You can get work-related experience right now—without even leaving your hometown. Get a job at a nearby golf course, hotel, or restaurant. These types of jobs offer a great introduction to the industry, help you hone your people skills, and give your resume substance.
If you're thinking of becoming a swimming instructor, join your school's swim club, or start one yourself. This suggestion goes for whatever activity interests you—skiing, horseback riding, surfing, sailing, etc. Excelling in and enjoying a particular activity is a good stepping-stone for a career in the resort industry.
Check the Internet for resort-related Web sites and employment opportunities, or subscribe to a travel magazine to learn more about travel destinations.
Resort employment opportunities are endless. Many different positions, all as important as the next, are required for the successful operation of a resort business. Here are some types of jobs typically found in the industry:
Accountants, human resource specialists, managers, departmental supervisors, and general managers, are just some positions found in the business department of a resort. While industry jobs are seasonal, business department employees work year round. The off season can be quite busy—budgets for the next year are set, marketing and advertising strategies are made, new hires and interns are interviewed. The number of workers employed in the business department is dependent on the size of the resort. A large casino/resort may employ hundreds of business professionals, while a dude ranch may have a single individual responsible for bookkeeping, advertising, and managerial duties. Traditionally, such positions are not considered entry-level but rather require a college degree or prior work experience. Many interns are assigned to a resort's business department.
This is one of the largest departments in the industry. Every resort offers food and beverage service, whether simple buffets or elaborate gourmet dinners. Waiters and waitresses are needed to serve food to resort patrons in dining rooms and restaurants. Bussers, or buspersons, help set and clear tables and assist the wait staff in serving food, especially when dealing with large parties. They may also be asked to fill water glasses and bread baskets. Dishwashers clean plates, glasses, utensils, and other cooking or serving implements. Hosts and hostesses show diners to their tables, and may take dinner reservations over the phone. They are careful to rotate table occupation so all waiters and waitresses get an equal share of customers. Prep cooks, sous chefs, and executive chefs prepare all meals served at a resort. Some resorts are known for their food service, so the best-trained chefs are often recruited. Bartenders mix and serve alcoholic drinks.
Desk clerks and reservation clerks assign guests to their hotel room or guest quarters. They are also in charge of giving guests their mail or packages, taking reservations over the phone, collecting payment, and answering any questions regarding the resort. Phone operators work the resort switchboard, field calls, and sometimes take reservations.
Concierges assist resort guests with travel arrangements, reservations, or provide information. The bell staff, supervised by the bell captain, bring guests' luggage to their room, run short errands, or make deliveries. They may also be asked to drive resort vehicles. Doormen open doors for guests and help with the luggage. They may also be asked to hail taxis or provide information or directions.
A resort's reputation rests largely on its appearance. Housekeepers, or room attendants, tidy guest rooms and common areas such as the lobby, dining rooms, and the pool and spa. Most housekeeping positions are entry level and need little or no experience. Maintenance workers make repairs throughout the resort ranging from mending broken chairs to fixing electrical circuits.
Guards are often employed to provide safety and security for all guests. While most guards are uniformed, some wear plainclothes and act as undercover security. Casino resorts employ a large number of security personnel to deter would-be thieves and dishonest gamblers. Security personnel, especially if they are armed, must receive some sort of formal training.
Retail clerks and retail managers work at the shopping galleries and gift shops found at many resorts, selling everything from exclusive clothing labels and cosmetics to souvenirs, candy, and snacks. Most retail positions are entry level.
Many resorts cater to growing families, and therefore hire daycare workers to provide care for patrons' children. Many resorts, especially those that are island-based, also hire a medical or first aid staff to tend to guests needing medical attention while on the premises.
Specialty workers fill the industry niches or provide services advertised by the particular resort. Most occupations in this category are highly specialized or require particular training, or in some cases, certification and licensure. Lifeguards are employed by resorts to supervise beaches and swimming pools. Ski instructors provide group or individual lessons for alpine resort patrons. Many beach resorts employ recreation workers to manage water activities such as water skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and deep-sea fishing. Dude ranches need wranglers, trail guides, and horse groomers. Theme resorts employ many entertainers for parades, musicals, and shows. Guides work for adventure resorts leading tours of wilderness areas. Casinos hire many people to work as table dealers, pit bosses, and change clerks. Golf resorts need golf professionals to give instruction and caddies to help guests with their golf bags.