Graduating seniors frequently ask, “How can I be successful in the hospitality industry?” To answer this question, I typically discuss the common struggles students face when placed into their first management position. This includes: managing seasoned associates, adapting to change and taking initiative. Although there is no way to predict someone’s success, students who are able to conquer these skills are more likely to be successful and rise to the top. As I recruit for hospitality positions, I will use some examples that relate to hospitality management.
Managing Seasoned Associates
In our industry we are very grateful to have associates who have been with us for 20, even 30 years! If you are applying for a job as a recent college grad, this can be intimidating. Not only do these associates have more experience than you, but they are most likely twice your age and have seen many managers come and go. What students need to learn right off the bat is the attitude of “I’m here to help you and learn from you” versus “I am the manager and you are the associate”. Understanding and appreciating the jobs of your associates means everything. If your employees know you will jump in, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty when they are in a bind, they will be motivated to do their best for you every day. Respect is gained when associates know you have their back and they have a voice.
Adapting to Change
The hotel business is 24/7, thus creating a work environment where adapting to change is key. Have you ever asked a Hospitality Recruiter what a day in the life at the hotel or restaurant is like? If you have, I bet they had a hard time coming up with an answer because every day is different. This is the very reason most people are attracted to the hospitality industry. Rolling with the punches, thinking on your feet, and reacting to situations calmly and quickly are expected and necessary.
Taking the Initiative
In such a fast paced industry taking the initiative as a manager is essential. You should be empowered to make decisions, but you need the confidence required to do so. There are great training programs, like Hyatt’s Corporate Management Training program, that help you get ready for this feat but no one is going to hold your hand throughout the process. You need to make the most of every opportunity. Raise your hand and volunteer when help is needed. Take advantage of learning opportunities. Soak in the wisdom of your associates and fellow managers. Make every experience count as it will only make you a stronger manager.
Making a conscience effort in these three areas may just get you noticed a bit sooner and put you on the fast track to achieving your career goals.
Heidi is one of 3 College Recruiting Managers for Hyatt. She is responsible for recruiting top talent at hospitality universities across the country, primarily for Hyatt’s Corporate Management Training program and Corporate Internship program. She earned her BS Degree in Interpersonal Communication with a minor in Business from Ohio University in 2001. Heidi has been with Hyatt for 9 years and started in the programs she now recruits for. To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit explorehyatt.jobs, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus blog at hyattrecruiting.blogspot.com.