Hospitality Internships: Careers within the hospitality industry include jobs in hotels, casinos, restaurants, resorts and any other service position role within the tourism industry. Students working towards achieving a qualification in the hospitality field such as Hospitality Management or Food and Beverage Management are often required to gain practical experience by completing an internship. Hospitality internships are supervised programs of work and study that allow you to apply the knowledge and skills that you have learned in real-life situations.
Academic credit can be earned for a successful internship. They also give you the chance to make more informed decisions about the career path you choose after graduation. This hands-on experience as well as the networking opportunities internships offer will make you more attractive to future employers. Many companies offer their interns full-time employment on graduation as they have already proven their abilities and the learning curve is shorter.
Most internships are unpaid positions, while some interns are paid an hourly rate. However, interns in the hospitality industry may receive other benefits in the form of on-site accommodation, meals being provided or the use of swimming pools or other leisure facilities. Because of the seasonal variations within the hospitality industry, internships may be more easily obtained in the busier holiday periods.
What does a hospitality internship entail?
Hospitality students are encouraged to try to gain experience that is related directly to your educational program. You will usually be expected to concentrate on one area for your internship. However, some opportunities for cross-training may be available depending on the type and size of company you are interning. Internships are generally available within the following areas of hospitality – Culinary; Lodging; Housekeeping; Food and Beverage; Accounting and Retail.
Culinary interns work in the area of catering and may specialize in banquet or į la carte serving. Lodging internships involve working in reservations or front desk reception in hotels or resorts. If you are specializing in Food and Beverage, you may have the opportunity to gain practical experience in restaurants or hotel dining rooms as a member of the wait staff or as a host. You may also be involved in the purchasing and receiving of stock.
Housekeeping interns work as room attendants or in building maintenance.
Hospitality interns working in the accounts departments of their companies may be involved in accounts payable and receivable or payroll. Retail internships involve working in sales, inventory or purchasing. Hospitality interns may also have the chance to specialize in Human Resources which will allow you to gain experience in recruitment, training and employee relations in a corporate environment. You could also apply for an internship in the areas of Marketing or Event Coordination.
How do I find a hospitality internship opportunity?
Competition for internships with leading companies is usually extremely intense, particularly if the internship is a paid one. You should forward your resume with a cover letter to the companies you would like to work for, ensuring that you do not miss the deadline for submission of applications. If they call you for an interview, ensure that you thoroughly researched the company and do your best to display this knowledge during the interview. Your school may have information on companies that regularly offer internships and may help to find the best placement for you.
What skills do I need to receive a hospitality internship?
To impress your potential employers in your interview, you will need to display excellent communication and interpersonal skills. As you may be interacting directly with the customers, good presentation is essential. You will need to prove yourself capable of taking direction and working well as part of a team. Ensure that you can speak knowledgably about the latest trends and events within the hospitality industry, particularly within your particular area of interest. Companies benefit from exposure to the current knowledge, skills and practices of the intern so you should be prepared to show that you have performed well academically.
Below is a list of some of the various types of internships.