5 Job Market Benefits of Hospitality Experience

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Workers with hospitality experience may feel especially concerned for their professional future right now. 

That’s only natural, with hotels and resorts around the world facing a potentially slow recovery from travel restrictions, lockdown orders, and a general reduction in discretionary spending.

But there is cause for optimism.

To find out why, we talked to Aerotek Divisional Practice Lead Eric Begert. His years of experience placing candidates in customer service roles have positioned him to understand a fast-evolving job market.

Begert shared five big reasons anybody with a professional background in front-of-house hospitality work should feel encouraged right now.

1. Your skills are in demand elsewhere

Not all industries are hurting right now — some have actually experienced an uptick. 

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, many companies have a higher volume than usual of customer service requests. And they need help. 

The customer service skills you developed working in restaurants, hotels or other customer-facing jobs are often sought after by such companies. This includes soft skills like calming people down or handling VIP customers. You may have also developed key hard skills, such as working with a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

“It’s not every industry,” says Begert, “but most places that have a long customer service queue right now are absolutely interested in hiring people with a hospitality background. Asking them to look at candidates with hospitality skills is a relatively easy sell.”

2. You’re in control of what’s next

For those with customer-facing hospitality experience, coronavirus and our economic recovery can seem like a career crossroads. 

Should you stay in hospitality, or branch out in a different direction? According to Eric Begert, prospects for both options look pretty good. 

If you enjoy the hospitality industry and want to get back to it, you’re in good shape in the short term. “Other industries can help you pick up some contract work and steady income on a short-term basis,” says Begert. 

If you’re interested in taking a first step in a new career, Begert says, “Many of the contract positions open now have good prospects for permanent hiring later.”

Regardless of where you end up, your hospitality experience can help you build new skills and gain experience in a new environment. 

3. Your opportunities come with potential perks

Hospitality shifts and schedules can vary. A lot. 

“Customer service can also be 24/7,” says Begert, “but it tends to be a little more regular than hospitality.” Whether you’re looking to reorient your hours to daylight shifts, or still work at night with more reliable scheduling, a more predictable schedule is a perk of contract work.

Exposure to new software and processes that can diversify your professional skill set is another perk. 

So is extending your professional network. “For people who’ve worked in hospitality,” says Begert, “it’s cool to be able to work with co-workers in a range of roles you wouldn’t find in a single hotel location — all of a sudden there’s a whole marketing department, an accounting department, and you’re talking with these people and solving problems together.” 

Contract positions in customer service can also be a great first step in long-term career growth. “We call customer service the ‘feeder system’ for corporate career growth,” says Begert. “Because nobody in the company knows the products like customer service reps, so they’re often the first place these companies look for internal hires and promotions.”

4. Your application materials only need a few tweaks

“Candidates with hospitality experience want to know if they’re even qualified for these other positions,” says Begert. “Usually they are, it’s just a question of knowing what the new company is looking for.”

Since hospitality skills are in demand elsewhere, all you need to make yourself an attractive candidate is a little coaching. Begert says, “Review your experience in the hospitality industry and just highlight anything that proves your skill.” 

This could be a quantity measurement like number of calls answered, reservations made or actions coordinated in a given shift. Or it could be more quality-based, such as employee of the month awards, one-touch problem resolution or any especially difficult conflicts you had to go a little off script to solve.

Mention achievements such as these in your application materials, and be prepared to describe them in more detail during interviews.

5. You’ll continue to make adjustments

Customer service work is different from hospitality work. Sometimes significantly. 

“Not everybody is happy to work in a more office-like setup sitting in a chair for an eight-hour shift,” says Begert. But that’s an adjustment many of us have been forced to make.

COVID-19 has been an equalizer in that regard — we’re all going through it together. 

While hospitality has been hit hard by the coronavirus and its aftermath, many front-of-house workers with experience in this industry have fairly promising options, both in the short term and the long term.

To find out which opportunities may be the right fit for you, consult our job board.