Getting a tour guide or tour manager job is as much about how you market yourself as it is about how skilled or experienced you are. Tour companies and tour operators are more likely to hire you if they like you and they feel you appeal to their target tour market.
Additionally training is an important factor. Tour companies prefer tour guides and tour directors to be trained, as it eliminates on the job training and allows high end tour companies to provide quality service to their exclusive clientele. This said, certain tour companies do not look at your qualifications, but rather at your travel experience and personality. For instance, cruise ships hire shore excursion guides in Alaska who are just students with no formal tour guide training.
Marketing your services begins with understanding what different tour operators want and finding a niche market to work in. For example, a tour guide working in America who can speak Zulu is a huge asset to any tour company offering international tours. Tour companies in the U.S. will find this very appealing and it might give them a unique product that they can market to tourists from Africa. When you apply for land tour jobs, also be aware of the companies you are approaching. If you are interested in a long term touring career, then find companies will year round employment, and if you are only looking for a summer job, then there are plenty of companies that offer purely seasonal positions.
An important aspect of the marketing process is to sift through and eliminate companies that you don’t want to work for, for any reason, or don’t fit in with. It saves you time and gives you the chance to spend more time working on the other resumes and applications for companies where your skills are needed and wanted.
Tour Guides Need Unique Skills
Just like speaking a foreign language, tour companies also seek individuals who have a unique talent or skill. This will either be to promote an existing tour or to introduce a new tour that is very distinct. With the travel and tourism industry growing exponentially every day, companies need to find new ways to stand apart and offer something different to tourists.
Whether you are an expert mountaineering guide with certifications, or an experienced motocross rider, these are skills that you should highlight when you are applying for positions. Before you apply, make sure that you are approaching the kind of company looking for this skill set or find out if they are at least interested in adding new tours before you send through your resume and application.
Any additional degrees or courses that you have taken will be instrumental in your application, and should always be highlighted in your resume. For example, if you have completed the UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guiding license, the highest level achievable in the world, covering certifications in rock, alpine and ski mountaineering disciplines, then this must be marketed.
Did You Know? Keeping your work location choices flexible with increase your chances of being hired.
Always Market Your Strongest Abilities and Experiences
Even if you think they are not valid and perhaps were not part of any previous job, any experience you have had or abilities you have gained over the years should be noted in your resume. Tour guiding is about taking the initiative a lot of the time, being a leader, problem solving and crisis managing, and therefore any unsupervised activities you have led or experiences that you can showcase will be noticed by tour companies. It goes towards your character and personality and is held in high regard, as much as any qualification or license.
If you have planned a camping expedition into the wilderness with a few friends and family, do not feel uncomfortable about mentioning it. Include what you did, how you planned it, what safety precautions you too, when emergency procedures you set up, and what activities you planned. Some other related job experience which many tour guides have mentioned, include babysitting, teaching, and acting among others.
Marketing your strongest assets may sound easy, but many people struggle to pin point what they are good at. If you find it hard to do then ask the advice of family and friends and get them to list some of the positive things that they have noticed about you. This job has a lot to do with how other perceive you and you will be working with so many different people from different cultures, backgrounds, nationalities and demographics, so it is a good idea to see what others think about you.
Marketing Yourself On The Job
Once you work for a tour company, the marketing does not stop. You have to constantly market yourself to hotels, restaurants, airlines, ferry boats, museums, and local vendors. Striking good deals and partnering with local suppliers is very necessary in the tour guide business, as you will be nurturing the local economy, whilst also getting great discounts for your tour group. This is known as formalized co-operation.
If you are a freelance tour guide or tour manager, marketing yourself to tour operators and private tour parties is part of your everyday job description. You have to be good at selling yourself, selling your services, and convincing people that you are the best person for the job.
When you look at the details of how to go about marketing yourself as a new tour guide or an experienced tour guide, it all really comes down to personality and attitude. You are more likely to get selected for jobs based on how you relate to the company directors, how to get along with tourists, how professional you appear, and how interesting you are. In a resume, this has to come across in the way it looks, the way it reads, and by the interesting facts included.
Making your resume stand out from the other hundred or so applicants is the key to landing the perfect touring job that you have been waiting for.
- Highlight your strongest skills on your resume.
- Make deals with local vendors to get discounts for your tour group.
- Additional courses or degrees should be mentioned in your resume.