From Classroom to Career: How to Succeed in the Hospitality Sector

As a college student, you’ve probably heard the saying, “The world is your oyster,” even as you struggled to figure out what your future holds. The truth is, with a career in hospitality, you really are free to explore a variety of job opportunities that extend far beyond what you imagine. Picture hotels, lodges, resorts, casinos, travel agencies, and restaurants both nearby and around the world – all of which need dedicated individuals like you with a thirst for success.

Prepare the Paperwork for the Search

When you begin the job search, you’ll be sending out countless résumés and cover letters. While résumés are fairly simple and straightforward (listing your education, skills, work, experience, and awards/honors, etc), a cover letter is more detailed.
Think of a cover letter as an extension of your resume where you can explain what sets you apart from other candidates and highlight all the experiences and accomplishments you’ve received in the hospitality industry. 

To make things simpler, use an online cover letter platform to walk you through the process of creating an eye-catching cover letter. Bear in mind that you should tailor each cover letter to the job to which you’re applying, otherwise, you risk having your application tossed in the trash.  Recruiters can tell when a cover letter is canned or when the applicant isn’t paying attention.

While Job Searching, Don’t Count a Business Out

Perhaps you have a group of college friends with a knack for launching and implementing incredible ideas, or you worked tirelessly on a business plan for a class project that you’d like to see come to fruition. You need to gain work experience first before trying out your entrepreneurial skills, but it helps to know your options and have an objective.

For example, you’ll need a strong financial plan, not to mention a way to finance your startup and protect it from liability. A hospitality startup isn’t something you can run from your home office, so real estate will come into play here as well. You’ll likely need a commercial real estate loan such as an SBA CDC/504 or SBA 7(a) loan, but don’t worry, this guide will explain everything in detail.

If you really want to prepare to start a business, consider going back to school to get your MBA. Not only will this degree help give you the skills you need to start your own business, you may find that it opens doors for careers you hadn’t considered before. Fortunately, you can take courses through online universities, which will let you learn everything on your own schedule from the comfort of your own home.

Gain Experience Now

Whether your plan after college is to take a year off, kick start your career, or dip your toes in the waters of entrepreneurship, the best thing you can do is start gaining meaningful work experience in the hospitality industry. An entry-level position or internship is not only a good thing to build up your résumé, but it gives you a better understanding of the industry and direct insight into the perspective of customers. 

You’ll interact with people from different backgrounds, of all ages and nationalities, and learn how to successfully communicate in a way that represents you and your company well, which is one of the many skills you need to be successful in this industry. Work experience provides you with meaningful connections and relationships too, which will be beneficial when you are fresh out of college and need recommendations, job guidance, or a mentor.

Have a Game Plan

College is filled with unknowns, but when it comes to your hospitality career you need to have a vision. According to Jonathan Galaviz, chief economist for Galaviz & Company, a Las Vegas-based travel firm, “The biggest mistake candidates make is that they don’t clearly define what their long-term objectives are.” The hospitality industry certainly sounds fun, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to move up the ladder and get where you want to go. Have some sort of plan so you aren’t going in blind.

College is just the jumping off point. With a hospitality degree, the world truly is your oyster. Take advantage of it and make a career in hospitality work for you!

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