How to structure a good CV that gets you noticed and shortlisted for the Assessment Day

With Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways increasing their open days and recruitment events across the world, it is time we ask ourselves a few questions on their selection process.  For those of you new to open days, the open day is an actual CV drop and an introduction to the airline.  It also gives an opportunity for the airline recruiters to meet the applicants.  It is attended by many hopefuls who are hoping to land their dream jobs working as cabin crew with a five star airline and getting paid to see the world!  

At the recent cabin crew Open Days in Morocco, Dubai, Rome, Manchester and London, more than 600 hopefuls attended these recruitment events and we are aware that only a handful were selected for the final interviews.  

How do recruiters select their shortlist of applicants?  At the Open Day your CV is the most important piece of marketing document telling the recruiter what you have to offer.  With high levels of competition, you have to have the best marketing document to be selected.  If you are fortunate enough to be selected for the Assessment Day, then this is where there will be several rounds of team working, presentation and interpersonal skills followed by an English test and the online psychometric test.  Applicants get knocked out at different rounds and are sent home if they don't make the grade. With Qatar, they have dropped team role play, instead candidates would take turns to have mini interviews with two of their recruiters while others would do the reach test and English assessment.  

Let's return to the CV which you now know is essential to get you to the Assessment Day.  There are just two to three recruiters at these events and they will read an applicant's CV in less than 30 seconds.  So you need to think carefully how you order the information on your CV.  Ideally, you are expected to have a 2 page CV but in all honesty most of the attention is given to the first page of your CV.  So do ensure you get the most important information on your front page.

You need to try get your recruiter's attention in your most recent career history lined with the essential transferable skills with some evidence.  Don't just say you have excellent communication skills or great at team working and provide no evidence of this.  Everyone will be saying they work well in a team and have excellent communication skills.  Where it truly makes a difference is your very own personal qualities in achieving this.  So give a couple of short examples to stand out from the crowd.  Remember to be brief.  These short trailers on how good you are at team working, communication skills will get you shortlisted!  You are giving them a good summary of your achievements that makes you good at your current job.

Make your strongest points on the first page of your CV after your personal details and profile.  It's probably true that some cabin crew applicants get away with a slight exaggeration here, but please do not be tempted to misrepresent your CV as it will come back to bite you.  Recruiters and HR at Emirates and Qatar rely heavily on background checks to determine the truth.  

At the Assessment Day what often goes wrong is you come off as a poor cultural fit to what the airline expects.  During team working, they make observations that you're an interrupter or your presentation is disorganised, and finally, you have not answered the question owing to poor listening skills or fiddling with your iPhone.   Quite often, they can also tell by body language that you are desperate and showing an over-interest in the job.  It's like your whole life and your dream depends on you landing this cabin crew position - this is not what they want!  You are definitely less appealing if you show you want the job badly.  For someone who comes across well but they have not shown that the recruiters' final decision is life or death for them, they are far more likely to get hired.  In addition, if you come across that you are hard to train and lack confidence (overly nervous), you may be eliminated in the next few rounds.  I would say it is best to avoid any hint of arrogance and attitude in your CV or when answering questions.

Show interest and appreciation but not a desperate need that it is your dream job.

A killer professional CV can get you to the Assessment Day but what happens thereafter is for you to be able to articulate your soft skills with confidence, and be seen to be able to work with others in a respectful manner and be a good team player.

Other factors that could sent you home: If you ask the recruiter the wrong questions when most of the information is available on their website, or you ask about things that concern you (e.g. apartments, salaries, holiday, benefits etc.) rather than how you prove your fitness in the role, that will be your greatest mistake, and you are likely to get eliminated.

Think about the question: Why do you want to be a cabin crew?  Most people would say they love to travel and it is their dream job, wrong again.  Focus on what you can offer them in terms of matching your abilities and experience to what is required in the role of a cabin crew.

We offer professional CV writing and also offer advice specific to your own circumstances on how to conduct yourself during the Assessment Day, the team exercises, presentation skills and questions to ask.  

To find out more on how we can help you, send your CV to us and we will provide you with more information.


Start by getting your CV and photos to us.  We will help you at every stage of the recruitment process.

Start by getting your CV and photos to us.  We will help you at every stage of the recruitment process.