Are you concerned that you don’t have the work experience to prove you’re the perfect cabin crew candidate? Perhaps you think that airline recruiters are looking for people with a mass of front-line customer service experience.
Well, becoming a volunteer and doing unpaid work is a fantastic resume hack. It will make your application shine and give you loads of experience to talk about in your final interview. You’ve even probably had someone recommend doing voluntary work to improve your flight attendant application. But is it worth it?
It’s a good question to ask. Doing voluntary work can be a big commitment – simply finding the time in our busy schedules is a task in itself. And many voluntary roles may even leave us out of pocket.
82% of Hiring Managers Prefer Candidates with Voluntary Experience
Perhaps that’s why 1 in 3 job seekers make no mention of unpaid work in their resumes. But they’re making a huge mistake. And a new study of over 2,500 U.S. hiring managers by management consultants, Deloitte proves exactly why.
Get this, 82% of recruiters said that they prefer candidates who have voluntary work experience. And 92% even said that completing unpaid work builds leadership skills.
It works best when the voluntary work teaches you skills that will come in handy for the job you’re applying for.
But you don’t have to do voluntary work in a field directly linked to the skills needed by flight attendants (like customer service). 77% of hiring managers said that any kind of voluntary work makes the job seeker a better communicator and 84% described those applicants as having a ‘strong character’.
Volunteers are Motivated, Socially Responsible and Proactive
The Deloitte research is just one of many studies that show the influence voluntary work could have on our job seeking success. And remember, when you submit your application to become cabin crew you need your resume to work really hard.
Back in 2015, analysis conducted by Nature Research found that “the top three personality traits associated with individuals who had volunteered were being motivated, socially responsible and proactive.”
Amanda Robinson, the Head of SEEK Volunteer said of voluntary work: “Volunteering can demonstrate personality traits that are sometimes difficult to convey in a profile or interview,” she added. “Hirers are also telling us that volunteering can speak real volumes about a candidate’s dedication and commitment to causes.”
So, how should you include this voluntary work on your resume? There are two methods that will work for most people depending on your personal circumstances:
1. You’ve only just finished college or have had a long absence from paid work:
If you’ve only just graduated and have little professional experience. Or perhaps you’ve had a break from paid employment for whatever reason, it’s a good idea to list your voluntary work like you would with any other job. Place it directly within the ‘Experience’ section of your resume.
In these circumstances, it’s a good idea to seek unpaid work that will give you the competencies that airline cabin crew recruiters are looking for in new hires. For example, a cashier in a charity shop or a helper in an old people’s home are great ways to acquire the skills and experience you’ll need as a flight attendant.
2. The voluntary work you’ve done isn’t related to being a flight attendant or it was done in addition to full-time employment:
Create a separate section on your resume titled something like ‘Voluntary Work’, ‘Charitable Endeavours’ or ‘Community Service’.
Again, list the work you’ve done just like you would with any other job. Note down a job title (if you didn’t have an official title, think of one that best describes what you did), the name of the organisation you worked for and the dates you provided your services. Then list your accomplishments in short bullet points.
Don’t worry if this section increases the length of your resume. The benefits of the recruiter seeing this voluntary work are far greater than the disadvantage of having a slighter longer resume.
Need even more convincing? Okay, one last thing – According to the Deloitte study, 85% of recruiters were willing to overlook resume pitfalls when the candidate includes voluntary work on their resume!
A Special Mention About Doing Voluntary Work in Dubai:
If you currently live in Dubai, remember that it is against the law to do any fundraising activity without prior permission from the UAE authorities. Although most voluntary work doesn’t fall into this category it is a good idea to seek unpaid work from official organisations.
A great place to start is the Dubai Volunteering Progam which is part of the Community Development Authority. The programme links volunteers with approved community groups with a function to register on the website. You can find out more information here.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.