New Grads, Looking For a Hospitality Job? Implement These 10 Insider Tips

May has arrived. For some, that means longer days, warmer weather, and a nearing vacation or two. For others, it means ballet recitals, Mother’s Day, and a few months off of school.

And for many more, it means graduation from college and the first steps into the post-grad world! If you fall into the soon-to-be graduating category, congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life because infinite possibilities lie ahead!

Are you considering getting into the hospitality industry? It’s certainly a great industry to be a part of, not that we’re biased or anything…

Instead of a congratulations card, money, or some less-than-useful wisdom, we have a stellar graduation gift to bestow upon you – actual, real, usable, and simple tips to secure your first job in the hospitality industry.

Kelly Gregg

How do we know what we’re talking about? Because we’ve asked the Director of Recruiting from Benchmark Hospitality International himself. Let us introduce Kelly Gregg, who not only plays a significant role in recruiting within the hospitality industry and gives college lectures on this exact topic, but he started exactly where you are today. He knows what you can do, need to do, to start your career, and he’s willing to tell you:

How To Get A Job In Hospitality

According to Kelly, these tips and tricks are simple but often overlooked. These how-to-secure-a-job tips might be the difference between you and the other candidates.

  1. Do Your Research  

Know the company you are interviewing with. Understand their culture and what resonates with you.

  1. Pay Attention to The Details  

Be absolutely sure you’re sending the properly addressed cover letter. Cover letters addressed to a different company and misspelled words, etc do not represent you well. Regarding your email address – ensure it is a clean email. might not be the best for a professional resume. Also, change your voicemail on your phone to be a short, precise and professional voicemail.

  1. Be Willing to Work

how to get a job in hospitalityNot everyone can start at the top. Be open to opportunity with the right company and avoid focusing on just one specific discipline. My personal break was in housekeeping. I started out as a recreation attendant, lifeguard, housekeeper, 3rd shift Manager in housekeeping, and then College and International Recruiter for Walt Disney World Resort. Be open, you never know where that path less traveled will take you.

  1. Be Yourself  

Don’t be nervous. Be prepared and genuine.

  1.  Know Which Geographical Area You Would Want to Start Your Career In

When asked, don’t just say anywhere. We need focus here and we want to know why you are interested in a specific area. Do you have a support network there?  Have you thought about living arrangements? Serious thought needs to be given here. Can’t stress this enough.

  1. Don’t Overthink Your Resume  

I know it sounds strange, but be precise, detail oriented with specific work experience and activities. Show leadership responsibilities while in college. Recruiting experts don’t give a lot of time to a resume. Five minutes at the most.

  1. Attend the Career Fairs  

Network with leaders of all companies. Don’t just focus on a select few. Make long term relationships.

  1. Get Engaged in Professional Social Media, Such as Linkedin  

how to get a job in hospitalityAsk the recruiters if you can send them a Linkedin request. Start your networking.  I had a student ask me the other day and I was blown away. I said of course, then five minutes later he followed up with a request. I was impressed.

  1. Clean Up Your Personal Social Media  

Facebook, etc. What you see, I often see as well.  I do my research.

  1. Always Be Genuine and Authentic

Be yourself.


The biggest tip I can give is to dress the part of the position above the position you are interviewing for. Well-groomed and friendly go a long way. I always tell students to not be afraid to reach out to a recruiter. Email, phone or text are always nice to receive from a college graduate looking for an opportunity. The relationship you build today could advance your career tomorrow.

Thank you, Kelly, for these incredible and useful tips! We know that this can be an overwhelming time for all of you near-graduates, and we hope Kelly’s insider advice can help you find clarity and purpose!

Congratulations to our local graduates from UVM (University of Vermont), St. Mike’s (Saint Michael’s College), CCV (Community College of Vermont) and Champlain College!

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