6 Steps To Get a Hotel or Hospitality Job With Little to No Experience

Lady serving drinks to customer

Even CEOs of the world’s biggest hotels started out cleaning dishes and changing sheets. Follow these 6 simple steps to get your first hotel job in no time.

When you look for work online all the listings say you need experience, but you can’t get experience without first getting a job. Sound familiar? This frustrating inexperience loop makes finding employment particularly hard for young people who are trying to start out in the workforce.  

The hospitality sector is once again reopening. This is great news for all the school leavers and Uni students who are wondering how they can get a job with an empty CV.  

Hotels and hospitality businesses are always looking for fresh young talent, and they are often happy to train up new staff – you just need to bring a positive attitude and open mind!  

However, don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. If you are ambitious, if you want a well-paid senior position or an exciting career that will take you places, you will need to go to university to study hospitality or hotel management at specialised schools like Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School at Torrens University Australia (BMIHMS). Hotel senior managers have to learn every aspect of the business, from marketing strategy to revenue management, and those are things you just can’t learn on the job. 

The good news is that when you get an education while working in hospitality, research shows that you move up the ladder really fast, compared to other industries. 

Remember, even CEOs of some of the world’s biggest hotels started out cleaning dishes and changing sheets before they went on to get their proper management training. Follow these six simple steps and you’ll be on your way to your first hotel job in no time.  

In such an international and diverse industry, who knows where you’ll end up.

1. Gain any essential certification 

Many states in Australia have strict laws governing the service of alcohol and management of gambling. If you are over eighteen and you want to get a job in a bar, hotel or restaurant where alcohol is served, you will need some special certification before anyone will hire you.  

These certificates are generally known as the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) certificate.  

Getting these certificates only takes a few hours of training and usually costs about $100 dollars. You will need these to work in the industry, so get them before you’re even offered a job and you’ll be a more attractive candidate than anyone who hasn’t gotten around to it yet. 

2. Extra experience you can include on your CV 

So maybe you don’t have any jobs to put on your resume. But have you thought about adding extracurricular activities you did while at school in a small section of your resume? Some of these activities demonstrate skills like team-work, and they also give employers hints about your outgoing personality or strong work ethic.  

Here are some ideas for skills and experience you can include on your resume that you might have overlooked: 

  • Foreign languages you studied or speak at home are great to mention, particularly if you’re applying for work at a hotel that serves lots of international guests.
  • Student council or other leadership roles demonstrate initiative and a willingness to take on extra work, as well as leadership skills such as management, problem solving, communication, and working with a team.
  • Sports activities, theatre or music groups and clubs you participated in are worth mentioning, because they demonstrate a willingness to work hard, and the ability to work as a team-member.
  • Community service activities you volunteered for during your schooling are also worth mentioning. School fundraising, organising sports carnivals, helping on open days, concerts or cultural events, assisting with any local church or charity organisation: these experiences are all transferable to the service industry, where helping people and organising events are part of the business.
  • Subjects you studied that are relevant to the job you're applying for can also be put on your CV. Did you do classes in cooking or home economics at school? Did you complete some subjects of business studies? These subjects demonstrate skills that can be transferred into a hospitality business.

3. Practise these skills at home

Just because you’re not working, doesn’t mean you can’t start training. There are a number of different skills you can practise by yourself at home that are going to add to your employability. You can list these under ‘skills and competencies’ on your resume, even without having learned them in a work environment.

  • Carrying multiple plates at once is a skill you have to learn. Practise this at home and save yourself the embarrassment of dropping a whole armful of meals on the job. 
  • Memorisation of details is an essential part of the hotel and hospitality industry. Whether you are memorising orders in a restaurant or keeping track of guest requests at a hotel, you need to be sharp when it comes to recalling details.
  • Cooking is a valuable skill you can practise in your own kitchen. Try out some of the recipes for common dishes served at some of the big hotels. You might discover a talent you didn’t know you had.
  • Your own customer service style will be one of your biggest assets when you move into front-of-house positions. Being charming is a skill, not a natural ability, and you can practise it at parties.
  • Study wine, coffee, food or your local destination to gain some expert industry knowledge you can show off in a job interview.
  • Practise making a bed and tidying a room to get a head start on a housekeeping role. Cleaning is also a skill set that involves practise and having an eye for detail, whether you’re washing dishes or mopping a floor.

