​Sticking the Landing: How to Transition from a Flight Attendant Job to a Corporate Career

Being a flight attendant is a dream career for many people. And who wouldn’t want to see the world, meet people from all walks of life, experience different cultures and cuisines, stay at five-star hotels, and wake up in a new country almost daily, for free? But like most things, it’s not all perfect. Flight attendants often have to work extended hours, even on holidays. The irregular sleep cycle is another drawback of the job, as it can negatively impact one’s health. But perhaps most painful of all, being a flight attendant is not forever. And when the airline hands you your dismissal letter, you better be ready to make a career change, and fast.

So how do you successfully transition from walking the airplane aisle to climbing the corporate ladder? The trick is to be prepared, so while you’re still in your flight attendant job, prepare yourself for the eventuality by nurturing your next passion, sharpening your skills, and maybe learning some new ones.

Identify your ideal corporate job

What does the right corporate job look like for you? Think about all the responsibilities you’ve held, going all the way back to your after-school and odd-summer jobs. What do you do well? What are the tasks you love doing the most? Discover your strengths and find a job position that could use them. If you’re struggling to figure out what you want, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a career advisor who can provide guidance and concrete ideas on how to move forward.

Change your narrative

Careers and job positions in the corporate world are plenty. Regardless of the corporate job you plan to get into, you must learn to repackage your skills and experience in a way that resonates with the recruiter or hiring manager. It’s not about showcasing your accomplishments, as they may not matter in your new industry. Rather, it’s about identifying your most relevant skills and qualifications and harnessing them to turn yourself into an asset in your new career. You have to know how to emphasize your value and highlight the unique qualities you bring to the table from your previous role as a flight attendant.

Evaluate your transferrable skills

You know your skills and capabilities, now evaluate and compare them to see which ones will be useful in the corporate world. Are you able to communicate well? Adept at managing your fellow attendants? What qualities do you often get praised for? Is it your organizational skills? Listening abilities? Quick thinking? Or your drive to ensure everyone in the cabin is always comfortable?

Though it may not seem like it at first, you actually have a lot of skills that the corporate world will find useful—you just have to know what they are. Identify your most impressive hard and soft skills, then assess how they can help you succeed in the position you want. It can help to list down your achievements as a flight attendant describing how these skills were applied. This is a useful way to demonstrate—to the recruiter as well as yourself—that you can take on the responsibilities required of you in your next position.

Identify the skills you need to add

Depending on the job position you’re interested in, you may need to learn additional skills, or you may not. If a requirement is a deal breaker, you may need to enroll in a course or invest in a degree. That said, there are plenty of alternative ways that you can add the necessary skills, such as taking an internship or starting at an entry-level position that allows you to learn on the job.

Be prepared to change the way you communicate, as you’ll be facing new terminologies and jargons in your new career. Being able to use the language proves you have a good grasp of the industry, which can help you get a good head start in your transition.

Reject the imposter syndrome

It’s easy to convince yourself that being a flight attendant is the only thing you’re good at, especially if you consider it a calling or passion. For those who think this way, the imposter syndrome—the feeling that you’re not worthy of a new position or career—may start seeping in. Recognize the imposter syndrome for what it is, and resist its negative pull. Sure, you may feel like you lack the qualifications to succeed in your new career, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. Life is one big school, and you can always learn something new. If you are willing to do what it takes to succeed in your new industry, then be open to change and keep going.

Get ready for the interview questions

When shifting careers, you’ll need to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate for the job. Prepare a convincing and honest response for why you’re changing careers. If you’ve been laid off, say so. You don’t want to be caught in a lie when they call your former employer during a background check. If the circumstances are reasonable, you should be able to articulate them. Avoid getting too emotional or frustrated, and above all, don’t blame anyone. Most recruiters and hiring managers will be understanding of your situation, especially if your layoff was beyond your control.

Prepare your resume and cover letter

Convincing a recruiter or hiring manager that you’re the right fit for a new industry is easier said than done, but you’ve got your resume and cover letter to pave the way for you. Use them to tell your story and what you can bring to the company. Tweak them in a way that ties your past career with the new work you hope to do.

If you’re unsure about whether your resume and cover letter can open the door to a new career in the corporate world, let us review them for you for free. Our fresh perspective can help you see your application documents in the way a recruiter will.

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