My real story: Jessica N

Age: 28

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Event Management, Macquarie University – International College of Management Sydney Campus

Current position: Assistant Front Office Manager, Hilton Sydney

Number of years at the hotel? 10 years

What does my role entail? Management of the Reception, Concierge, Executive Lounge and MAGIC Communications centre teams. Front Office provides customer service to create ‘Hilton Moments’.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: A component of my university degree included industry training and that’s where I was introduced to the hotel industry.

Does anyone in your family work in a Hotel? No.

Why do you like working in Hotels? I like working in hotels because they offer great employee benefits and you have the opportunity to work across a large range of departments and locations.

What surprised you about working in hotels? Before working in a hotel I could not imagine the number of staff that are required to run a hotel. I was also surprised at the vast range of opportunities available to team members both within the hotel and around the world.

What my career has looked like to date: I started in 2007 as a Food & Beverage Attendant in the Event Operations department to complete my 9-month industry placement for university. Once I finished my degree, I was promoted to Event Operations Office Coordinator. I then transferred to the role of Business Centre Attendant and worked as an Event Services Administrator. In 2011, I transferred back to the Event Operations Team and was promoted to Event Guest Relations Manager. Following this I became an Event Operations Floor Manager where I remained for 4 years. In July 2015 I decided to transfer to the Front Office department and was promoted to Executive Lounge Manager and then Assistant Front Office Manager.

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? My proudest moment was being nominated by my peers and managers for the annual Manager of the Year award.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? In 2014 I was a finalist in my category at the TAA Awards and in the same year I received the Hilton Sydney Manager of the Year award.

Where do you wish to go from here? I am very happy developing in my current role though my goal is to continue onward and upwards to a Head of Department role.

What challenges do you face in this role? Being Assistant Front Office Manager in a busy hotel is non-stop and each day brings with it a new challenge.

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? I like working in the hotel industry because of the opportunities available to team members looking to develop their career in a fun and ever-changing environment. There are also great opportunities to meet all kinds of guests and team members and to develop strong friendships. Hotel industry benefits have allowed me to travel the world staying in 5-star hotels and have experiences I could have only imagined if I took a different career path.

What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? The hotel industry is exciting, ever changing, and no two days are ever the same.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? Go for it! Hotels provide great entry-level positions and excellent training programs. Even if you are unsure of which career path you would like to take, hotels allow you to gain exposure across a variety of fields and departments so that you can grow professionally within the company as well as the industry.

Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? I have had the opportunity to apply for jobs in other locations however my heart lies in Sydney so have remained here for my job. Working for a large international hotel chain does however come with incredible travel benefits, be it for training or for leisure.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? I wish I could tell you who!

Can you bust any Hotel career myths? Working in a hotel is anything but unexciting.

What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? Alongside internal management training courses and offsite leadership courses, I have also received my First Aid Certificate.

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? Building lasting friendships with colleagues and regular guests.

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? Yes, I have previously managed the Events team of over 50 team members. In my current role, I manage a smaller team, which allows me to build better relationships and focus on individuals’ needs and skills.

What skills have you learnt on the job? I have learned countless skills… the most important skill I have learned is how to remain positive in all situations.

What are your working hours like? Flexible working days, sometimes the hours are long.

What’s the pay like? Good.

Anything else you’d like to add? Working in hotels gives an incredible opportunity to build relationships with a great range of people from the team to our guests. Even if you are not sure of where you want your career to end up, hotels have so many areas of sales and operations within one building that you have the opportunity to move between roles to develop and grow your skills before deciding.