4. Get experience through volunteering

There are lots of different types of charitable organisations out there that are happy to take on school leavers for a range of different roles. Many of these roles will allow you to practise some management and customer service skills that form a big part of the hotel business. Plus, helping out a good cause looks really great on your resume.

You could do street canvassing for Oxfam, volunteer at fundraising events for Unicef or Amnesty International, work in a Salvation Army store, or help out at your local nursing home. Check out some of the diverse volunteer opportunities online at Seek Volunteer or Volunteer Australia.

5. Apply for these entry level jobs 

If your job applications are getting rejected all the time, it might simply be that you’re applying for the wrong type of jobs. You need to apply for jobs that are the right match for you, in terms of your skills, interests and experience level.  

Here are some of the entry-level jobs you can apply for in hotels and hospitality businesses, with no experience in a workplace: 

  • Porter
  • Housekeeping room attendant 
  • Waitstaff 
  • Barstaff 
  • Dish washer 
  • Room service attendant  
  • Night cleaner 

Make sure when you read the job description that you scan for keywords like entry level, junior or trainee, which indicate that they don’t expect you to have any prior experience. 

6. Pick the right jobs to apply for and target your resume to the description 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they just start out looking for work is to write a generic resume and send it out en-masse to every job ad they come across.  

Although this may seem like an economical use of your time, you might actually have a worse outcome by focusing on quantity and not quality. You may just get a lot of rejections, but you might also end up in a job that’s not suited to you at all, working for a hotel or restaurant brand that you don’t even like. If you don’t like your job, you won’t perform at your best.  

Here’s how you can give yourself the best chance of landing a good job, and not just any job, even without experience: 

Be selective 

Pick a few entry level positions that you think you may enjoy more than others, and Google the company. Make sure it’s a business that has a good reputation for how they treat staff, and that it has good reviews online. Big brand names like Hilton do come with industry recognition, and that can also help you get more work further down the line. 

It’s important to know that whilst these opportunities exist, quality training and education can help take you to the next level in your career. Through industry placements at global brands, such as the Four Seasons, Hilton and Accor, BMIHMS, you’ll start your resume off with an impressive list of experience. 

Think ahead 

Does this job come with opportunities for training and development? Some hotel brands offer really fantastic leadership training programs for employees and are often connected to top hotel schools like BMIHMS. If you’re lucky, you might even end up in a position where your hotel will pay for you to study.  

Work experience will get you some of the way, but eventually you will need proper training and a bachelor or master’s degree in hospitality or hotel management if you want to end up in a more interesting and better-paid senior role.  

With a Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management, you’ll learn everything you need to know in order to manage a hotel or resort anywhere in the world. You could end up working in some incredible holiday destinations, in one of many different types of challenging management roles.  

Target your resume to the job description 

Use different wording and information for each resume you submit, depending on the job description. Here’s a full guide on how to tailor each resume to a specific job description in the hospitality industry.  This may sound obvious, but remember to proofread it for mistakes. You would be surprised how many people don’t. 

When all is said and done, it’s important to remember that whilst you can get a hotel job without experience, the key to a successful career is in quality education. By learning from the industry’s best at top-tier schools like BMIHMS, you’ll be ready to enter senior management positions with confidence. 
The Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School and Torrens University offer some of Australia’s leading hotel and hospitality management courses, online and on-campus. Check out the different courses on offer in 2022 here.  


Check our Hospitality Courses to learn more
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