By Angela Rose, Hcareers.com
Waiter, hostess, front desk, housekeeper… all are entry-level positions in hospitality. They aren't flashy jobs; they aren't even particularly lucrative ones. But each can serve as a stepping-stone on the path to a high paying, long-term career in the continually expanding hospitality industry. Hospitality employers often offer unbeatable advancement opportunities to driven professionals who are not opposed to working their way up the metaphorical ladder.
Begin with your education
If your ultimate goal is to attain a role in the upper echelons of the hospitality industry, a four-year degree will give you a broad-based education. A degree in hospitality management is generally a good choice for professionals who eventually want to manage a casino, hotel, resort, country club, or restaurant chain. A business management degree is another viable option. Alternatively, consider a degree in culinary arts if your passion is directly food-oriented. Some hospitality companies provide tuition assistance so you can gain valuable hands-on work experience while going to school.
Gather the necessary experience
One of the greatest benefits of an entry-level hospitality job is schedule flexibility. Hotels, casinos and resorts need workers 24 hours a day. Many bars and restaurants are open late into the night, and country clubs are busiest on the weekends. This means that you can start amassing real world hospitality experience while you're still working on your degree. Spend time in a variety of roles within the segment of the industry that most interests you. For example, if your interests draw you to the hotel environment, work at the front desk, then work for the caterer or event planner. Try out a job in housekeeping, and then find something in administration.
The opportunities are amazing
The highest-paying hospitality jobs can easily reach six figures –and all of these positions are attainable for customer service-oriented professionals with education and experience. Consider the job of Casino Property General Manager. You could advance to this role by starting in operations, or through the food and beverage or entertainment aspects of casino employment –and, according to recent salary data, you could earn a salary of $135,000 or more.
Hotel manager is another high paying hospitality job –and hotel chains love to recruit from within. You can advance to the position of hotel manager with a bachelor's degree and experience gathered in a variety other hotel positions including catering, front desk, housekeeping, administration and management. Hotel general managers can earn $90,000 or more.
Those passionate foodies we mentioned earlier might climb the ladder to a position as a regional or corporate chef, creating the menu for a group of restaurants. You can attain this lucrative position with your culinary arts degree and experience in multiple aspects of the kitchen and management. Recent salaries listed online for this role are as high as $86,000, though other sources report annual pay in excess of $120,000.
Whether you're a high school graduate thinking about your first career or a mid-career professional longing for a change, the hospitality industry offers numerous entry-level as well as mid-level opportunities –many of which can eventually lead to advancement. Start your search at Hcareers.com, where you can search thousands of hospitality jobs for free and learn more about this exciting industry.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.