Jobs in the leisure & tourism industry

A life of leisure needn’t be restricted to the rich and famous.

Think it’s time you turned your love of travel into a career? Or looking for a more creative occupation to help make the most of your skills?

Whatever the reason, if you’re considering a career in the leisure and tourism industry but have no idea where to start, we’re here to help. Here are some roles you could consider, and some of our top tips to help you get to there:

Beauty Therapist

What they do: Provide and administer beauty treatments to help enhance a client’s physical and mental wellbeing. Potential treatments could include waxing, facials, massaging areas of tension, manicures/pedicures and even spa treatments and electrolysis.

What you need: You’ll need to be personable and friendly, putting candidates at ease whatever treatment they’re having. Tact is also key. Clients may want a make-over, but that doesn’t mean you can tell them exactly what you think of their old look (no matter how hideous you may feel it is). A degree is not essential, but industry specific qualifications (such as NVQs) will be essential.

What you can earn: Somewhere around £12,000 for a first position, with an average of around £18,000 once fully qualified and with experience. However, many Beauty Therapists choose to be self-employed, and this can certainly be a lucrative option for those who want to be their own boss.

Perfect for: Those who are always offering make-overs to their friends and family…

Our advice: If you’re already a qualified Beauty Therapist, finding the right job is all about showing what you can do. Build your own personal brand using your online profiles, blogs, social media accounts and more. Include a link to each of these on your CV, and a recruiter can really start to see your work. And, looking the part at interviews is vital. So take your time with those preparations…

Cabin Crew

What they do: Assist customers travelling on commercial airlines. They perform a number of tasks, from serving food and beverages to dispensing important safety information and administering first aid. However, their main function remains the same – to provide excellent comfort and customer service to all passengers travelling aboard every flight.

What you need: A polite and friendly manner, not to mention confidence, especially when speaking to the entire plane. A welcoming smile is also absolutely vital, as is colour-normal vision. A degree is not necessary, although you will have to be over the age of 18. Nervous flyers need not apply.

What you can earn: £14,000 for a first or trainee position, rising to the £25,000 range for senior crew members.

Perfect for: People who like their careers here, here and here.

Our advice: Becoming a member of Cabin Crew is highly competitive, and a large number of applicants apply for each role. In order for everyone to be seen, many of the top airlines run open days across the country. These are a great way to get noticed, and allow you demonstrate some of the key skills needed to get started in this industry. And as full training is provided as standard, your skills are what really count when it comes to finding the right role.

Holiday Rep

What they do: Help people get the most out of their holidays. This could be collecting guests from the airport, arranging transfers and excursions, giving them further information about the resort, arranging car/ski hire and even helping resolve emergency situations.

What you need: An outgoing personality and excellent organisational skills. Most of the time you will be working on your own, so drive and self-motivation will be key. You must be over 18 years of age, and being able to speak a different language may help you find work. The ability to avoid distractions would also be a distinct advantage…

What you can earn: Holiday Reps work on a seasonal basis, and therefore there is no real annual salary for the position. However, the basic monthly salary will be somewhere close to £500, with commission available for those who are good at selling various add-ons. Accommodation will also generally be included.

Perfect for: People who never wanted to come home from Faliraki.

Our advice: This position is all about getting your timing right, and working out exactly what it is you want to do. If you’re looking for the summer season, many annual recruitment drives for Holiday Reps start around November. For ski resort jobs, starting your search in September may yield the best results. Also, brushing up your language skills can really set you apart.

How to become a Holiday Rep


What they do: Some people stand in the darkness. Afraid to step into the light. And some people like to quote the lyrics of the Baywatch theme tune. Most Lifeguards do neither. Instead, it is their job to ensure the safety of, and supervise, swimmers in the ocean, inland and in swimming pools. This could include monitoring those in the water, providing first aid and checking conditions.

What you need: First and foremost, you’ll need to be an incredibly confident swimmer. Excellent personal fitness, strength and the ability to maintain concentration for long periods of time are similarly essential. A degree is not required, however, you will need certain industry specific qualifications and first-aid training to get started.

