Horizon Career Tips for Hospitality College Students

The hospitality industry is highly competitive – at least for the most desirable jobs – but with some hard work and a little creative thinking, you can come out ahead.

Present Yourself Well.

Make use of the career services at your college. They can help you craft a well-thought-out resume that is simple to customize for each opportunity. Learn how to write an attention-grabbing cover letter. Practice interviewing. Your school may even be able to video them for you.  If you don’t already have one, invest in one good suit in a basic color like black or nav,y and several blouses/tops or shirts and ties.

Choose Internships Wisely

If you have the opportunity to participate in more than one internship over the course of your studies, take advantage of this great, on-the-job training opportunity. Try different types of hotels, restaurants and resorts to see what suits you best.

Make the most of the opportunity:

  • Always be on your best professional behavior.
  • Be cheerful and energetic.
  • Avoid gossip and malcontented people.
  • Look for opportunities to go beyond what is expected of you.
  • Volunteer for the tough jobs no one else wants to do.

Build Your Online Brand

When hiring managers receive your job materials, it’s just a start in their research about your candidacy. They will search your name on the Internet, and whatever pops up is what they’re going to use to build an image of you. If you want to stand out from the competition, start building your online brand throughout college. A basic brand comes from your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Think about every post, tweet or picture associated with your name. One bad post or photo could cost you a job without you even knowing it.

Professionally, get started and grow your LinkedIn profile while still in college. On social media, there is no better way to get noticed in your career and connect with people in the industry. You can develop your resume even more and provide context on your LinkedIn profile. Seek out connections, join groups and read content to show your interest in getting started in the industry.

To develop the online brand even more, start a blog and be consistent with it. Build your own website to control the message you convey to the rest of the world. View this as an opportunity to build your brand and differentiate yourself from the competition.

Take Advantage of Training

Consider joining a large organization with an excellent reputation for training and developing their new employees. Even if your dream is to one day work in a boutique hotel in an exotic location, there is much to be learned from a structured training program (even if it’s right in your not-so-glamorous backyard). Once you have nailed down the basics and gotten some experience under your belt, you’ll be ready for any challenge. In a large organization, you may even be able to transfer seamlessly to your dream location if you’ve made a good impression.

Find a Mentor

By allying yourself with someone who has been in the industry for a while, you can learn things not covered in any training. From shortcuts that will help you get your work accomplished faster to little tricks that improve guest satisfaction, there is no limit to what you can learn from a receptive veteran employee. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Stay Customer-Focused

Customer expectations are different at a hotel that caters to business people than a resort that focuses on vacationers. Learn to anticipate their needs and make their stay pleasant, and it will reflect well on you, whether you’re hoping to convert an internship into a job offer or are hoping to move up the ladder from your entry-level job.

Need more tips on transitioning from student life to your hospitality career? Horizon Hospitality is here to help. We can connect you with positions throughout the country in restaurants, hotels and resorts. Contact us today to launch your career.

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