Achieving your dream career in the hospitality sector

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The Aspen Grille in Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center, and the hospitality management program features a special menu by Chef Garrett Overlee, the new chef instructor at the Aspen Grille Restaurant, December 1, 2011.

The hospitality sector is booming worldwide and shows tremendous potential for further growth. Thanks to its diversity, it offers numerous career paths that reflect its dynamic, often vibrant nature. If you are seeking a job that is challenging, inspiring and highly rewarding, then you should consider a career in the hospitality industry.

You have probably heard of world-famous family-owned ventures such as the Hilton or Marriott group of hotels. However, there are some individuals who have also made a name for themselves in the hospitality sector. You can draw inspiration from the example of Steve Wynn of Vegas. Mr. Wynn, the CEO of Wynn Resorts, played a role in the resurgence and expansion of the Las Vegas Strip. He took a chance and invested in what was considered a high-risk venture and this paid off handsomely. The hospitality industry has many opportunities for you to build a thriving career. You just need a clear vision, hard work and the right experience and training.

Hospitality careers and areas of work

Areas of work in hospitality include jobs in hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, casinos, bars, pubs, clubs as well as health and fitness centers. They may also include positions in event and conference management.

The hospitality industry is closely related to the tours and travel or leisure industries and you can branch off to these areas as well. For instance, you can venture into adventure tourism or work as a travel agent, booking interesting tours for clients or as a tour guide, showing your clients the sights and sounds of various cities.

If your heart is set on working in a hotel, you can become a hotel manager, Maître d’, hotel clerk, bellhop, concierge or part of the housekeeping staff. There are also numerous opportunities available in the entertainment part of the business, where you can work as a gaming dealer or as an events organizer. If your passion is in food preparation and service, then you may have a career as a chef or baker, or you can decide to take several other jobs related to the industry.

Most people who think about careers in the hospitality sector usually only focus on the front-line work forgetting that there is a corporate side to it. On the business side, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with market analysis, international expansion, finance and accounting as well as strategy work.

Qualifications needed

When seeking a position in the hospitality industry, you will need relevant qualifications to prove your commitment to recruiters. A solid education background will also allow you to put your foot on a higher rung on the career ladder. Generally, you will need a certificate, diploma, degree or masters in a hospitality related field. Your area of specialization will of course depend on the type of career you wish to pursue in the sector.

Work experience is also vital to help you get a taste of the industry and assist you in deciding which area is best for you. You can master the basics and boost your career prospects by getting experience while still studying, either in the evenings, over weekends or during the holidays.

Essential skills

While you will definitely need to be a people-person to succeed in hospitality, you ought to bring other skills to the table. You need to sharpen your communication, organizational, language and detail-orientation skills. Furthermore, you should be passionate and flexible in your job while being an effective team player.

As you embark on your dream career in the hospitality sector, be prepared to work very hard in whichever position you choose. With the right balance of enthusiasm, determination and industry experience, your hospitality career is sure to be a fulfilling one.