3 reasons changing direction in your hospitality career is so simple
Once a waitress, always a waitress (or cook, housekeeper, bartender, concierge or maintenance person). While this statement may have been true many decades ago, when professionals tended to learn a trade and stay put until they retired, these days it’s decidedly false. According to a study, people today change jobs an average of four times between graduating college and turning 32—nearly double the job changes of the previous generation and in only their first decade of work.
If you’d like to join them, you’re definitely in luck. While some professionals have to change industries in order to find alternate opportunities for which they’re qualified, that’s not the case for hospitality workers. Whether you want to move from the hotel front desk to the back of the house at a restaurant, or leave bartending behind for a role in guest services, changing direction in your hospitality career is simpler than you think.
1. The hospitality industry includes a vast array of jobs
Do you like nothing better than helping other people plan vacations? There’s a hospitality job for you. Do you have a knack for coordinating special events? There’s a hospitality job for you. Are you a whiz at sales? There’s a hospitality job for you. If you’re skilled in the kitchen, a gifted programmer, great with numbers or good with seniors… that’s right, there’s a hospitality job for you. Simply put, if your current hospitality position is no longer in line with your passion, it’s very likely there is another role in this enormous, complex industry that is.
2. Many of these jobs require a similar set of core skills
Regardless of the role you seek, many of the skills you’ve already developed working in hospitality should serve you well in your new position. These core skills include written and verbal communication, listening and empathy, problem-solving, adaptability, flexibility, attention to detail and teamwork.
Of course, if the position you’re coveting requires advanced technical skills as well (such as head restaurant chef), you may have to start at the bottom and work your way back up the metaphorical ladder. Don’t lose heart: you’ll still have an edge on potential hires who are new to the industry thanks to your previous hospitality experience.
3. Employers may value your fresh perspective
Take time to identify ways in which the perspective you’ve gained in your current role can benefit your employer when you take on a new position. For example, if you’ve been working as a restaurant server, you’ve learned firsthand what patrons want from a meal. This knowledge could be valuable if you’re planning to move from front of the house to a line cook or chef position in the kitchen. Or perhaps you’ve been employed as a housekeeper and now want to move to guest services. You’ve likely gained a good deal of insight into what guests consider necessities of a comfortable stay and can use that understanding to improve the experience of every hotel visitor. Make sure you communicate the value of your fresh perspective to potential employers when you begin applying for new roles.
Keep in mind a change of direction doesn’t always have to mean changing employers as well. If you think you’d like to try a new role in another department at your current organization, let your manager or supervisor know. Many hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality employers like to build employee loyalty by taking an interest in the career progression of their workers. You may discover yours offers mentorship, cross training or continuing education programs to assist you in making a transition.