Careers in Hospitality

Looking to Start Your Career in Hospitality or Tourism?

The lifestyle is definitely what the hospitality and tourism industries are all about. People who thrive
in these industries love meeting new people, want to make lifelong friends, and are interested in
gaining and fine-tuning skills that can be taken anywhere in the world.

Working in hospitality and tourism is one of those rare careers where your social skills are your
greatest assets. Hospitality is the seventh biggest employer in Australia, with just under 800k people
working in the sector in 2019. Tourism is an even bigger employer, with more than 900k people
working in tourism in 2018-19.

As a hospitality or tourism worker, your main goal is to provide excellent services to customers,
whether you’re getting your Gordon Ramsay on and cooking up an epic feast, mixing up margaritas
on a posh cruise ship, or welcoming excited visitors to a ski resort hotel.

Will a Career in Hospitality Suit Me?

Working in hospitality or tourism will suit you down to the ground if you’re super passionate about
meeting new people and love going the extra mile to provide service that’s bang-on. You’ll need to
be ready to make a few sacrifices, but you’ll definitely be rewarded with a lifestyle that’ll be the envy
of all your friends.

Most of the time, the busiest periods in this industry are when all the 9-5ers have finished work or
are having a day off; you’ll be expected to work nights, weekends, and holidays. It might not sound
all that appealing at first, but you’ll get all the perks of having places to yourself throughout the
week – imagine heading to the beach on a Monday morning to find deserted acres of sand and you
can park your towel anywhere.

Being social is another major skill to have if you want a career in hospitality and tourism. You’ll need
to entertain guests and make complete strangers feel at home, so you’ll need to have a natural way
with people and a knack for getting on with anybody.

But don’t worry – if you’re not super comfortable with spending your entire day chatting to people,
there’s still room for you. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in kitchens or admin, cleaning and

How Do I Get There?

In terms of education, requirements are very broad in these industries and will depend on the type
of job you hope to get. Housekeeping staff, waiters, and dishwashers generally require no formal
education, as you’ll be trained on the job, but if you want to work as a chef you’ll need to get some
formal training – an apprenticeship is a popular choice since you can learn while you earn.

If being a tour guide appeals to you, you can get there by completing a traineeship or studying travel
and tourism at university, and there are TAFE course options available that are ideal for becoming a
travel agent.

Most people who do well in these industries start out in an entry-level position like waiting tables
and work their way up the career ladder. It takes special, skilled people to deliver great customer
service in any role, so if you’re good at what you do you will most definitely be recognised and
rewarded for it.

What Skills Will I Gain?

When you work in hospitality and tourism, the first skill you’ll have to quickly learn is how to adapt.
No two days are the same in this buzzing industry; on an average day, you could find yourself deep-
cleaning every inch of the restaurant because there’s nothing else to do, only to end up frantically
taking orders as a huge flood of customers descend on you.

And that’s not all – careers in hospitality and tourism provide you with a huge list of soft skills that
will be in demand in any other industry. You’ll also learn:

  • How to perform well under pressure – think being the only person taking orders, with a
    massive queue!
  • Amazing interpersonal skills – you’ll need to make people feel comfortable and at home
    within moments of meeting them.
  • Attention to detail – messing up food orders won’t go down well, so you’ll need to learn how
    to notice the smallest of details, even if you’re working under pressure.
  • Sales skills – it’ll be up to you to convince customers to try the most expensive wine on the
    list or upgrade their order to a larger order.
  • Teamwork – teamwork really does make the dream work in hospitality and tourism! You’llneed to work together with every department to make sure customers are having the timeof their lives.

We won’t lie and say the pay is amazing in these industries – because it usually isn’t for entry-level
positions, but working your way up is a fab way to increase your salary. Plus, the experiences you’ll
have will more than make up for it. Once you’re skilled in these areas, you really can take your
career all around the world – for free!

Job Opportunities:


Bartenders prepare, create, and serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to customers in
licenced establishments. It really is a versatile job – you could be working in a local pub pulling pints
or creating high-end drinks in a swanky cocktail bar.

