A career in hospitality can open countless doors to success, opportunity, new social connections and new adventures. But the paths through this exciting career field aren’t completely obstacle-free. And not every entry-level job in the hospitality sector guarantees a secure future or a lifetime of perfect fulfillment.
Before you commit yourself to the hospitality industry by signing up for a degree program or setting long-term career goals, consider some of the risks that come with the territory.
Career Risks: Entering the Hospitality Field with Clear Eyes
- Presentation is everything. In this field, appearances are important, and one great or terrible first impression can make or break your career. Your attention to presentation can even have a powerful impact on the success or failure of your employer’s business. One mistake, bad day, misstep, skipped detail or thoughtless word to a client or customer can lead to disproportionate PR problems and lost revenue.
- Consumer preferences are consistently inconsistent. Hotels and restaurants hinge on trends and shifting consumer tastes, which can bring sudden and unexpected changes to even the most carefully laid business plan. If local authorities decided to reroute a road that once ran past a thriving establishment, for example, a successful hospitality business can disappear in a heartbeat. If a local attraction closes, community resources shift or a nearby convention center changes its business model, those who depend on hospitality revenue will need to stay flexible.
- Hospitality careers are both demanding and competitive. This means entry-level employees will need to scramble to get their resumes noticed, and the scramble doesn’t stop once an offer is made. Success in hospitality requires commitment and focus, and if you can’t provide what your employer needs, you can be sure that someone else is waiting in line to step into your shoes.
- Hospitality skills are social and outward-focused. Do you have what it takes to impress people, charm them, remember their names, really listen when they talk and go out of your way to provide them with the things they need and want? If you can do this all day, every day, you’ll thrive in the hospitality field. But these skills require high levels of energy and extroversion. Those who actively enjoy the company of others and look forward to making new connections every day will climb the hospitality ladder quickly. Those who are shy or closed off will probably struggle.
- Hospitality demands resilience. To make it in this industry, you’ll need to be able to bounce back fast from rough days, mistakes and financial losses. A positive outlook is worth more than gold in the hospitality business and successful employees learn from their mistakes and move on; they don’t brood, give up or wallow in self-doubt. As you step into this field, be ready to maintain an indestructible sense of optimism and a willingness to take risks in order to get ahead.
Get Ready to Tackle the Challenges
If you aren’t deterred by the risks listed above and you’re ready to jump into the hospitality field with both feet, fantastic. If these challenges only increase your interest, even better. Before you start polishing your resume and submitting your application to potential employers, visit Live Career for industry news, contacts and hospitality specific job-search tools. Good luck!