You...managing your own hotel.....yes you can...but how do you get ready? The Hospitality Industry is fast becoming the largest employer in the world. It offers possibilities that bring you to places you have only dreamt about and job choices that will drag out your full creative potential. They are endless and the talents required are so varied that anyone can find a place...Well, almost anyone. We've all met the occasional doofus who should never have left the parking lot! With a degree, the places and choices become even more attractive and the salaries and perks more enticing.
You can build on your present skills, too. What is attractive about this industry is that it offers you a place, no matter where you are at now, on your career ladder. And there are so many ways of adding a degree that there is no excuse if your eyes go wide at the prospects. How do you go about this?
Assess your current capabilities, degrees, diplomas, certificates and other training. List your academic achievements with the corresponding year and institutions you enrolled in. Remember the part time courses and training you got at work. It can all count in portfolio assessment. As well, list all your experiences up to now that have any relevance to the hospitality industry: camp work, retail and customer service, helping with sales events, Tony's Pizza, whatever.
Create your personal portfolio. This details all your skills with recommendations from former colleagues and bosses or experts you have worked with. If you are creative, add pictures of what you've made. Get copies of your diplomas, academic records, and certificates of courses, degrees, training you have taken and completed. Include some recommendations and citations from your teachers or trainers. Prepare a number of copies so you are ready to present these papers to institutions you are interested in.
Identify the top five areas in the hospitality industry where your interest and capabilities are strongest. Sometimes, your experience may be strongest in front desk management (meeting folks) but you really want to get into food and beverage. With a good list, you open up more chances. Ever do a bit of management? Think about housekeeping or even maintenance supervision. Often, the areas you choose tend to be related so there aren't that many adjustments to make.
If you're thinking about schools, list your own criteria. Consider factors like location, cost, style, visibility and experience. You can look into Ecole Hotelier de Lausane in Switzerland, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, George Brown and Humber College in Toronto or in your locality; there might be a Don Bosco School for Hospitality Management. Sometimes, given the particular requirements of the place, hotels may prefer schools with better local knowledge and actual experience in the industry particular to the area.
If you're thinking about work now, use your network. Go through the folks you know or your family knows and find out who knows who in the hospitality industry. Someone has a cousin who has an uncle...etc., etc. Widen your search. Talk to 5 people in the industry in your target areas if you can. Look into their background. Compare this with yours and start beefing up that portfolio. And work the Internet. The biggies have great web sites and they are always hunting for talent.
Have your portfolio assessed. Visit a career center or local college in your area that does this kind of assessment. If not, send your portfolio to your target institutions and ask them if you meet their requirements. This is the most direct way to know your acceptability to the program.
Enroll in the program. Formal studies are not just for the degree. You get hands- on experience in the best ones and you build a network for the future. When you enroll in a part time hospitality management training program, chances are that several in your class have families who own small hotels. Others may be currently in big chains and are being sponsored. In some cases, the program itself connects you to hotels and resorts where you can practice your newly earned hospitality management know-how.
Explore non-formal learning channels. All hotels recruit management trainees and, at times, they don't limit themselves to graduates of hospitality management programs. When they see that you have management potential, they may just give you a break and put you in as an understudy to one of their current managers. This is a valuable experience so you should be aggressive in hunting for these opportunities the moment you start working in this industry.
Go for online courses. There are a number of reputable online courses you can enroll in while you are working. This way, you are able to study and, at the same time, improve your experience. This is, often, more effective as you get to practice immediately on the job whatever you learn. Also, this enables you to get courses where you want regardless of your location. Moreover, this is more merciful to your budget.
Given that this industry is one of the fast growing employers internationally, your chances of getting the job you really want are good. Stop dreaming. Get on with it.