Common Tasks:

  • Preparing, serving, and selling cocktails, mixed drinks, beers, wines, and other alcoholic and
    non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Cleaning and maintaining the bar
  • Collecting payments and operating cash registers

You’ll usually need a Certificate II or Certificate III in Hospitality, or at least one year of hospitality or retail experience to work as a bartender, and you’ll need to be over the legal drinking age. Most bartenders are educated to at least Year 12. You might also be required to get certification in Responsible Service of Alcohol or similar. There are courses you can take to improve your skills, too.

Skills You Need:

  • Active listening – you’ll need this to get customers’ orders just right. Listening attentively, not
    interrupting, and asking good questions (especially when it comes to that upsell).
  • Service-Oriented – good bartenders are always looking for ways to help people and go that
    extra mile to make the experience special.
  • Social Perceptiveness – not every customer is going to be friendly towards you, and social
    perception skills are essential for understanding why people react the way they do, and how
    you can respond best.
  • Critical Thinking – bartending can be a fast-paced job (especially on a Friday night), so you’ll
    need to be able to quickly think about the pros and cons to come up with different ways to
    solve any problems you run into.


Baristas are skilled in the art of coffee and there are plenty of opportunities for a career since this
drink is everyone’s favourite pick-me-up. You could be working at the friendly neighbourhood
Starbucks or at a posh cafe serving hot drinks with pristine latte art.

Common Tasks:

  • Preparing a range of hot drinks, including but not limited to lattes, cappuccinos, espressos,
    and teas.
  • Using a coffee machine and coffee bean grinder to prepare drinks to high standards.
  • Cleaning and maintaining coffee machines and the general service area.
  • Collecting cash payments and operating cash registers.

You’ll usually need to have a Certificate II or III or at least one year of relevant experience to work in
this job. You may be required to have previous barista experience, although many employers will
train you on the job.

Skills You Need:

  • Active listening – You’ll need to listen carefully and ask good questions to make sure that you
    get everyone’s drink order right, even the unusual ones.
  • Service-Oriented: You’ll need to be willing to go the extra mile and always look for new ways
    to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness: When somebody’s drink order is wrong, you’ll need to be empathetic
    towards them, understand why they react that way, and know what to do to put things
  • Critical Thinking: Being a barista is a busy job – especially in the mornings – so you’ll need to
    be ready to quickly weigh up the pros and cons when it comes to solving common problems.

Cafe Worker:

As a cafe worker, you’re going to be everyone’s favourite person at lunchtime. You’ll be serving food
and drinks to customers to eat on the premises or take out.

Common Tasks:

  • Preparing and serving food for consumption in the cafe or take out
  • Taking orders at the register or pre-orders over the phone
  • Operating cash registers and accepting payments
  • Keeping the general service area and the cafe area clean and tidy

You may need a Year 10 Certificate or Certificate I to work in this job, but it’s not always necessary.
Many employers will require you to complete a short period of on-the-job training. You might also
be required to complete further training in food safety and hygiene.

Skills You Need:

  • Service-Oriented: You’ll be working with the general public all day long, so you need to be
    ready to go the extra mile and look for new ways to help people.
  • Coordination: Cafe environments can be quite varied – so you’ll need to change what you do
    based on the needs of the customers at the time.
  • Active Listening: This skill is essential when speaking to customers, as you’ll need to
    attentively listen to what they ask for and ask questions to make sure you get their orders
  • Monitoring: You’ll need to keep track of what’s going on so that every customer is happy.
    You’ll be constantly checking the cafe to see if any customers have been waiting to be
    served or if they need any extra help.
  • Social Perceptiveness: You’ll need to be ready to handle complaints, empathise with customers and understand why they’re reacting that way.

Waiting Staff:

As a waiter, you’re going to often be the first point of call for customers in hotels, clubs, restaurants,
and other dining establishments. You’ll be the person who leads them to their table, provides them
with a menu, and takes their food and drinks order to serve them later.

