Hospitality Perk: You don’t need experience to get started in this industry
Whatever your interest, there’s likely a job that will suit you in hospitality. It’s an industry made up of not only customer service and food service professionals but also administrators, engineers, computer technologists, technicians, marketers, accountants, financial strategists, entertainers and more. There’s truly something here for everyone, and—even better—you often don’t need any experience to get your first hospitality job.
In fact, many people who are now in top-tier positions at hotels and restaurants started in entry-level opportunities. Ask around and it’s easy to find restaurant general managers who once worked as dishwashers and hotel executives who started as front desk associates. An informal review of jobs recently posted on Hcareers found nearly 150 containing “entry level” in their description. The positions available cover a vast range of starting points for challenging, exciting and rewarding hospitality careers.
Entry-level opportunities to consider
Let’s say you’re a “foodie” or a wine or craft beer lover; your doorway into hospitality may be through an entry-level bartender, cook, dishwasher, host/hostess, server or steward opportunity. Perhaps you prefer numbers and finance. You can get your start in an entry-level job as a cashier, data entry officer, accounting clerk or revenue analyst. If you want to focus on people, there are entry-level jobs for you as well, from bellman and concierge to front desk agent, guest services agent, sales associate, support staff and valet.
Other interesting entry-level hospitality jobs requiring little—if any—direct experience include contract coordinator, driver, equipment officer, event coordinator, groundskeeper, laundry attendant, maintenance, onboard attendant, security officer and utility technician.
A core set of skills
While actual duties vary by job, most require the same core set of skills. Check all of them off this list and you’ll be well on your way to landing an entry-level hospitality position:
- Computer skills
- Communication skills
- Guest service skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Organizational skills
- Speak and read English
In many cases, you’ll need to be physically fit as well. Depending on the position you’re after, you may need to stand for six to eight hours at a time as well as lift anywhere from 25 to 75 pounds.
Make sure you stand out
Entry-level hospitality jobs are popular with high school and college students as well as retirees, parents returning to the workforce and professionals making career changes. To compete, you’ll need to stand out from the pack. One of the best ways to do so is to know what sets you apart and makes you worth hiring and training—and then clearly sell these advantages. Emphasize factors like your schedule flexibility, passion for the industry, positive energy, willingness to work hard and desire to learn—all positives in the eyes of hospitality managers who want to hire for attitude and train to aid in experience.