10 Transferable Skills From The Hospitality Industry
Hospitality And Tourism are some of the sectors which were most harshly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic of early 2020.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the tourism industry accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP and jobs would shrink by an estimated 25% by the end of 2020 and “shed 50 million jobs”.
This is insane, 50 million jobs lost?
If you are like me, you are one of those 50 million, and you are probably wondering what to do.
The good news is that hospitality is such a wide sector, and the skills that you have learnt in this industry, can definitely be applied elsewhere. One month ago I was in this same situation, but I used my tourism skills (especially my customer service skills) to get a job in Sales for an american company that does nothing similar to hospitality.
If you think that your job was very specific and it’s impossible for a career change, you are wrong. You are probably finding yourself applying for jobs which require years of experience in the same field, and probably you feel a bit demotivated.
But don’t worry, because if you follow what I am about to tell you, you will be able to use your very own unique skills as leverage to get hired at a new non-hospitality job, and stand out from the crowd, even when you don't have all the required experience.
Keep reading below to find out which skills to focus on when talking to your new employer if you are coming from the hospitality industry, and how to leverage them.
#1. People Skills
This is an easy one. You cannot work in hospitality and not have people skills. What does “people skills” actually mean?
You could literally apply this skill to any industry, so what are you waiting for?
In your cover letter, highlight all the experiences you had which contributed to building your “people skills”, made you a great listener, problem solver and communicator.
If you have a job interview, focus on these qualities and give examples of how your people skills could help you (and the company) at your new job. Mention how you have helped a client in the past.
It is definitely possible to get a good job outside of hospitality, but you need to use your transferable skills to compensate for the lack of experience!
#2. Calm Under Pressure
If you worked in hospitality, I am sure you experienced some sort of crisis at the workplace.
Whether a room wasn’t clean at check-in time, or the appetizer took 30 minutes to be served or the wifi wasn’t working in the suite... problems in hotels occur every day, and you have to deal with this by staying calm and KEEP SMILING.
Staying calm under pressure is not easy, but when you are facing a client, it has to be done.
This is a great skill to possess and can be applied to any other job, just remember to mention how your past experience helped you build this skill and give examples of times you stayed completely calm in a stressful situation while trying to find a solution.
I am sure you and I can agree on one thing - good communication is probably the most important and hardest thing to achieve in a workplace - not mention in a hotel.
While you are naturally a great communicator - because of your customer service skills - you are also aware that creating a strong communication between teams and departments is essential.
You have experienced it first hand, so don’t be afraid of mentioning this in your next interview!
Because of the covid-19 pandemic, more and more companies nowadays are hiring remotely, and you might need to work from home.
In a virtual, remote environment, communication is more important than ever! Companies who hire remotely are looking for people like you, great communicators who can keep them informed about their every step.
They don’t want to hire someone that disappears for a few days, or even hours - however productive they might be: if you work from home, you need to be a good communicator!
So it is imperative that you leverage this point in your cover letter and in your next interview, and explain how working in tourism helped you become a great communicator to both guests and coworkers.
#4. Problem Solving
The difference between problem solving in hospitality or any other industry is that (generally speaking) the problems you are facing while working in a hotel are always new problems you never dealt with before, or need to be solved asap.
This should make you a great candidate compared to others who never experienced dealing with issues first hand, and solving problems in a timely manner without panicking.
So use this as leverage, explain how your past career helped you develop this skill and give examples of problems you have solved in the past!
#5. Attention to Details
As a former hospitality worker, attention to detail is within you.
Whether you have been trained to notice the distance between cutleries and wine glass, or the perfect way to “fluff” a pillow, or your tone of voice on the phone, attention to details is a skill worth mentioning when applying for a new job.
You might think that telling these things to your new employer is useless and not relatable - you are wrong - it's not what you say, but how you say it, for example:
In your new job interview, don’t mention how your former housekeeping job taught you how to clean a carpet in a perfect way, or how to spot a hair on the floor from meters away. Instead mention how doing these things every day made you extremely attentive to details and very precise in everything you do.
Every job in the world involves teamwork. And who experienced teamwork better than a hospitality worker?
You have learnt the hard way how to work positively in a team, and you - out of all candidates - know that by working together, you can achieve more.
When applying to a new non-tourism related job, mention what you’ve learnt by being part of a team, but remember to state that you can also work independently.
#7. Time Management
Can you think at any moment during your hospitality job where you had to juggle so many tasks in a certain time frame?
Mmm yes, like every day? Perfect
All the stress has finally paid off, because it helped you develop your time management skills.
Employers are looking for productive people, who can provide great results in a short time frame.
In your next interview explain how working in a fast-paced environment like a hotel helped you master this skill while providing impeccable results.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the job market: more and more companies are hiring remotely, so this might happen to you too.
If you are applying for a work from home job, make sure to mention how flexible you are - and give examples.
Hospitality for sure has taught you how to be flexible: crazy shifts, last minutes changes in the schedule, holidays approved one day in advance, being called on your day off… rings a bell?
If you are looking for a job in 2020, you might want to consider applying for remote jobs, where the employer may be located on the other side of the world. These employers need to know that you are flexible and can work out-of-ordinary shifts to fit with the time change.
This is why you need to show them how flexible you are, by mentioning examples from your past experience in hospitality (without talking bad about your former employer - I know it feels good- but don’t).
#9. Dedication to the job
Similar to being flexible, you are also clearly dedicated to the job.
If you cannot think of any examples in your experience, think about a time where maybe you came to work on your day off to help a coworker, or when you went crazy just to please a customer etc…
This shows extreme dedication to the job, and your future employer will appreciate it.
#10. Hazard Awareness
If you have worked in the operations part of a hotel, you know what I am talking about. In hospitality, it is mandatory to be aware of hazards in the workplace.
If you are applying for a job in a potentially “dangerous” workplace, like a kitchen, constructions or storage facility, etc, you have to mention this!!
Being Hazard Aware can apply to any job, not only for obviously dangerous positions.
Chauffeurs, nurses, electricians, construction workers, truck drivers, pharmaceutical employees, doctors, human resources workers, and managers in general (the list can go on) : they all need to be aware of the potential hazards in the workplace!
So when applying for a job in which these skills can be useful, don’t forget to mention how your hospitality background taught you how to be aware of all hazards in the workplace.
Working in hospitality can teach you so many useful skills that can be transferred to countless jobs.
If you are a hospitality enthusiast, 2020 has probably not been a good year for you, and maybe you are considering applying for a job in a different industry.
Use the above mentioned skills as leverage to show your new employer why you are a perfect fit, even if you don’t have all of the experience in the field.
Skills like problem solving, remaining calm under pressure, communication, people skills, teamwork and flexibility are essential to work in almost any industry. And you - a former hospitality worker - have concrete experience in all of these!
So why not use this to your advantage?
Don’t let the job requirement scare you too much, instead focus on the unique qualities that make you a great candidate and leverage these to compensate for the lack of experience.
I hope this article was helpful, if you have more ideas of skills that you can transfer from the hospitality industry, leave a comment below!
Good luck :)