TARGETjobs black logo
students' strategies for graduate job hunting in hospitality, leisure and tourism

Be a better job hunter: getting hired in hospitality, leisure and tourism

We’ve used the Graduate Survey 2018 to compile a profile of students who want to work for employers in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector. Compare yourself to the competition and pick up tips for success.

Do you know what graduate starting salary to expect in a career in hospitality, leisure and tourism? Do you have enough work experience? Are you feeling anxious about the job hunting process? And do you have the feeling that everybody else chasing vacancies in this area is miles ahead?

We’ve delved into the details revealed by the Graduate Survey 2018, the biggest survey of student attitudes towards job hunting in the UK, to put together a profile of undergraduates who are particularly interested in working for employers in hospitality, leisure and tourism. The Graduate Survey is conducted by trendence UK, a partner of Group GTI, which is the parent company of TARGETjobs.

The findings are summarised in the infographic below, which will help you see how you compare to your peers who are competing for the same jobs. We’ve also compiled five key tips that you can use to make yourself the best possible candidate.

Compare yourself with your peers in hospitality, leisure and tourism

1. Keen to work abroad? Apply accordingly

A career in hospitality, leisure and tourism offers plenty of opportunities to travel or work overseas, depending on the employer you choose. While 39% of students interested in working for hospitality, leisure and tourism employers were open to opportunities with companies of any size, some had much more specific preferences. Of those who expressed a preference, more wanted to work for large international companies (26% of this group) than for UK-based companies (13%) or small employers (15%). The survey also found that 38% of students interested in this area ranked international opportunities as a very important factor when choosing an employer, whereas the average was 30%.

Employers in hospitality, leisure and tourism range from big multinational organisations that run graduate schemes to small UK-based businesses that are more likely to recruit graduates on an ad hoc basis. Researching employers will help you to clarify what you want and where to apply. If you are applying to graduate schemes run by international hotel groups you are likely to need good language skills, as this is a typical requirement.

2. Focus on the long game for your pay prospects

Our survey data suggests that students who are interested in working for hospitality, leisure and tourism employers have a realistic idea of what they are likely to earn. They thought they were likely to be paid £23,390, which is within the range of starting salaries offered by leading graduate employers in this sector (typically between around £19,000 and £25,000). However, with experience, it is possible to earn much higher salaries in this area, depending on where you work. For example, an experienced manager at a large five-star hotel could earn as much as £90,000.

3. Do you have enough work experience?

How career-ready are you? Evidence from the Graduate Survey 2018 suggests that students interested in hospitality were relatively well placed to succeed in their applications. The proportion of students interested in hospitality, leisure and tourism careers who had work experience was very close to the average for their peers, at 80% for finalists with work experience unrelated to their course (80.6% for all students). The proportion of students interested in this area who had internships was higher than the average; 33% of finalists in this group had done internships, compared to 22.7% of all students surveyed.

That said, relevant work experience is particularly important in hospitality, leisure and tourism. Employers typically look for experience that demonstrates hands-on, practical customer service skills, and having worked in hospitality, leisure or tourism will also be an advantage. Assess the quality and relevance of the work experience you already have: would it strengthen your applications to do more? Make sure you understand how to make the most of your part-time jobs and extracurricular activities and can use them to give you examples of the skills employers are looking for.

4. Know how to network

Students who are interested in working for hospitality, leisure and tourism employers are smart about using social networking to further their careers, with 78% using LinkedIn for this (slightly higher than the average at 75%). If you aren’t using LinkedIn and other students competing for the same jobs are, you could be at a disadvantage. You could also promote yourself professionally by using other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which are less widely used by other students looking for hospitality jobs. Look out for opportunities to network face to face, too, such as careers events and fairs. Your university careers service may run an alumni network that could help you find out more about working in hospitality, leisure and tourism, and if you have a part-time job in this area, talking to colleagues and your manager could also give you useful insights about career paths and opportunities.

5. Feeling anxious? Boost your confidence

Students interested in employers in hospitality, leisure and tourism were more likely than average to be worried about their future careers, according to the Graduate Survey 2018. Across the whole survey, 60% of students said they were worried about their future careers, compared to 67% of students interested in working for hospitality, leisure and tourism employers.

There are a number of steps you can take to increase your confidence in your job hunt. Make the best possible use of all the resources available to you, including support available from your careers service. Fill out your profile with TARGETjobs, as this could lead to you being approached directly by employers looking for candidates like you. Use our advice to help you manage your job hunt, identify your strengths and sell them effectively in your applications and interviews.

Top