What you may not realize is that today’s hospitality leaders are looking for ambition and personality as much as experience. The latter can be taught, but the former has to be baked in from the start.
It’s a performance industry. That’s how you hear hospitality described by those inside it. So don’t be surprised by the lack of response if you’re looking to get into the hospitality industry and all you’re doing is sending out emails with a résumé attached.
New talent moving in, and experienced talent moving up, do so in the hospitality industry in a much different fashion than other fields. Here, it’s more about forming professional relationships that allow potential employers – or possible business opportunities – to see how you operate.
Everybody starts as a nobody
It’s one of those chicken-or-the-egg quandaries. How can you establish peer relationships if you don’t know anybody? Don’t you have to be somebody before anybody networks with you?
Time to get moving on your social media presence. There’s often no better way to meet people than these online conduits. At least, for the initial introduction. The rest happens in person.
When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile?
Having a robust social media presence can mean many things, but in this case, it simply means that you proactively engage with people in the industry. This is no time to be a wallflower. Seek out people online who impress you and stalk them. Via social media, of course.
If they’re giving the keynote presentation at a convention that’s not open for you, look for volunteer opportunities offered by the presenting organization. After the presentation, make your way over with that tray of hors d’oeuvres and introduce yourself.
We all have to start out somewhere. What you may not realize is that today’s hospitality leaders are looking for ambition and personality as much as experience. The latter can be taught, but the former has to be baked in from the start.
More on ambition
The hospitality industry orbits around communication and customer experience. Few fields rely as much on personality as this industry. And, like ambition, the ability to carry yourself professionally and socially will determine how well you ultimately succeed in your career.
You might say that networking is your proving ground. Insider events are your regular tests. It’s your opportunity to meet people face to face. Remember that it’s all about establishing relationships. The hospitality industry bestows massive importance on creating relationships and memorable experiences with customers.
You won’t have the opportunity to try out your experience-making skills on customers until after you’ve made favorable impressions on your industry peers.
Everybody’s watching, even when you think they aren’t
To outsiders, it’s a pretty cool industry. Getting paid to show people a good time. Those in the industry, however, know you have to work hard to make it look like play. The most successful people in the hospitality industry are some of the hardest-working people you’ll ever meet, and they know they can’t do it alone.
They’re always on the lookout for someone who’s got the chops to match their steps. That’s why you should never underestimate your engagements and conversations with others in the hospitality industry.
You may not realize who’s eavesdropping on your conversation while appearing not to be paying any attention. And you have no idea who you’ve approached and engaged in an informal chat whose got the ear of someone very influential. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at an industry event or talking about your approach to customer satisfaction in an online forum.
The mic is always on. The network is always paying attention.