Educational background and experience required for hospitality jobs
The educational requirements for hospitality sector jobs vary by role and seniority. For managerial roles in hotels or restaurants, you may need a degree in hotel management or a master’s in business administration (MBA). Back-office roles in hospitality may require a degree in finance, accounting, human resources, marketing, and other functional areas.
For jobs such as hotel front desk clerks, food servers, housekeeping staff, and valets, a secondary school diploma along with occupation-specific training may be sufficient. To work as a cook, you may need at least a college or vocational diploma or apprenticeship training in culinary arts.
Most mid- to senior-level jobs in this field require some work experience in hospitality or customer service sectors. As a newcomer, your hospitality experience from another country may be transferable to the Canadian market. However, there may be certain skill or knowledge gaps you need to bridge before you can land your dream job in hospitality.
In-demand hard skills for hospitality jobs in Canada
Hard skills are technical, job-specific skills that you learn during your education, work experience, or training. Although hospitality is a diverse field with job opportunities in many different areas, ranging from hotel management to food serving, here are some common in-demand technical skills needed for hospitality jobs in Canada:
Since a large portion of hospitality sector jobs are customer facing, client service is an essential skill required to succeed in this field. Client service typically requires a focus on client satisfaction, as well as an ability to make customers feel valued and handle difficult situations in a professional manner. Even back-office roles in hospitality require a strong understanding of customer behaviour and motivations to make operational and planning decisions.
This skill is highly transferable, so if you worked in customer-facing roles in your home country, be sure to include that experience on your resume.
For customer-facing roles in hospitality, language proficiency becomes a technical skill. Since hotels, restaurants, and hospitality sector organizations attract tourists from across the world, mastery of English is typically required. Knowledge of French and other languages spoken by patrons can be an asset. If your English skills need work, you can sign up for English as a Second Language resources available to newcomers in many provinces.
In hospitality, strategic planning is required in most departments. Senior-level roles in marketing, finance, customer service and operations will require some experience in long-term goal setting, as well as tactical planning to help the organization achieve its goals. For instance, the marketing team may need to develop a strategy to improve the organization’s brand positioning, while the customer service team may have to find ways to improve customer satisfaction metrics.
Management and supervision
If you’re looking for mid- to senior-level roles in the hospitality sector, management and supervision are great skills to have on your resume. Supervisory roles exist in most departments, including food and beverage (F&B), inventory, personnel, housekeeping, finance, events, and more.
The computer skills needed for hospitality sector jobs will vary by role. As a newcomer, you may need to build expertise in some new software or technologies commonly used in Canada. Front desk jobs may require expertise in Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) and servers may need to be familiar with Point of Sale (POS) software. Finance jobs typically require proficiency in common accounting and budgeting software, in addition to Microsoft Office tools like Excel, Word, and Powerpoint.
Accounting and revenue management
For finance or management jobs in hospitality, expertise in accounting and revenue management is an in-demand skill. These roles typically require a degree in finance or accounting, as well as prior work experience in the field. Front desk and cashier roles also require some accounting and financial knowledge.
Employees in the hospitality sector must have a fair degree of knowledge about their industry’s regulations and compliance requirements. This includes knowledge of local norms and regulations around food safety, alcohol serving licences, environment protection, data privacy, and occupational health and safety. For human resources jobs in hospitality, you’ll also need a strong understanding of provincial labour laws.
In-demand soft skills for hospitality jobs in Canada
Soft skills are personality traits that allow you to effectively communicate and work with other people. If you apply to hospitality jobs, it’s important to include relevant soft skills on your resume and showcase them during job interviews. Here are some soft skills currently in demand in the hospitality sector:
In the hospitality sector, strong communication skills are required to listen to, understand, and deliver on customer expectations. Depending on your role, you may need to interact with customers with different accents and degrees of language proficiency, and in some cases, customers who speak other languages. If you’re applying to management roles in hospitality, you’ll also need to communicate effectively with your team and across functions. In addition to listening and talking, communication skills also include presentation skills, empathy, and understanding non-verbal cues.
Whether you’re hiring a contractor, organizing an event, or dealing with an upset customer, strong negotiation skills are key. In the hospitality sector, you may encounter such situations on a daily basis and will need to secure the best possible outcome for your organization, while keeping customers happy.
Planning and time management
The hospitality industry is a fast-paced one and, in order to effectively do your job, you’ll need to be a skilled multitasker. Proper planning and time management is essential not only to meet customers’ wait time expectations, but also to cater to more customers in a given period of time and meet the organization’s financial targets.
Attention to detail
Even the slightest mistake can ruin a customer’s experience. Attention to detail is a key skill required at all job levels in hospitality. In a restaurant, this could mean paying close attention to cleanliness, the professionalism of staff, the quality and presentation of food, and the accuracy of order-taking and billing.
Relationship management is an essential skill for hospitality sector jobs. You’ll require strong interpersonal skills to build relationships with customers and earn their trust. The industry relies on repeat patrons as well as on corporate events and bookings, so prior experience in account management may also be useful.
In the hospitality sector, teamwork is required at all levels and in every department. If you work in the kitchen or in housekeeping, there will be many shared tasks where the efficiency of one staff member could impact the output of the entire team. In management roles, you’ll need to delegate responsibilities, manage teams, and work cross-functionally to ensure that the organization is operating seamlessly.
Canada’s hospitality sector caters to clients from all parts of the world, so cultural sensitivity is an essential skill. As a newcomer, you may need to strengthen your understanding of cultural differences at the workplace and in everyday customer behaviour. This typically involves appreciating cultural differences, recognizing and avoiding intentional or unintentional bias, and treating everyone with respect, regardless of their culture and background.
What skills should I put on my resume for hospitality jobs?
When you start applying for jobs in Canada, you’ll need to create customized one- or two-page long Canadian-style resumes for each position. While you may have picked up many skills over the course of your education and work experience, you should only include ones that match the requirements set out in the job description.
As a newcomer, it’s also important to start networking with professionals in the hospitality sector to better understand what skills the industry values in your target roles. Connect with Canadian professionals on LinkedIn or meet them in person or for virtual coffee chats to get a better idea of skill gaps you need to bridge to improve your employability. If possible, try to find a mentor who can help you adapt to the Canadian job market and upgrade relevant skills, or refer you for open job positions.
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If you’re looking for a job in the hospitality sector in Canada, you require skills that match what employers in the industry value. As a newcomer in Canada, many of your hospitality sector skills might be transferable to the Canadian market, but you’ll need to understand and appreciate the cultural sensitivities involved in client-facing roles. This resource provides a basic overview of the skills employers seek while hiring for hospitality positions.