Having just written a résumé for a part-time actor and musician, and full-time bar owner I decided to write an article on pursuing opportunities in the exciting and bustling world of the hospitality industry.
For sure, there is no shortage of high-end restaurants, clubs, and theaters in New York. With those things come a never ending flurry of visitors – from all over the world. If you are one that loves the nightlife, loves to boogie and is considered to be royalty of social networking by friends and family alike, then perhaps a career in hospitality is just the thing for you. You will use all of your networking and social skills, relationship building capabilities, organization and detail orientation, and extroverted nature in a professional role in hotel and restaurant management.
Working in a management capacity in a hotel or restaurant requires the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. You must exhibit exceptional customer service skills and the ability to motivate a staff. A big component of the position is leveraging social skills to engage customers and generate new business. Of course, you also must be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of how to increase sales and drive profits. In this position you will no doubt come into contact with a diverse and dynamic group of people from all walks of life. There is plenty of room for advancement. Be aware though that this is not a traditional 9-5 job, and will require weekend work and extended hours.
Education: Johnson & Wales University, New England Culinary Institute, and Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America are just a few of the top-ranked schools with programs dedicated to careers in the hospitality arena.
Academic training is very important; but experience is the best teacher in this field. In order to be well rounded and really develop an understanding of the expectations necessary for success, consider working in the industry early on to really give you a flavor of what it takes to prepare you for a management role within a restaurant or hotel. This practical business knowledge combined with classroom experiences will help round out your skills and reduce the learning curve once a full-time position is obtained. There is nothing like first hand experience to help you fully understand expectations.
Practical Training: To build the experience, consider getting a position as server or bartender, which will give you a strong understanding of front of house operations and customer service. It will also be important to learn what goes on behind the scenes. For that, you might consider spending some time in the kitchen. You will definitely come to understand the meaning of timeliness, and when the time comes to manage a restaurant, you will have greatly improved knowledge of what needs to happen in the kitchen to ensure a smooth running operation. Working in a hotel? Try a front desk position to gain the full customer service experience. There is a lot of troubleshooting that takes place in the role, and you will certainly develop improved problem resolution skills.
Salary Information: What can you expect to earn? There are a lot of variables when you consider that there are different disciplines within the industry overall. If you are young in the restaurant business with about two to four years of experience the average salary ranges from approximately $30,000 to $42,900; with four to six years of experience you can earn as much as $54,000; if you work in the hotel industry, after seven years the salary jumps to between $64,500 and $119,000. You can even earn well into the six figures – especially if you work for a higher end establishment and advance your knowledge of fine wine through a certificate or other programs. Naturally, where you live and the type of establishment you work for play a big role in determining salary.
Resources: EHS Hospitality Group is a well-known large company that places candidates in restaurant and hotel management positions. Read about them on the web. You can also check out Global Hospitality Executive Recruiters or Gecko Hospitality.
Debra Wheatman, president of Careers Done Write, is globally recognized as an expert in advanced career search techniques.
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