What you can earn: Somewhere around £12,000 for a full-time, trainee position, rising to with an average of around £20,000 once fully qualified and experienced. However, many Lifeguards work in a part-time capacity, and hourly rates usually reach around £10 or so.

Perfect for: People who like to run in slow motion.

Our advice: Becoming a qualified lifeguard is a relatively simple process. The most widely recognised lifeguard qualification in the UK, the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) only takes 36 hours to complete, and will allow you to work as a pool lifeguard as soon as you’re qualified.

Personal Trainer

What they do: Assess a client’s physical condition and tailor an effective training programme based on the results and the client’s wishes. Typically work one-on-one with individuals, providing support and guidance to help them hit their targets. Potential target could include strength, endurance, weight loss and overall fitness. Personal Trainers can work at a client’s home, at the gym, outside, or, most commonly, a combination of these.

What you need: Discipline, motivation, endurance and a passion for fitness are essential. A degree in Sports Science is preferred, but is not essential. There are a number of vocational courses which could, when combined with experience, help candidates progress in the industry.

What you can earn: Typically around £20,000+

Perfect for: People who spend a lot of time in the gym (mainly telling other people how to work out).

Our advice: If you don’t have a degree or any previous experience, look into courses available which may be specifically tailored to becoming a personal trainer. Once you’re qualified, apply to local gyms and fitness centres or put an advert out and work independently. This can be a great way to gain some vital experience and prove your credentials moving forward. Oh, and stay in shape. That too…

How to become a Personal Trainer

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Travel Agent

What they do: Find their customers the perfect holiday. So whether you’re mad on Magaluf, or you’d prefer to spend your weeks off with only a backpack, a blanket and a battery-powered bug blaster for company, a great Travel Agent should be able to find the best trip available for you (and/or Bear Grylls).

What you need: Aside from excellent customer service, a good knowledge of IT, a keen interest in travel and exceptional sales skills are all necessary requirements for those looking to become a Travel Agent. If you don’t often venture outside a weekend break in Bognor Regis*, this may not be the right role for you. (N.B. If you live in Bognor Regis, please feel free to disregard).

What you can earn: Travel Agents earn an average salary of around £20,000 – £25,000 per year. There may also be commission or bonuses included in the salary package, as well as generous staff discounts for some providers.

Perfect for: People who spend too much time booking holidays and watching “Wish You Were Here” re-runs.

Our advice: Don’t be afraid of role-plays. A common interview question a travel agent may come up against is simply something along the lines of ‘sell me a holiday’. To answer successfully, you will need to ask questions which may help you come up with an ideal destination (e.g. what sort of things do you look for in a holiday, where have you been before, etc.) This position relies on excellent sales skills, as well as personality, so practice your approach before you begin applying.

Other media roles to consider: Nail technician, Massage Therapist, Tour Guide, Ski Instructor.

* would like to point out that we have absolutely nothing against Bognor Regis, or its people. We just quite like alliteration.

Top tips

  • Be yourself – Sometimes the old advice is the best advice. Working in the leisure and beauty industry requires excellent interpersonal skills and confidence in your abilities. Coming across as natural can often be the key to success.
  • Be prepared – Whether you’re preparations involve ensuring excellent personal appearance, or building up your local knowledge of different destinations to help you sell holidays, don’t ever go to an interview without an appropriate amount of research, practice and/or preening.
  • Build your brand – In the beauty industry in particular, never underestimate the importance of your ‘personal brand’. Write a blog, upload pictures of your work to Instagram, and build an online portfolio you can share on your CV. Not only will it show what you can do, it’s also a great way to demonstrate your passion for the industry.
  • Keep up-to-date – Travel, leisure and beauty are all fast-paced industries, so always take note of what’s trending. Knowing all the latest developments, treatments and the hottest destinations will be a valuable weapon in finding the right role.
  • Get qualified – Many jobs in the leisure and tourism industry do not require a degree, but often include some form of qualification as a pre-requisite. In some instances an employer may help you pay or provide on-the-job training or apprenticeships. However, many of these qualifications can be studied independently and fit around your current schedule.
  • Smile – As many roles are customer facing, a friendly and approachable manner is vital. Think of examples of when you went above and beyond in the name of customer service. And don’t forget to smile. Trust us, it makes a difference.

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