Common Tasks:

  • Setting and arranging tables ready for customers
  • Greeting customers, making them feel at home, and providing them with food and drinks
  • Taking orders and relaying them to the kitchen and bar staff
  • Serving customers their food and drinks
  • Regularly checking back on customers to see if you can help them in any other way

You’ll usually need a Certificate I or II, or at least one year of relevant experience to work in this job.
Many employers will offer on-the-job training, too.

Skills You Need:

  • Service-Oriented: As a waiter, you’re all about providing excellent service to customers. You
    need to be dedicated to providing the best experience and really getting to know your
    customers so that you can go the extra mile to ensure that they have a good time.
  • Active Listening: You’re responsible for taking food and drink orders, so you need to listen
    attentively to make sure you don’t mess them up.
  • Social Perceptiveness: You will often be the first person that customers speak to if they have
    a problem or a complaint. Empathy and an understanding of why people react the way they
    do will go a long way.Speaking: As a waiter, you’re going to be talking to customers a lot, so a friendly and chatty disposition is essential!
  • Coordination: Working as a waiter can be unpredictable, so you’ll need to be adaptable and
    able to quickly coordinate your tasks based on the changing needs of customers and the

Kitchen Hand:

As a kitchen hand, you’ll be working in the kitchen to assist the chefs with preparing and serving
food. You’ll be responsible for making sure that the food preparation and service areas are clean.

Common Tasks:

  • Cleaning kitchens, sculleries, and food preparation areas
  • Cleaning the cooking utensils and tools
  • Weighing out and preparing food ingredients ready to prepare meals
  • Checking stock levels
  • Preparing equipment ready to use

A Year 10 Certificate or Certificate I is sometimes required but not always necessary. Many
employers will train you on the job.

Skills You Need:

  • Active Listening: Since you’re working closely with chefs, you’ll need to have good listening
    skills to make sure that you receive and follow instructions correctly.
  • Time Management: In a typical day you’ll be given several tasks to complete; you’ll need to
    manage your time well to make sure that they all get ticked off your list by the end of the
  • Monitoring: You’ll need to be able to stay on top of how the kitchen is run. Being quick to
    spot anything that needs doing, like equipment that needs washing before the next service
    time, is essential – as chefs won’t always tell you what to do every time as they’re busy
  • Coordination: You’ll need to be ready to adapt and coordinate your work to the ever-
    changing kitchen environment.

Club Manager:

As a club manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing the team at a club, restaurant, bar or
another establishment. It’s your job to make sure that everybody is working together to provide the
best service to customers. Along with overseeing day-to-day operations, you’ll also usually be
required to roll up your sleeves and offer practical help during busy periods.

Common Tasks:

  • Supervising staff
  • Inspecting the general appearance of the establishment and delegating tasks to staff
    members when needed
  • Ensuring that the establishment is in good condition and arranging any repairs as necessary
  • Dealing with customer issues and complaints
  • Training new staff members
  • Helping members of staff with any issues
  • Co-ordinating rotas and dealing with staff holidays and absences
  • Staying on top of stock levels and ordering new stock as necessary

You will usually be required to have gained a management qualification, or at least one year of
relevant experience to work in this job. Many managers work their way up from an entry-level
position by consistently proving themselves as a dedicated member of staff.

Skills You Need:

  • Leadership skills: You’ll need to be a good leader who sets a fantastic example to the team,
    puts their team first and is the first point of call when anything goes wrong.
  • Service-Oriented: You’re all about providing the best service to customers and your job is
    based on making sure that this happens.
  • Social Perceptiveness: As a manager, you’ll be called upon to deal with any issues or
    complaints that have been escalated. You need to understand why people react the way
    that they do and have genuine empathy to turn their experience around.
  • Critical Thinking: Solving problems quickly is your forté as a manager; you’ll need to be ready
    to come up with solutions to problems faced by both staff members and customers.
  • Monitoring: As a manager, you’ll need to constantly have one eye on your team to ensure
    that everything is running smoothly, and quickly jump in when you notice a potential issue
    to avoid it turning into a larger problem.

If you love engaging with people, have a reliable, dedicated attitude and don’t mind working
evenings and weekends, a job in hospitality could be just the ticket for you! Which of these job
opportunities do you feel you’d be best suited to?

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