Career

Top Hospitality Skills That Can Be Applied To Any Job

Let’s be honest, a hospitality job is pretty much a rite of passage for any young person stepping out into the workforce. Most of us, at some point, used our sweet hospitality skills to flip a burger, pull a beer, or pour a soy cap, though we probably omit them from the resume thinking it’s irrelevant.

But why shouldn’t that “head barista” title stand beside more recent jobs for all to see? Hospitality jobs are tough and not for the faint hearted. The broad skillset you come away with is more valuable than you know.

Here are six transferable lessons the industry taught three ex-hospo workers (it’s more than the ability to create flowers in latte froth) and how they’ve used these skills in their new careers.

#1 Identification of weaknesses and strengths

Anthea Stevanovic worked at Maccas aged 13 to 18, becoming a shift manager at 15. By 18 she was a full-time manager and, at 29, now runs her own business consultancy, Intelligent Directions. She credits much of her success to those years working in an intense, fast-paced environment, especially while she was so young.

“I was extremely shy and dreaded talking to people when I first got the job but I learnt quickly how to overcome that fear. I had to!” she says.

“Having to quickly identify my strengths and weaknesses back then, has allowed me to capitalise on things I’m good at now in order to own a successful business,” says Anthea. “Knowing my weaknesses means I can bring in people with skills I lack in order to achieve certain goals.”

#2 Leadership and teamwork

Hospitality jobs are all about teamwork. You need to work together, learn to compromise and put your own issues on the back burner.

“My days in hospitality taught me not just how important working together is but also how important it is to stand up and lead a team of people when issues arise,” says Kate Dewey, Creative Director of D&Co Studio.

“Teamwork means you’re all on the same page, striving for the same goal and increasing chances for success. I call upon this skill regularly when leading my team of designers, to ensure we stay on track.”

Anthea agrees, adding that, “teams tend to be large and diverse, so you learn to work with a range of people. It’s an invaluable skill to have if you want to be effective in any job role down the track.”

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#3 Customer Service Skills

Where are you going to experience the best and the worst of human society if not in a hospitality job? You have the complaints, demands and those chatty regulars oblivious to the fact you’re trying to source a hardboiled egg for the tuna Nicoise salad at table two. To do all this with a smile and a degree of composure is a true skill.

“To me, customer service is about basic manners, as well as fast problem solving under pressure,” PR Marketing Executive Anne Cottier tells The Cusp.

“Keeping your cool while someone’s in your face is pretty difficult but you have to remember the customer is always right (even when they’re not). My job in the hospitality industry taught me to be calm, admit fault and offer solutions immediately. This can be applied to something as simple as a wrong coffee size, to a marketing campaign going live with a spelling mistake in it. Whoever the customer is, this is your problem to deal with.”

#4 Going the extra mile

Anthea believes this was the most of the important hospitality skills she learned.

“Any business exists solely for its clients; without them there’s no business,” she says. “In hospitality I learned to go above and beyond for every customer so they were satisfied and would return. In my role today, I always make exceeding client expectations top of my priority list. I believe business owners who truly embody this principle are the most successful.”

Kate says she also developed similar skills when waitressing.

“People notice when you’re polite and truly interested,” says Kate. “They remember those little things you do and how it made them feel. I want every interaction to be a pleasant experience and practise this skill daily.”

#5 Honesty and quality

Anne draws a comparison between making someone a crappy coffee at 6am with handling a terrible marketing campaign. She suggests honesty is the only way to handle people’s expectations.

“If you can’t deliver the quality expected in the time requested, be upfront,” she says. “No matter the industry, quality is the goal, so create a plan and be honest about the timeframe.”

Speaking of quality, it’s not just the product that needs focus; essentially you are the product a lot of the time. Uniform or not, you represent a brand – and pride in appearance is one of the first lessons a hospitality job will teach you.

“Presentation of any work, be it a media release or a seafood platter, is obviously paramount,” Anne says. “But if your personal presentation is a mess, you’ve already lost the client. People don’t trust or invest in a person or product if it’s poorly presented”.

#6 Resilience

Anyone who’s worked in the hospitality industry needs no further explanation for this point. Kate sums it up nicely, “if you can survive hospitality, you can survive anything!”

Whether or not you add your hospitality skills to your resume, be sure to talk about the above skills in any job interview. Your potential employer will know their value and you may be on your way to a job offer.


Katy Moore‘s passion is honest authentic writing. She also loves lists, matching socks and edamame beans.