Successful Career Planning in the Hospitality Industry

download (55)The economy is expected to continue creating jobs for workers at all levels of education and training. Occupations that require a post secondary award (an associate’s degree) are estimated to have faster growth rates than occupations requiring less education or training.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) Tourism revenues are expected to rise by 42 per cent from 2007 to 2017. Every year, more than 3 million tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Despite short- and medium-term setbacks, tourism revenues are expected to rise by 42 per cent from 2007 to 2017.

FHRAI is committed to promote and protect the interests of the Hospitality Industry by actively seeking better privileges and more concessions for the Industry. FHRAI members are always kept abreast with the latest trade information and trends, statistical analysis and reports on various topics that have a direct impact on the Industry, government notifications and circulars. FHRAI helps the Hospitality Industry to grow, prosper and keep in pace with the developments in the International scenario.

FHRAI is truly the voice of the Hospitality Industry that brings several million dollars to the exchequer and employs more than 15 million direct workers.

Job Prospects

Many avenues are open to a hotel management graduate. Not only in the hotels but various other fields like;

• Airline

• Cruise line

• Travel and Tour

• Restaurants

• Bars

• Fast food chains

• Catering industry (Institution, Railway and hospitals)

• Highway Motels

• Amusement Parks and Malls

• Multiplexes

• Hotel & Tourism Institutes

• Self employment, are to name a few.

High turnover is a key challenge in the hospitality industry. Employers have difficulty finding workers who possess basic “soft skills,” which are often a prerequisite for success in a customer service-oriented field. English proficiency is a key challenge because a large percentage of the hospitality workforce does not speak English as their primary language.

With the hospitality industry’s growth rate increasing, the importance of finding good employees, especially young workers, is a high priority. Historically, the hospitality industry has drawn heavily from the young labor pool to meet their workforce needs, but in recent years the industry has been left with an insufficient pipeline of new skilled workers to satisfy the demand.

Successful Career Planning in Hospitality

Successful career planning is very tempting for everyone. Planning of a good career involves many decisions. What will help you to make a good decision? A good decision making model. All you need to have a good vision statement which will help you to find what is it you want to do and for whom. Once you identify this it is easier to make out your right decision.

Most of us are not well trained in decision making. Most of our decisions are made by our parents or relatives or friends. And we follow them, because we are influenced by these outside factors to believe strongly that “experience is the best teacher.” Many a time experience is quite expensive. Developing a good decision making module and using a good process will lead you to achieve your desired goal.

A good career planning process will have the following steps:

• Decision Making

• Know yourself

• Narrow your options

• Chose the right job

• Execute

Decision Making: A good decision making is an essential skill for career success. If you can learn to make timely and well-considered decisions, then it can lead you to spectacular and well-deserved success. All of us have to make decisions every day. Some decisions are relatively straightforward and simple while others are quite complex. Simple decision needs a simple decision making process. But difficult or complex decisions usually involve issues like uncertainty, complexity, high – risk, alternatives, and interpersonal issues. With these difficulties in mind, the best way is to use an effective process. Clear processes usually lead to consistent, high-quality results, and they can improve the quality of almost everything we do.

Every hospitality student’s career dream is to become a Hotel General Manager. Becoming a Hotel General Manager may be an objective for your career, but first you have to understand ‘what is it you want to do and for whom.’ Ideally, career planning is more than just finding a job. A process shows you what you want to do for the rest of your life. You need to find out what is right for you without being influenced by others. Because some people still have negative image of hospitality industry, and may discourage you.

Know yourself: You need to know yourself before you search for a job. Understanding yourself will help you to find out the best job for your abilities. Knowing yourself in essence, you understand your strengths, weaknesses, interests, values, and personality. Knowing yourself includes classifying your skills, interests, values, personality type, and developing a vision statement.

Know your skills: Start creating a list of your achievements and accomplishments. Do not restrict only with your professional or technical knowledge. Be extensive and cover everything from your school days accomplishments, hobbies, extracurricular activities, problem-solving abilities, project management etc. This list will be an excellent start and help you creating your resume. The root causes of these accomplishments are your strengths.

Interests: Identify your interests in relation to the opportunities and demands of the hospitality industry. It is essential to identify interests that have connection with the hospitality industry such as traveling, cooking, meeting people, organizing events, participation in team activities, and learning languages. Sincere interest and genuine enthusiasm are keen factors for successful career.

Values: Values are the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, good and bad. They also tell us which are more or less important, and which is useful. You should examine your values during the self assessment process. Trying to answer the question “what matters most to me?” working in a large group or a small group, high risk or security, working individually or working with a team, multicultural or homogeneous environment, long work hours with few holidays or eight hours of work with weekends and holidays, can be very thought provoking.

Personality type: Knowing what type of personality you are and what are your psychological preferences and finding a career which suits you will make you more successful and you will gain more satisfaction from the career. There are many tools available on the web to find what type of personality you are.

Vision Statement: Creating your personal vision or mission statement is the blue print for all your career planning. A vision statement can help you in every step of your career. It is a statement written to inspire you and not to impress anyone else. Your vision statement will answer the question “what do I want to do and for whom?”

Narrow your options: Now that you understand yourself, it is time for you to narrow down the options available for you. Begin by asking: What you feel is your dream job? Which company or group will be suitable for you? What kind of work you would like to do? Once you answer these questions, find out more about specific companies by networking, reading industry related magazines etc. Try to get the detailed picture of the company with the information on their top management, mission statement, the objectives, their growth, policies, career ladder of the company, and their past performance. This information will help you significantly during the interviews.

