How to land a great job in hospitality even if you have no prior experience
The hospitality industry is growing and always looking for good employees who are passionate about great service. No matter what your prior experience is or if you’re just starting out, chances are good that you already have transferable skills that you can bring to the job. Here are a few tips that will give you a better chance to break into the industry and get that first job.
Show Passion and Enthusiasm
Employers know that basic skills can be learned, but enthusiasm and a passion for service is something you can’t teach – you either have it or you don’t. And in this industry, it’s the name of the game. Hospitality is all about customer service, thinking on your feet and making sure every guest enjoys his/her experience.
Hiring managers are looking for dedicated staff with a great attitude. That often trumps those with hospitality experience who have a jaded view of guest services. So play up your passion and show the interviewer you have a winning personality that will resonate with guests and that you’re excited to be part of the team.
Identify your Transferable Skills
Figure out how your current skill set transfers to the hospitality position you’re seeking. It really doesn’t matter that you’re a former teacher, secretary, retail clerk, accountant, volunteer or homemaker. If you’re fresh out of school, use what you learned on your summer jobs or school projects to show you’re a team player, can follow directions, take initiative and be a reliable employee.
Emphasize the skills you’ve learned and how you can use them in your role at their hotel, resort or restaurant. Help the hiring manager see how you would be an asset in this job.
Expect you’ll start your new hospitality career in a lower-level position, even if you’ve had years of experience and promotions in another field. Once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, you can impress them with your skills and begin working your way up the ladder.
The experiences and abilities you bring to this job may allow you to shine in a way others can’t, so don’t be discouraged or feel the job is beneath you. If you truly have a passion to be in the hospitality industry you have to start somewhere. So get the job and start blowing them away with your competence and willingness to work hard.
Ok, so you don’t have any experience, but you can demonstrate your dedication to the field by taking some classes, enrolling in training workshops, completing internships, etc. It’s one way to close the gap between you and someone who’s actually worked this job before. Go the extra mile and give yourself an edge where you can.
You’ll learn more about the type of job you want and what suits your interests and abilities. Do your research to discover what work environments, expectations, hourly shifts and career paths are offered in various positions and what’s available in your area.
If you’re currently employed and thinking about switching careers, it might make sense to volunteer at some local events where you’ll gain some insight into whether you actually enjoy this work. At the same time, you’ll make some local contacts and will certainly gain some valuable experience you can put on your resume. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate how you can use your current skills in this new venue.
Update your Social Media Profiles and Cover Letter
A cover letter is really important when you are breaking into a new industry. In it you’ll convey your desire to change your career and explain why your current skills are useful and transferable to the hospitality industry. Be enthusiastic and briefly tell your story about how you’ve come to this decision. Show your commitment by sharing what you’ve done to pave the way (i.e. education, training, internships, volunteering, etc.).
Use the same information in your social media profiles so people can understand your goals and why your experience doesn’t necessarily match your future career path. Employers are not only looking for experience, but want to find the “right” cultural fit for the job.
On your resume, list any accomplishments or awards you’ve received that show your initiative and recognition and be sure to emphasize your dedication to providing superior customer service. Use action words and include any testimonials you have from former employers, teachers or mentors.
Use your Personal Network
You will likely have an easier time breaking into the industry by using your personal network and not relying on the typical online job search. Family members, friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors, etc. all know other people who may be able to help you find a position. If you have a connection, you’re more likely to get the interview and have a chance to show what you can do in person. Using a non-traditional strategy to find your first job in your new career may open some doors and give you more opportunities to make this transition.
As you approach your first job in the hospitality industry, one of the most important skills you can demonstrate is the ability to be confident and convey your ability to do the job. Practice your interviewing skills so you can present yourself as a valuable addition to the team.