When recruiting graduates, hospitality employers look for a key set of skills. 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 a people-oriented industry, and customer service is at the heart of any hospitality business. Without satisfied customers, there is no revenue.
2. Languages. Languages are valuable, as there is huge scope for career opportunities abroad. Language skills are also useful for a UK-based career, as UK hotels have many international guests.
3. Specialist knowledge. You may be able to give yourself an edge by having something up your sleeve from seemingly unrelated work experience. For example, health and safety knowledge or a background in sustainability could be useful.
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.
6. Marketing abilities. 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, support innovation and help to attract customers.
7. IT skills. Hospitality employers welcome IT skills, which could come in useful both for supporting processes such as online booking and for marketing, for example through use of social media.
8. An entrepreneurial approach. The hospitality industry is a fast-paced team environment where an entrepreneurial attitude will help both you and your business to succeed. This means taking an active interest in your patrons’ views, and being able to spot ways to change to increase their satisfaction with the service.
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. Management roles in hospitality can cover a broad range of areas, from marketing, financial accounting and managing revenue from rooms to food and beverage management and administration. You'll also need to be able to get the best out of a team.