It is mandatory in many institutes in India offering hotel management course to send their students for industrial exposure to gain first hand knowledge and industry experience. There are many potential benefits for students as well as the organization. While the student gets hands on real life experience, the organization gets the opportunity to judge the enthusiastic students and plan for recruitment. Even the student decides his or her department of preference during this period. Student should try and get the full benefit of the training period by learning more information about the industry and its career opportunities while doing their training.

Choose the right Job: Now that you have determined who you are and what are your options, you need to compare the two to see where there is overlap. Which occupation, organization, career choice fit your values, interests, personality, and vision? You will need to narrow it down to three or four. Look for realistic career path that lead from this job. What are the job advancement opportunities? What would be the compensation package? What are the long term benefits from the organization? What kind of training you will be receiving? More often this information will be made available from the presentation and during the interviewing process.

Where you work can have enormous effect on how you work. Many hotels expect you to relocate for promotions and career growth. Moving away from your family and friends might affect your job performance due to homesickness. Having chosen the hospitality as your career, it is suggested that you need to be flexible and mobile.

Execute: Getting a job is purely and simply a sales process. You are selling yourself. The buyer (hotel) will hire you only when satisfied with you. You need to be a good salesman during the process of discussion or interview. Some of the points mentioned above in this article will help you to project you significantly. It is time to create a personal sales plan based on the marketing research you’ve already done.

Creating an effective Resume: An excellent resume may not guarantee a job offer, but a poor resume may prevent one.

The Resume helps you in many ways

• They help you to obtain employment interviews.

• They allow you to emphasize your talents and accomplishments.

• The help the recruiters to remember you and your capabilities and or influence hiring decisions.

Resume is a marketing tool. The main components of an effective resume are:

• Personal details

• Educational details

• Professional experience

• Special skills, talents and honors.

A resume is only effective if it produces the desired result – a call letter for an interview.

Interviewing Better: After coming through all the hurdles of the selection process, you will eventually arrive at an interview. This is of course, a major obstacle for many job applicants. Although they may have the qualifications, experience and a proven track record, they may lose out to a candidate who ‘interviews better.’ So what does ‘interviewing better’ actually mean? It comes down to the candidate being well prepared and confident. A candidate who can answer questions in a way which is acceptable (but not necessarily right) to the interviewer, someone who knows something about their potential employers business and the post they hope to fill.

These are really the basic components of any candidate who ‘interviews well’. There are undoubtedly other aspects employers may look for in relation to specific posts – having their own ideas, articulate, thinking on their feet, aspects which will be related to the job and to the company’s preference in employees. The employer will also be looking to fill a post, which has a particular job specification – in other words personal aspects besides the experience, and qualifications that can be put down on paper. The interviewer will set out to ascertain that the candidate has these personal qualities, skills and abilities the company requires. These two essential ingredients are interlinked. Good preparation instills confidence. So the basic approach to an interview is to be well prepared.

This means two things –

– preparing yourself practically for the interview, and

– gathering knowledge and information you can draw on during the interview

Points to Remember:

• Be sure you know the time, date and location of the interview and name of interviewer where appropriate.

• Check out how you will get to the location, and when you need to set off to be there in good time – do a dummy run if necessary. Plan to get there no earlier than half an hour before the interview time, anticipate delays.

• Have what you are going to wear ready in advance – everything down to your underwear.

• Do not go to the interview laden down with baggage – psychological as well as physical.

• Take the bare minimum of belongings necessary.

• Concentrate on the interview at the interview – nothing else

• If you are asked to bring certificates, references etc, get them ready before the day.

• Take your interview letter.

• On arrival ensure the receptionist knows you are there, visit the toilets to tidy up etc.

• If you are well organized and have planned for the day your confidence will increase

Few General Rules:

• Speak up when answering questions.

• Answer briefly, but try to avoid yes or no answers.

• Don’t worry about pausing before you answer, it shows you can think and are not

spitting out the sound bites you learned!

• Don’t worry about admitting you don’t know – but keep this to a bare minimum.

• Don’t embellish answers or lie! Be as honest as possible.

• Be prepared for hypothetical situation questions; take your time on these.

• Be prepared for the unexpected question that’s designed to see how you cope with the unexpected.

• If you ask questions keep them brief during the interview, remember you’re the interviewee.

Grooming tips:

• Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor, lean slightly towards the interviewer.

• Don’t play with your hair or you hands. Keep them out of pockets!

• Try not to create defensive barriers between you and them, like a brief case on your knees, folded arms or crossed legs. even if you feel you need to. It’s natural, but your interviewer will not physically attack!

• Maintain natural eye contact with the interviewer – that is maintaining eye contact, but do not stare like a snake!

• If there is more than one interviewer, look at who’s talking.

• When you are talking, shift your glance from one to the other.

• Do not over use your hands, if you are a natural gesticulator.

• Do not squirm and fidget.

Obeying these rules will allow the interviewers to concentrate on you, and not what you are doing in the interview. Body language conveys all sorts of messages, and the right body language will convey the message of a well-balanced and confident individual… even if you are not!

The success or failure of your professional development lies entirely on you. No one else knows your skills, interests and values as well as you do. Nor can anyone measure the development activities that will be effective for you.