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Career Options in Hospitality & Tourism: Student

The undergraduate definition of hospitality may involve how many of your mates from home you can fit in your halls room and tourism means trying out a different nightclub and takeaway. In all seriousness though, there may be some of you dedicated to following a career in the hospitality and tourism industry and you may even be studying a related degree course. But what can you be doing now to further your prospects?

Opportunities available to undergraduates

- University societies

- Internships and work experience

- Graduate internships (deadlines)

- General proactivity!

You may think university societies are for the politically active or wannabe radio presenters but there are plenty of societies and opportunities those wanting to enter the hospitality and tourism industry can take. Is there a travel society at your university? If so, get involved! You could help organise cheap trips and group holidays for other students and provide general travel advice.  Alternatively, if you see yourself as the next Great British Bake-Off champ, you could join the baking society and meet up with friends to produce some quality goods.

Internships and work experience placements are also ideal for undergraduates looking to get more experience and CV brownie points. Whether it’s assisting with guided tours at popular tourist hot spots or helping out a chef by helping prepare some dishes, work experience is a great way to soak up experience and decide where you want to specialise. Internships or work experience on the business side of things may be available at larger chains and corporations and will provide you with a general awareness about the industry.

You may want to consider applying for a graduate scheme for a company in the hospitality and tourism sector. This may not necessarily involve culinary work or working as a tour guide, but could be in the marketing and PR department. Hotels and top restaurants need marketing and advertising campaigns, right? You could be the one working on these campaigns, even if you aren’t serving up the best three-course meals in the country.

The hospitality and tourism industry is one that can be accessed from any stage, so you need to be able to show that you’re passionate about the industry. Whether it’s selling your food goods at local markets or writing for your student newspaper about the newest tourist attractions in the local city, being proactive will benefit you and your CV.

Deadlines to consider

Along with all your library loans, bills and looming coursework deadlines, there may be some extra-curricular deadlines to consider also. Internships with larger companies may have a specific deadline, so it’s worth considering their website for details. Additionally, don’t leave it until the last minute to apply for work experience. Be strict with yourself and set targets. Think of it as a best before date and aim to apply for three internships by the end of March. This way, you won’t be ringing up a company asking for work experience a week before you want to start.

Additionally, graduate scheme applications close earlier than undergraduates expect, with several closing before your advent calendars have been opened in the run up to Christmas! Therefore, you should get thinking about graduate schemes up to a year before you start and get your application checked by your university careers service before sending it off for consideration. 

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