My name is Jacqueline and I’m one of your Co-Presidents for the upcoming year! I’m going in to my final year of Hotel & Food Administration and I’m here to make my case as to why you should stack your academic career with as much employment experience as you can get!
Since starting my university career, I’ve worked the following jobs:
Intern & Reservations Manager at Piping Rock Club
Student Manager at Hospitality Services
Recruitment Consultant at Profile Hospitality Group
Tourism Marketing Student at Tourism Oxford
Part-Time Research Consultant at Profile Hospitality Group.
That’s 5 different jobs with very different responsibilities! Each and every one of those positions has taught me about myself, my industry, and most importantly - what I like to do and what I don’t!
When I first started at the University of Guelph, I made the mistake that many incoming students do and had a very straight forward plan for what I wanted to be after I graduated. I was going to study hard, complete a co-op, and become a hotel manager at a mega corporation.
Today, I’ve decided to focus my career search on a position in a small-medium sized company focused on data, analytics, and sales.
Working during your degree will help you take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to a setting with real people and real consequences. As I enter my final year, the topics I know most about are ones I’ve directly practiced in one of the positions I’ve worked. For extra experience, consider taking on a part time job during your studies – I’ve done it every year since my first year. Employers love to see that you’re able to manage your time effectively and that you’re dedicated to your professional development.
Internships, part-time work, and co-ops are excellent ways to build your connections, learn your competitive advantage in the marketplace, and teach you valuable lessons about professionalism. In addition to building your skills and resume you’ll get to lessen the blow of any debt you may have to take on during your studies.
When you enter your final year and start looking for your first post-graduation job you’ll have a much better idea of the title you’re looking for, but more importantly, the type of culture you work well in, where you want to work, and the direction you want to take your career in.
Here are my final words – work hard, try as many positions as you can, and find your niche! Whether you study accounting, hospitality, or marketing, each field has 1000’s of different career opportunities with job titles you’ve never even imagined. You may even find that you graduate with your marketing degree but find a passion for accounting – that’s ok! But the only way you’ll know is if you put yourself out there and try working in different parts of your industry.
Co-President, DECA U Guelph 2018-2019