More than 20 employers met with students at the Hospitality and Tourism Expo held Feb. 20 at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus. They offered insights into career opportunities as well as tips on the traits and characteristics they look for among prospective hires.
“Employers are always looking for those smart and hardworking people,” explained Jacqueline Meyer, recent Stetson University graduate and employee for Levy Restaurants. “But what I love about Levy is that they also focus on you as a person.”
“They genuinely hire nice people. That is something they are always looking for.” – Jacqueline Meyer, Levy Restaurants
When asked about the most important trait in hiring, Meyer said, “Positivity and a good attitude are a huge part of it. If you are positive, I feel like more people are drawn to you, and you may have a better opportunity to learn more about the field you’re interested in because more people are willing to teach you.”
Keynote speaker Jim Burns
Jim Burns, Vice President and Managing Director of Grande Lakes Orlando, stressed the amount of diversity in the industry and the positivity of its employees.
During Burns’ presentation, he shared his belief that, “Hospitality represents diversity.” There are currently more women and minorities within the industry’s leadership than any other industry in the United States, he said. Due to the nature of the service industry, many are multilingual.
Approximately a third have bachelor’s degrees, and all are often strong in technical writing, critique, and linguistics. And there are particular characteristics that define them, he said.
“Energy and character are some of the most important considerations while building a relationship as an employer,” he explained. Employees’ positivism, sensibility, and pride enrich the warmth found within the hospitality and tourism industry.
Burns also shared with students five “words of wisdom” to follow if they wanted to make their mark in a hospitality and tourism career:
- Be great at the job you’re doing.
- Build your network. Relationships trump resumes.
- Take risks. You will never be fully ready for the job you take.
- Do more! Always be curious and willing to expand your role and learn.
- Make your boss look good! Go above and beyond. Don’t just do the obvious!