months running, say so.

6. Include any relevant extra skills, such as foreign languages or ability to use a global distribution system.

7. Get the basics right. Don’t make spelling and grammar errors, and make the layout clear and easy to read. Get the most important stuff at the beginning and use bullet points rather than wordy paragraphs, which will have a jaded recruiter switching off.

8. Ask for advice. A specialist travel recruitment consultant will be able to help you improve your CV – probably far better than a professional CV-writing company and without charging you.

9. Remember that your CV does not just get you into the interview – it can also set the salary range your prospective employer will be looking to pay you. A strong CV will make them start thinking about paying you more.

10. Don’t forget the travel industry is very small and everyone knows everyone. It is vital to be honest about your experience and achievements – if you are not then the chances are you will be found out.