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Top 10 tools for getting a job in hospitality

Top ten tools for getting a graduate job in the hospitality industry

Fabienne Rollandin, executive director of external relations at Swiss hospitality management school Glion, runs through the key competencies employers look for from graduates.
Without satisfied customers, there is no revenue.

When recruiting from university, hospitality employers look for a key set of skills from graduates. If you are able to provide evidence of occasions when you have used and developed these competencies, you will stand a far better chance against the competition for a graduate job in the industry.

1. Customer service: The hospitality profession is described by Fabienne as a ‘people-orientated industry’. Customer service is at the heart of any hospitality business. Without satisfied customers, there is no revenue.

2. Languages: ‘Languages are a valuable skill to have as there is huge scope for career opportunities abroad,' says Fabienne. ‘Being multilingual is also a desirable skill for UK employers, whose hotels receive international guests on a daily basis.’ She adds that most of the current students at Glion speak at least two languages, while many speak three or four.

3. Specialist knowledge: You may be able to give yourself an edge by having something up your sleeve from seemingly unrelated work experience. Fabienne points out, ‘In today’s hospitality industry, there’s an increasing demand for more specialist knowledge. Health and safety knowledge and a background in sustainability are both commonly sought after.’

4. Financial management: Being comfortable with money is only going to help you. Many hospitality roles require you to be able to manage budgets, whether they involve purchasing stock for a hotel or reviewing accounts, as well as dealing with staff wages.

5. Understanding of the industry: Commercial awareness is crucial, whether you work in hotels, restaurants or any other aspect of the hospitality industry. You can develop this by finding practical work experience.

Fabienne explains that Glion students participate in two six-month work placements. 'On graduation they already have 12 months’ work experience to add to their CVs, as well as a clear idea of which roads they want to pursue in their careers. In fact, in the last year of their academic programme, students choose an area of specialisation that gives them a deeper knowledge and understanding of their chosen field.’

6. Marketing abilities: ‘The hospitality industry is the UK’s fifth largest industry and the second largest employer, after government,' Fabienne observes. This means it is also extremely competitive. If you have the ability to spot the unique selling points (USPs) of your employer and its business model, then you can make yourself valuable in the development of your company and support innovation.

7. IT skills: Hospitality employers welcome IT skills as they seek to harness new technology to give them an edge in the marketplace. Fabienne explains, ‘The industry is continuously looking for experts in different fields. With online booking and the growing presence of social media, technology is just one example.’

8. Professionalism: Fabienne sees the hospitality industry as ‘a fast-paced team environment that requires a professional attitude and an entrepreneurial and business-orientated mind.’ Taking an active interest in your patrons’ views and overall satisfaction with the service you provide will help both you and your business to succeed.

9. Flexibility and adaptability: Many roles in the hospitality industry require you to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds and nationalities. You will be more effective in your work if you are flexible enough to take on board different working cultures and if you appreciate how hospitality differs across the globe.

10. Managerial potential: Fabienne explains that Glion’s courses cover subjects such as the principles of marketing and travel and tourism, financial accounting, food and beverage management, managing rooms revenue and business administration. This shows just how many areas of the business a manager must be able to appreciate, and gives you some idea of the range of areas in which work experience could be beneficial.

Gaining a range of work experience will help to open up different options when you graduate. Fabienne explains, ‘Students who study hospitality want to go into a variety of different fields, from general management to industry analysts and sports and events management.'