Having spent seven incredible years of my career working for Thomas Cook, hearing the sad news of the centenarian Company's collapse filled me with deep sadness.
I am very grateful to the people I worked with at Thomas Cook, many of which had worked there for a long time. I was trained well, believed in, and my career thrived. When I did eventually leave to pursue my next challenge, I walked into a completely different job and continued to flourish.
If you are an employee of Thomas Cook and are waking up this morning with the feelings of fear and uncertainty, let me remind you of the fantastic skills you have to offer your next employer.
Amazing Customer Service Skills. And I mean a-maz-ing! You'll be familiar with working with a multitude of customers with different needs. For many travel agents, doing a job incredibly well means repeat business, year after year.
Wonderful Ability to Listen. Active listening skills are essential - this is not the kind of role where you can drift away and ignore the details.
Brilliant attention to Detail. You'll always be dealing with name spellings, passport numbers, birth dates, travel dates and a whole lot more.
Fabulous Organisation Skills. 22 clients. 40 flights to book. 25 phone calls to return. 12 itineraries to send. 3 meetings to attend - your ability to multitask and deal with lots of customers on an ongoing basis, so being organised is essential.
Excellent Communication Skills. Writing and speaking (without errors) is essential. Not only do you need to ensure your written documents (e.g. emails) to customers and other internal stakeholders are blunder-free, but that your spoken English is excellent, too. Clearly outlining a set of visa rules to your next customer, explaining why staying in a particular hotel is not recommended, or elaborating on the requirements of an ‘Around the World’ ticket, are all essential requirements of your role.
Top-Notch IT Skills. Like many industries, the travel industry is predominantly IT computer-reliant. A good level of IT experience and the ability to learn new systems is a must.
Endless Patience. Travel agents hear it all - frequent questions, changes of mind, angry rants and annoying complaints. Patience is a virtue in the travel world, as is the ability to help customers overcome their concerns or issues, no matter how irritated you might get. Look at all those transferable skills! Every industry needs people like you, who love their customers and with the skills I've listed above. For any new job seeker, looking for your next employment is a daunting prospect, but you do not need to do it alone. For more help and guidance with your job search journey, take a look at other guides on my website, www.positivecareeradvice.com and join other job seekers in the fabulously supportive LinkedIn Group - UK Career Support Network