Ten Things I Wish Knew Before I Entered the “Real World”: Part 1

Cassandra Hale, Hyatt Recruiting Manager, recently conducted a presentation titled, “What I Wish I Would Have Known Then” at Oklahoma State University. This presentation was well received and I felt it would be perfect to share with all of you. Thanks for sharing this with us Cassie!

10. Experience it all

No matter what industry you enter into there are many facets. Take the Hospitality Industry for an example. Hospitality encompasses not only hotels, like Hyatt, but also free-standing restaurants, hospitals, retail and other customer service related businesses. When I was in college the thought of working for a hotel company never even crossed my mind. Most of us start in one area with a specific career goal and end up on a totally different path. The moral of this story is to try anything and everything, and to not shut out certain opportunities that you don’t think you would like or want to do. You will never know what you like unless you try.  Be open minded and you may come across something that ends up being your dream job just like I did.

9. Be Marketable

Developing your personal brand is like running your own business. It involves a business plan which includes your personal goals and mission statement. Make sure you are marketing yourself towards the target market in which you want to be known. This way the people you want to make an impression on know who you are and what you have to offer.  Figure out your best characteristics and continue to work on these in order to for them to become a part of your personal brand. Determine what you are naturally good at and what comes easy for you. Finding a job that allows you to utilize these strengths will help you achieve the goal of never working a day in your life.

8. Speed Dating

First impressions have a major impact and you can’t take them back. When meeting fellow associates, clients and/or others in the industry for the first time, it is important to remember to put your best self forward. Your best self should include how you present yourself in regards to your professional dress, demeanor, mannerisms, actions and words. Have your elevator speech prepared at all times to give you the confidence for these situations. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to do or say how I want to be remembered?” If you are questioning yourself in any way then that should be enough to stop you from making a comment or action that will not put you in the best light. There is a time and a place for everything and understanding what is appropriate and what is not in each situation is key.

7. You are What You Eat

Just as you should be involved in extracurricular activities during your college career, you should be involved in activities both within your company and in the community during your professional career. What you involve yourself in and attach your name to, speaks to who you are.

Most companies are involved in community efforts and have committees within their organization. Raise your hand and volunteer to be a part of these opportunities! Not only do they look good on your resume, and help you to move forward in your career, they are also great ways to network. At Hyatt, many of our entry level managers are involved with the hotel’s Green Team and Safety committee. In addition they are an integral part in the coordination and participation of community events.

6. Be True to Yourself

Finding a company that is the right fit for you is similar to Greek Rush.  During Rush you visit all the sororities or fraternities on campus in order to determine where you belong. This process should be similar to your job search.

Look at every option in the industry that you want to work. Meet  and interview with company representatives conduct research on the company and job opportunities. The people who make up a company and the culture it creates is what really sets it apart from others.

Being your true self and finding a place where that is not only appreciated but encouraged will help you find a company where you can learn and grow. The saying “fake it to make it” should not apply. Putting on an act may get your foot in the door but ultimately will not make you happy in the long run. By being your authentic self from beginning to end and exploring all of your options you can’t go wrong!


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.  Heidi visits up to 14 campuses twice a year to promote the Hyatt brand and college programs. Most recently Heidi has become involved with External Functional Recruitment for Culinary Management positions in North America. 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, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus blog at

Related posts:

  1. Ten Things I Wish Knew Before I Entered the “Real World”: Part 2
  2. Top 10 Things Companies Look For When Making Hiring Decisions: Part 1
  3. Top 10 Things Companies Look For When Making Hiring Decisions: Part 2

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