Many of us list “eating out at restaurants” as a favourite pastime and spend hours planning our next dream vacation, yet we often overlook these industries during our hunt for a job after graduation.
Perhaps you’ve worked in these industries before – it’s increasingly common for students to work while they complete their studies, and hospitality and tourism are often your best bet to get hired. But did you realize there’s a world of opportunity beyond that entry level position?
Here are a few more reasons why you should consider sticking with that part-time tour guide or bartending gig:
Work with awesome people
This is a no-brainer. Both the hospitality and tourism industries are people-driven. Therefore, they hire people with excellent interpersonal skills – people who are easy to talk to, outgoing and good-natured – and then you have the good fortune to be able to work with these awesome people. It’s not uncommon to become friends with your coworkers outside of work, and that makes coming into work each and every day a lot more fun.
Acquire a global skill-set
What you learn in a restaurant in Ontario is going to cover the same basic principles you’d learn at a restaurant in Paris (…did I just admit that out loud? Sacré bleu!) If the mood strikes you, you could easily pick up and move clear across the globe – and you’d find the experience of applying for work permits, internships and jobs easier in these industries than in many others. But more than that… the skills you’ll pick up working in hospitality and tourism are transferable to many other industries as well. If you’re not sure what to do or where to do it, this is often the perfect place to get your feet wet.
Experience variety in your day
Being in the business of “making people’s day” often has the effect of making (and re-making) your own. You might find that you have a plan for how your day will unfold, but a call from a regular hotel guest or sudden change in business volume sends you off in a different direction – this is great news! You will never be bored. Those who succeed in this industry revel in change and contingency planning – if you want to think on your feet and turn on a dime, a career in hospitality and tourism is for you.
Successful restaurants, hotels and travel companies are constantly offering new products, packages and experiences. It takes a lot of hard work to get those initiatives off the ground – and, a lot of creativity. Your latest adventure overseas or that foodie blog you started? These types of experience make you ideally suited (in my opinion) to provide quality input into your new company’s direction. In the world of hospitality and tourism, we rely on you to bring us your great ideas. You can help us craft our unique proposition to customers, and bring the best options to market.
Accelerate your career
Yes, employee turnover can be higher in hospitality and tourism than you might see in other industries. Is it a challenge at times? Sure. Could you use it to your benefit? Absolutely! Certain hotels and resorts will hire seasonal staff, with the expectation that a large number will leave when the season ends. Be one of the few that stay, and your promotion is not long to follow.
Enjoy flexible scheduling
Did you schedule all your classes in the evening, Mr. Night Owl? Most restaurants and bars seek out staff who are interested in starting their “day” in the evening. Or perhaps you were Ms. Early Bird? Thanks to shift work, some positions within a restaurant or hotel are finished their work day as early as 2pm! Did you stack your classes in as few days as possible to enjoy a long weekend every weekend? It’s entirely possible to enjoy the benefits of full time work in a shortened work week too.
Let’s get real… the pay? It’s competitive. It’s common for managers in hospitality and tourism to receive compensation packages that include bonuses tied to financial results, employer RRSP-matching programs, flexible health and dental coverage, long-term disability and life insurance, and more. But come on! The real perks are all thanks to your friends in “The Industry” – insider access to international hotspots, hard-to-get restaurant reservations made easy, discounted (or free!) flights, discounted (or free!) food and drinks, complimentary show or game tickets… and the list goes on!
There is nothing we can’t or won’t do for a friend. Behind every great “Instagram-able” meal, there’s a crew of people working – the culinary team, service staff, floor managers, accountants and human resource professionals, and career opportunities. The next time you search “cheap vacation” on the internet, know that there are destination marketers, web designers, and hoteliers competing to capture your attention.
The world of hospitality and tourism – and yes, it is literally a world – extends far beyond what the everyday consumer sees, and the opportunities for your career development are practically unlimited.