Many students find that their introduction to working life is way before their graduation day. For many of the students who work for Brightsparks, the pay they receive for work in our event and hospitality side is a vital source of the funds they require to be able to get through university; to pay to live and study as well as to party!
The demands on the students will vary from role to role – working in a bar requires stamina and a smile, tutoring schoolchildren requires endless patience, working in a factory demands muscle power, but there are certain sorts of roles that require a whole range of skills that will be vital in a future career.
Working in (corporate) hospitality is one of these roles.
Far from being a mindless monotony, the demands on students working in the hospitality sector are considerable and varied. The expectations are on a level with that of professionals in the sector, so there is an incredibly steep learning curve. If you don’t meet the standards, you may not be invited back the next day and you certainly won’t receive any tips!
Hospitality teaches students some fantastic life and work lessons; it is one of the reasons we do so much work in the sector.
We work with students through their university careers, and the top performers go on to have fantastic careers in all sorts of sectors. How do we know? Well, we place them in their careers once they have graduated too.
The primary benefit of taking on a grad who has excelled in the hospitality sector during their student days is that you know they will have honed their people skills. It is one thing sitting in a draughty university room debating some dusty text, it is another thing entirely juggling a hundred and one tasks in a room of expectant customers. Performing under pressure is a key part of your first job – hospitality will teach you that in spades.
The focus on customer service is not only about external customers. Many grads start in business thinking about themselves and their needs, but they have an office full of people with whom they must work. One key reason for a grad failing to integrate into their first company is their inability to realise that their internal customers (their colleagues) are just as important as their external customers.
Grads also take their first steps in management in these roles. They must manage each other as well as their supervisors, making split-second decisions and keeping the clients at the front of their mind at all times. These hospitality roles rarely involve a purely one-to-one relationship – doing a great job nearly always involves working with others to make it happen.
Maybe the final point to make is the personality that you require to turn up at work with a smile on your face every day.
Hospitality can be a grind if you don’t have a relentlessly positive attitude. If you start your first proper job with this sort of attitude, the sky is the limit.