Becoming a flight attendant is challenging. Airline companies want to know that they are hiring an individual that can keep passengers safe and comfortable throughout the duration of their flight. In order to get hired as a flight attendant, you need to prove to airline recruiters that you are tough, intelligent and compassionate enough to handle any situation while up in the air.
Cover letter and resume
First impressions are everything in the airline industry. Your resume and cover letter should give airline recruiters a quick idea of who you are and why you would be an asset to their company. A memorable first impression is the key to securing an in-person interview.
Your cover letter should be short enough to read at a glance, and should briefly touch on any relevant skills or experience that you possess. Each cover letter that you write should be tailor made to suit a specific company. You can get a taste of what sort of language an airline uses by visiting its website. Using company jargon in your cover letter can help you to stand out as a candidate by showing that you understand and appreciate a company’s culture.
A short, well written cover letter is essential for capturing the attention of an airline recruiter. You can use your resume to showcase more details about your professional background and skills. Like your cover letter, you should keep your resume concise and use simple, elegant formatting. Recruiters have to read hundreds to thousands of resumes, and anything unnecessarily long winded or jumbled may end up in the garbage pile.
If you have an extensive work history, you should highlight past experience that would be relevant in an airline setting. For example, past work as a cashier shows that you have customer service experience, while employment as an EMT shows that you have medical training. It’s also a good idea to list relevant volunteer work, hobbies, or interests that might give the recruiters a taste of your personality. Airline companies are particularly interested in candidates that are good with people, such as those who volunteer with children or the elderly, along with candidates that stay fit by participating in sports or other physical activities.
All of the information that you provide in your cover letter and resume will be verified during a background check, so it is best to best to be perfectly honest about your employment history. Airlines won’t hire a candidate that later fails his or her background check.
Stand out during the interview process
Your goal during the interview process is to prove to airline recruiters that you have what it takes to become a flight attendant. They are looking for candidates that are well groomed, personable, intelligent and courteous. You will often be interviewed with a large group of other applicants, sometimes hundreds, in what is known in the industry as a “cattle call.” The cattle call is designed to quickly and efficiently weed out any unsuitable candidates. So much competition can feel overwhelming, but there are a few simple ways that you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.
The simplest way to make a good first impression is to dress appropriately. Women should wear wear a crisp navy blue or black suit, preferably with a skirt, along with formal black shoes. Makeup should be minimal and in natural tones only, while accessories should be kept small and tasteful. Men should wear dark slacks, a dress shirt, and a suit jacket along with black dress shoes. The idea is to look as much like the standard image of a flight attendant as possible.
Looking the part of a flight attendant is only half the battle. Throughout the interview process, you must show the flight recruiters that you have the personality and interpersonal skills necessary to handle the daily challenges that you will face while in the air. Act courteously towards both the recruiters and the other applicants, because your every interaction will be under close scrutiny.
Some airline companies subject applicants to a brief preliminary one-on-one interview. A recruiter will ask you a series of fairly standard interview questions, sometimes up to twenty, that you will have a set amount of time to answer. This is your opportunity to show off your communication skills. Answer questions truthfully, clearly and concisely. Avoid rambling so that you are able to answer every question within the allotted timeframe. It can be helpful to practice answers to common interview questions beforehand, such as:
- How did you hear about this job posting?
- Why do you want to become a flight attendant?
- Why are you the best candidate for the job?
- What kind of jobs have you worked in the past?
- What are your future career goals?
- How would you handle an unruly passenger?
- How would you handle a dispute between two passengers?
It is important to be courteous and confident during the interview, since these are two qualities that are important in a flight attendant. Make eye contact, maintain a good posture, and avoid fidgeting. End the interview on a positive note by thanking the interviewer for his or her time.
Airline companies commonly use group interviews to assess the interpersonal and communication skills of applicants. Candidates are split up into teams and given a scenario to act out while being observed by the airline recruiters. This is not a competition nor a chance to outshine your teammates, but rather, a chance to show that you are able to work effectively as part of a team.
In the scenario that your team is given, you will face a problem that a flight attendant might encounter while on the job. For example, you may have to calm an unruly passenger, or settle a seating argument between two customers. You are expected to think on your feet and come up with creative and innovative solutions to the problem at hand. It may be helpful to practice role playing scenarios with friends and family members before your interview.
Take the medical exam seriously
The medical exam will assess if you meet the height and weight requirements necessary to become a flight attendant. You will also be put through a battery of tests to determine the health of your circulatory and respiratory systems. Serious medical conditions that could put you or your passengers at risk while in the air may bar you from becoming a flight attendant.
Candidates will also have their blood and urine analyzed during the company medical exam. You should disclose any past recreational drug use to the company upon taking the physical. This won’t bar you from becoming a flight attendant, but you will be subjected to random drug testing for two months after hire. You should also alert the recruitment staff if you take any prescription drugs, as these may show up in your blood or urine tests and affect your hireability.
Be personable, punctual and professional
Flight attendant training is an intense four to eight week course designed to weed out the weakest students. You won’t just be evaluated by just test scores and class rankings. Instructors will be watching trainees for grooming habits, punctuality, and disposition. Even small infractions such as unkempt hair or a rude comment can get you kicked out of the training program.
Flight attendants are expected to be the the paradigm of professionalism. Airlines are looking for candidates that will be an asset to the company. Throughout your training, take every opportunity available to show that you have the strength, compassion and intelligence necessary to become a flight attendant.