When it comes to having a successful career, no matter what industry, a lot of focus is placed on the kind of education you’ve attained or the places you’ve worked in. This can be frustrating to certain individuals who understand that other qualities matter as well.
The good news? More and more attention is placed on one thing that leads to success: having soft skills. Useful across all sectors and in your personal life as well, soft skills are important character traits have a great effect on your work and how you interact with other people. While they are not typically seen in one’s curriculum vitae, they prove to be just as important as hard skills.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
First of all, we have to differentiate hard and soft skills—to have a successful career in the industry, one cannot exist without the other. When talking about things like having knowledge on SEO marketing and computer skills, knowing how to use Microsoft Excel, or speaking a foreign language, you are talking about hard skills. These are technical knowledge or training that you have learned through your education and career. On the other hand, being able to communicate effectively, listen to your team, and anything else that may fall under emotional intelligence can be considered as soft skills. These are personal traits that shape how you work and how you interact with those you work with. Simply put, hard skills are the things you usually gain through education or specific training, while soft skills are the personality traits that you may have been developing your whole life. A good combination of the two will certainly guarantee a fulfilling career.
5 Useful Soft Skills for Careers in Hospitality
Now that we have a better example of what soft skills are, we can look at some specific ones that will help you have a flourishing career in the industry. From having problem-solving skills to being flexible to change, here are 7 soft skills that would be useful to develop:
- Having a Sense of Teamwork
In hospitality, a lot of value is placed in a team functioning well together. In a hotel for example, this is seen in the way each department—from the front office to the kitchen to the security department—works together to give their guests an enjoyable, comfortable stay. It is essential that you demonstrate having good interpersonal skills, such as being able to trust and cooperate with colleagues who belong to different departments. In addition to this, having this trait only encourages others to do the same.
- Problem-Solving Skills
Whether you are talking about a PR crisis, a difficult client, or issues within the internal team, unforeseen obstacles should be expected—not just in hospitality, but in any industry. This is why someone with good problem-solving skills, no matter what department or specialty, would likely succeed in the hospitality industry. The ability to think on your feet and manage a crisis calmly under pressure would be a huge plus.
Empathy, or the ability to understand how other people are feeling, is very important to have in the workplace. Being able to recognize and positively influence the emotions of other people around you proves to be even more important for service-based industries such as hospitality and tourism. In addition to this, empathy allows you to engage more effectively with colleagues and guests who come from different backgrounds and cultures.
As the world continues to shift with the emergence of new practices and technologies, the work force is adapting as well. This is why it is important for hospitality professionals to display flexibility in the work environment as well. These are the kinds of people who are comfortable with change, seeing it as an opportunity to grow rather than looking at it from a negative point of view.
- Attention to Detail
To survive in the hospitality industry, attention to detail is essential. The ability to perceive small inconsistencies and changes, as well as the reactions of guests and clients, helps you see the ways in which you (and by extension, your company) can further improve.
Last but definitely not the least, having a sense of drive or motivation—which means continuously striving for improvement and reaching certain goals—influences others to commit to and achieve goals too. According to American psychologist Daniel Goleman, motivation is one of the five components of emotional intelligence. People who display emotional intelligence are able to look past extrinsic goals such as fame or money, and are instead driven by their inner desire for self-improvement. This includes not only one’s personal goals, but the overall goals of the company as well.