5 networking tips for aspiring Hospitality professionals
For any young hospitality professional at the start of a promising Hospitality career, it’s absolutely essential to develop a broad network of contacts, friends and colleagues across the industry.
These networks of industry professionals will provide you with invaluable advice and guidance as you learn the ropes, and these connections will also open doors for you professionally — offering you referrals, mentorships, internships and inside tips on newly opened positions.
Why networking in hospitality is particularly important
Hospitality is an industry built around people; soft skills, such as communication are both really important and difficult to measure on a CV, so personal referrals and in-person interactions can carry a lot of weight.
In hospitality, professional networking means more than just going to a few events; it’s really about the deliberate cultivation of positive long-term relationships within the industry. Although networking can help you find a job, it’s not just a tool for job searches; it’s a continuous process of building and nurturing connections that can lead to mentorship, industry insights, and career growth.
It might not be easy putting yourself out there and developing relationships, but it’s always worth it. There are many benefits of networking in the hospitality sector:
- Job opportunities: Networking provides a platform for students to discover internships, work placements, and part-time industry-relevant work that may not be advertised elsewhere. In fact, one survey found that in 2022, 46% of job seekers searched for or found out about job openings via friends, while a further 25% searched for or found out about job openings via their professional networks. This means that a full 71% of jobs found were through networks.
- Insider insights: Connecting with professionals in the field offers a unique perspective on industry trends, challenges, and emerging opportunities. If you’re a young hospitality professional just starting out, advice and insight from seniors is an essential part of your professional and personal growth.
- Mentorship: Building relationships with seasoned professionals can offer guidance and lead to mentorship opportunities, helping students navigate the complexities of the hospitality world as they graduate.
- Networks lead to more networks: The more people you know, the more you will meet. Developing your initial networks as a young professional will open doors to industry events, the networks of your colleagues, friends of friends and opportunities for young professionals to establish themselves in the broader community.
5 essential networking tips for Hospitality students
1. Attend and host industry events
No matter how big or small, events are a great way to meet new people across the industry. Talks, workshops, industry fairs, short courses, and intimate ‘meet the chef’ food and wine events; all of these are great ways to network. These events not only enhance knowledge but also provide opportunities to meet industry professionals, potential mentors, and future employers.
However, attending events is just half the picture; another great way to expand your networks and showcase your talent is by hosting your own events and inviting colleagues with whom you’d like to develop relationships. Or, help out as a volunteer with other industry events and you’ll benefit from having the opportunity to demonstrate your skills.
2. Utilise digital platforms
Hospitality recruiters are all actively using LinkedIn to either canvas and assess potential candidates, or directly for recruiting. It’s essential for Hospitality course students to get on professional platforms like LinkedIn, in order to build an online presence and further demonstrate skills and experience that you can’t fit on your resume. Showcase your skills, connect with industry leaders, and engage in discussions to stay updated on industry trends.
3. Ask established industry professionals for advice
Nervous about contacting your industry seniors out of the blue? Reach out to professionals in the hospitality sector to meet up and offer their career advice. Not only is this approach easier than contacting people to ask for job opportunities, it’s also effective because most established professionals in the industry are happy to offer advice to newcomers. This proactive approach allows you to learn about different career paths, hear some essential professional tips and expand your network in a friendly and genuine manner.
4. Maximise internship and work placement opportunities
Actively seek out the internships and work placements offered through your educational institution, as well as pursuing your own. These hands-on experiences not only enhance your skills but also provide direct exposure to industry professionals and potential employers. In fact, in hospitality, internships often lead to employment.
At Torrens University Australia, internships and work placements are built into the course curriculum for hospitality students. Through the industry networks fostered by the university, students can access internships with all the biggest international brands in the hospitality industry, including Marriott, Accor, IHG, Hilton, Hyatt and others.
5. Industry relevant part-time work
Explore part-time positions relevant to the hospitality industry while you’re studying. These roles not only supplement your academic learning but also provide additional networking opportunities within the sector. Best of all, they allow you to develop close working relationships with colleagues which can be difficult to cultivate outside the workplace.
As you embark on your journey into hospitality as a student, remember that the relationships you cultivate can be as instrumental as the knowledge you gain.
Professional networking is not just a skill; it’s a life-long investment into your successful career in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of hospitality.
At Torrens University Australia, students have access to an extensive network of alumni, industry connections, and invaluable internship and work placement opportunities to help them develop these essential networks. By actively engaging in these networking opportunities, both within the university’s ecosystem and across the broader industry, you position yourself for hospitality success.
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