Getting your first job in hospitality may be a daunting prospect, but it is much easier than it seems. There are thousands of job openings for entry level jobs like wait staff, kitchen porters, front of house staff, baristas and many more that require no previous experience and offer on the job training. Many hotels and tourism businesses offer internships that let you test the waters in the industry to see if it’s the right fit for you.
Finding the right job depends on what you are good at and what you enjoy. For example, if you are outgoing and confident, able to multitask and cool under pressure, you’ll be right at home in a front of house role. But if you feel more comfortable behind the scenes and you’re an exceptional organiser, you might find a hotel administrative assistant role is more up your street.
How to find and apply for hospitality jobs
There are many methods to finding a job, all it takes is some time, dedication and motivation.
One of the best ways that young people find their first job is by asking friends and family if they know any business owners or managers who work in hospitality. Your personal network is one of the best ways to get an introduction for an informal interview, meaning you won’t have to compete with others for a job offer.
Another key method for job hunting is to find available vacancies online and apply to them directly. You should look for roles that state “no experience needed” where possible, as it will be much more likely that you will be considered for these roles. It is best not to apply for roles that you aren’t qualified or experienced enough for, as your application will likely be thrown out.
And finally, the underrated method; getting out there and asking directly. Make a list of all the hospitality businesses that you would like to work in, and go visit them! Ask to speak to a manager, or simply ask if they are hiring at the moment. It’s a good idea to bring a pen and a handful of CVs with you, that way you are prepared to fill in an application form or hand them a CV then and there if they are hiring.
How to do well in interviews
Once you finish applying for all the jobs you can, hopefully you will have secured an interview or 2. Now comes the hard part; acing the interview.
Interviews can be stressful, especially if you’ve never done one before, but they aren’t as nerve wracking once you get started. Typically you will be interviewed by a manager of the business you are applying for. Make sure to answer their questions as thoroughly and clearly as possible, and make sure you ask a few questions yourself to show that you are really interested in the job and the business.
It may help to have someone practice interviewing you so that you can get used to answering questions on the spot and get comfortable with the interview setup. Although don’t over practice, as this will make your answers sound rehearsed and disingenuous.
Interviews for roles like wait staff or baristas may involve a practice shift for an hour or so, seeing how you perform on the job. This is often the best way to show that you are comfortable and competent enough to do the job. Don’t let nerves take over; a manager or supervisor will generally be observing you the whole time, so if you make a mistake don’t panic as they can fix it for you.
It may take a few interviews to land a job, but once you do you’ll feel incredibly proud! Work hard, show you care and go the extra mile, and you could see your first job turn into a fully fledged career in a few years!