Recent graduate? Spend your "gap year" working in hospitality!
If you’ve just graduated from an academic program and are planning to continue your education, you don’t have to start school again right away. Many universities allow admitted students to postpone entering school for a year while they pursue professional and personal goals. In fact, taking what’s commonly referred to as a “gap year” off from school before continuing on can actually benefit you on future applications or job applies and, depending on what you choose to do with your gap year, can make you an even more competitive candidate in the eyes of an admissions committee or future employer. And spening this gap year working in the hospitality industry can do just that.
A gap year in hospitality obviously has clear benefits for anyone who plans to work in hospitality long-term: You form connections in the industry and get to add a year of relevant experience to your resume. But even for people who plan to go into other fields, spending a gap year in hospitality can be helpful. That’s because hospitality jobs strongly emphasizes customer service, and the skills employees develop at these jobs can be applied to almost any career that requires interacting with customers, clients, or the public.
The hospitality industry as a whole offers many entry-level jobs and internships, making it a good stepping stone between school and a new career. For example, suppose a recent college grad is planning to attend graduate school for public relations. She could spend her gap year working in community relations for a hotel. When she applies to work for an agency after her graduate program, she’ll have an extra year’s worth of samples of her work and employer recommendations, giving her an advantage over graduates who went straight through school without taking a gap year to gain real-world experience.
In addition to improving your resume, a gap year in hospitality can expand your worldview. Hospitality jobs involve interacting with guests from all over the country and often from all over the world. Few other industries allow you to meet people from so many diverse locations and cultures or give you the opportunity to travel. Working in hospitality helps you learn to have empathy for people from many different backgrounds because you talk to and work with them every day. Hospitality work also instills a strong sense of responsibility, since your work directly affects guests’ experiences and you’ll get prompt feedback if your work isn’t up to standards.
Although any entry-level hospitality job or internship can be a good choice for a gap year, the best option is one that builds on your previous experience and propels you toward your goals. For example, if you’ve worked as a server at a restaurant over the summer, working that same job during a gap year probably wouldn’t be worthwhile because it wouldn’t teach you anything new. A better option would be to try a job you haven’t done before, such as guest services coordinator at a hotel. Alternatively, you could work a familiar job in a completely new setting, like a different country where you’re learning the language.
Either way, spending your gap year working in hospitality can be an enriching, life-changing experience with clear personal, professional, and educational benefits.
Start your “gap year” hospitality job search here!