Help yourself to a job in hospitality

The vacancy sign for jobs at hotels, resorts and on cruise ships across the country is blinking bright right now. There’s no better time to make a reservation for an interview in the travel and tourism industry.

Hotels and resorts are hiring again, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In 2012, travel and tourism employed more than 14.6 million people. That’s one in every eight U.S. jobs. Furthermore, there’s an average of 55,000 new jobs added per month since January 2013 compared to an average of 30,000 per month in 2012. The food and beverage sector saw the most growth adding 75,000 new jobs in June 2013.

From servers to creative mixologists to technology workers, the jobs are out there. It’s up to you to figure out how much education or experience you want to get under your belt so you can climb the ladder of success in this industry.

Gigs such as servers and housekeepers don’t require a college degree, and you can make some pretty good money dishing out fancy grub to the hotel guests. Chefs and bartenders can be trained on the job, but a certificate from a culinary or bartending school may get you mixing it up and earning a paycheck faster than someone who learned to flip burgers at Jack in the Box.

Max Lister, a grad of Santana High School attended the Mixology Bartending Academy in Del Cerro a few years ago and now slings drinks full-time at an upscale, celebrity-studded bar in Los Angeles.

“I was earning money for college at Applebees and found I loved working behind the bar and shooting the sh*t with my customers. I finished college and then took this course and got hired working as a bartender in like two weeks up in LA,” Lister said. “I love it. It’s pretty much stress-free, and I make great money. Sometimes I hire out for private parties when I want to take a vacation. Believe me, I graduated with a degree in accounting, but this is what I will do until I can’t open a bottle of wine anymore.”

Other jobs such as in management require some schooling as well: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an 8% rate of growth in employment of lodging managers from 2010 to 2020, slightly higher than the rate of growth for managers, in general. The greatest rate of growth is anticipated in large, full-service lodging properties that offer additional services, such as casinos or convention centers.

Katie Morgan, originally of Vista, graduated from Johnson & Wales University, a hospitality college in Providence, Rhode Island, with a degree in hotel and lodging management and found herself recruited by Hyatt before she even graduated.

“I was in sales and then rose up the ladder and I was assistant manager of a Hyatt in Manhattan before I was 30,” she said. “It was pretty stressful so I found a job at a resort in Napa that I’ll start in January. That I have the education in the industry to go from one property to another so easily makes me feel confident that I chose the right career.”

Other schools that offer degrees in the hospitality industry are Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and San Diego State University.

Brianna Shorter attended Johnson and Wales after graduating from SDSU with a BA in English, thinking she was going to teach first-graders. Instead, she became an event planner. After graduating from the hospitality school she found herself putting on parties for the NFL and for ESPN. She is leaving for Russia after the holidays to be a part of the event planning team for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“I thought I might work in a hotel or manage a restaurant, but this industry has so many different types of opportunities,” Shorter said. “I used to plan parties when I was a teenager for friends, and I found my niche. People need to open their eyes to this industry, because there is money and adventures to be made. I’m just glad I didn’t go to beauty school instead like my mom suggested.”

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