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Wanna Work in Travel? Southwest Is Hiring!

If your passion for travel runs deep, perhaps you should consider making it your career.

Sure, you’d make more money in tech or investment banking. But the rewards of working for an airline—not least the free travel benefits—go beyond the paycheck. And there is a financial case to be made for an airline job. Especially if you’re young and footloose, the dollar value of the free and reduced-rate flights can be considerable. And the feeling that the world is your oyster… priceless.

It so happens that Southwest is now hiring 650 customer-service reps for its call centers in Albuquerque, Phoenix, and San Antonio, to “provide the legendary Customer Service Southwest Airlines is known for while resolving Customer concerns, providing information, and assisting with reservations.”

According to Southwest’s Vice President of People (yes, that’s what they call their head of human resources):

A passion for helping people is a key to success in Southwest’s Customer Service Representative role. We are looking for hardworking, fun-loving, and caring people who will give their all to help connect our Customers to what’s important in their lives.

Related: 10 Pro Tips for Surviving a Long Flight

A customer-service job—as a reservations agent, in other words—is probably the most common entry-level position in the airline industry, and it’s a great way to learn how the business works. It provides a solid background for moving into sales or marketing or other areas in the company.

Southwest has a longstanding reputation as an especially customer-friendly company, and that culture is generally understood to come from within. The company was recently named as among the best companies to work for by Forbes, and by Glassdoor. And J.D. Power just rated Southwest among the best, just behind JetBlue, for customer satisfaction. Happy employees treat customers well.

The traditional big-company benefits are all on offer: medical coverage, 401(k) matching, profit-sharing plan, and so on. And then there are the travel perks. And finally, there’s the prospect of working for a successful company that makes it a point to put the interests of its employees first. That’s a pretty compelling package.

Oh, and while it probably goes without saying, “Application fees? No way! Southwest never charges for applying.” A cheeky play on its brand marketing from the country’s most fee-free airline.

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