How to Develop a Successful Career in Hospitality

Do you like helping others? Perhaps you’ve been whipping up impressive meals or desserts since before you can remember? If so, a career in the hospitality industry may be right for you.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for chefs and hotel managers will grow at rates that are much faster than average over the next decade.1,2 You can enjoy a stable, fulfilling career in the industry. Here’s how to get on the path toward a successful career in hospitality.

Choose a Specialty

Hospitality is a broad industry and there are many paths to choose from. Before you leap into a career, it’s important to choose an area to specialize in. If you love working with the public, a career at a hotel front desk may be right for you, either as a guest service manager or front desk supervisor.

If your tidy and you love organization, you may find fulfillment behind the scenes, managing housekeeping or sales and marketing. 

If food is your life, a career in the kitchen, either as a chef, pastry chef, or food and beverage manager, may be the right move. 

The specialty you choose will help you determine the type of training that will benefit you most. 

Build up Your People Skills

Working in hospitality means you need to be hospitable. On some days, that’ll be easier than on others. Certain roles may also require more people skills than others. For example, if you manage the reception or front desk, you’ll need to interact with the public more than someone who decides to work in the kitchen or in marketing. 

People skills are wide-ranging but include the ability to listen to others, communicate effectively and find a way to meet guests’ needs. Even back-of-house hospitality roles require some level of people-pleasing and leadership. If you’re the head of a hotel or restaurant kitchen, you’ll need to lead your team to ensure that meals are served accurately and efficiently day after day.

Develop a Thick Skin

One of the rules of the hospitality industry is that you can’t please everyone all the time, even when you give your best effort. You may have a few unpleasant encounters with guests or co-workers during the course of your career.

To thrive in the industry, it’s important to develop a thick skin before you get started. When a guest is angry or upset, remind yourself that their anger isn’t directed at you personally, but at a policy they disagree with.

One way to grow a thicker skin is to look for growth and learning opportunities in any confrontations you have. A guest may be upset, but they may also provide the kernel for a new system or a change in your company’s policies.

Practice Time Management

When you manage a housekeeping team, hotel front desk team, or kitchen, you’re going to have a lot of balls in the air at any time. Developing the ability to manage your time and prioritize your tasks allows you to be as efficient as possible in your career. 

Developing excellent time management skills also helps lower your stress levels and increases your productivity, which can lead to greater overall satisfaction with your career.

Be Flexible

The hospitality industry isn’t for people who want to work a nine-to-five, five-days-a-week job. Your shifts can vary from week to week, as can your exact responsibilities. It’s important to be flexible and to roll with the changes based on the needs of your job.

For some people, the flexible and ever-changing work environment the hospitality industry offers is appealing. You may find that you enjoy the surprises and the fast pace of the industry.

Get the Right Training

A successful career needs a strong foundation. The best way to lay a solid foundation is to get the right training from the start.

Orange Technical College has several career certificate programs for individuals who want to thrive in the hospitality industry. The Professional Culinary Arts and Hospitality certificate program provides hands-on instruction in food preparation and safety, plus human relations and leadership skills training. 

The Lodging Operations certificate program offers instruction in hotel operations, with an emphasis on leadership skills development and guest services. 

The programs take between six months and one year to complete and prepare you for an entry-level role in hospitality. To learn more or to enroll, contact us today.


  1. Lodging Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  2. Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics,