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Job and Industry Resources for
Hospitality, Sports & Recreation Careers

Hospitality, Sports & Recreation

The hospitality, sports and recreation industries encompass an enormous variety of niches - from hotel and motel management to catering and restaurant management to cruise administration and professional sports team management and vacation planning... you get the idea. It can be easy to get lost in all this diversity, which is why it's crucial to get connected with people in the niches that most interest you, and find out which career tracks will take you in the direction of those particular subfields. So here, we'll explain how to get in touch with the informational resources you'll need to succeed - and how to put those resources to use as you progress in your career.

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Feel out fields on social networks

One of the simplest ways to find others who share your career goals is to run some searches on the same social-networking websites you already use to stay connected with your friends. Facebook and LinkedIn are both home to all sorts of communities related to the hospitality, sports and recreation fields - and groups like these are great places to start your search for specifics about the field you want to focus on.

For example, the Facebook communities "Culinary Arts" and "Tourism & Hospitality Management," and the LinkedIn groups "Luxury Hoteliers," "Travel & Tourism Industry Professionals Worldwide," and "Outdoor Industry Network," are all packed with active members and discussions. Groups like these are ideal places to begin to get a feel for a sector of the industry that you might want to enter - and to connect with experienced professionals who already work in it. You can locate groups that cater to your own area of interest by typing keywords like (for instance) "bed and breakfast management" or "personal chefs" into a social-networking site's search box, and seeing what suggestions pop up.

Communities on social-networking websites are great places to find out for specifics about your field.

A few easy-to-check cues can tell you whether a particular community is worth your time: Do a variety of people post, or just a select few, over and over again? Are the comments sections active, or do threads peter out quickly? Do the admins just post pictures, hoping for Likes, or do they post links to useful information? All these factors can tip you off about a group's usefulness - but one thing that should never discourage you is the fact that a group is marked "closed" or "private." Just submit a join request and see how the admins respond. The worst they can say is "no" - and if they accept you into the group, you'll get an inside glimpse of the field it represents.

Get specific about your training

Once you've got a clear idea of the field within hospitality, sports or recreation that you'd like to enter, the next step is to seek out training that's tailored to your specialty. Though it's true that you can land certain kinds of hospitality, sports and recreation jobs - such as wait-staff duties, for example, or sports retail positions - just by walking in off the street and filling out an application, you're far more likely to grab yourself a high-ranking (and higher-paying) managerial role if you've got some relevant formal training on your resume.

You're more likely to grab a high-ranking managerial role if you've got some relevant formal training on your resume.

The sheer breadth of the hospitality, sports and recreation industries makes it all-but impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of the resources available in every subfield - but here are just a few samples to give you a general idea of what's out there: Escoffier Online provides advanced training for culinary workers; the American Culinary Federation offers apprenticeships in this same field; the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute officially certifies professionals in the hotel industry; the experts at Game Face Sports Jobs train sports managers; and the American Society of Travel Agents provides continuing education for agents who sell tours, cruises, hotels and car rentals.

These examples barely scratch the surface, though. You can track down certification and education resources that focus on your own niche with a few carefully-worded Google searches. Try running searches for terms like (for example) "restaurant management training" or "pro baseball umpire certification" - substituting your own interest as needed, of course - and you'll probably discover at least one or two places to improve your skills.

Diversify your job-search tactics

When it comes to job-searching in the fields of hospitality, sports and recreation, you've got a lot more options than just cold-calling places you'd like to work. Staffing agencies and job databases aren't just for office workers and tech geeks anymore - quite a few cater to the hospitality, sports and recreation industries; and some even focus on specific subfields within those industries. Though it can take a little time to get rolling with one of these resources, you'll save yourself a huge amount of long-term legwork if you learn how to use them effectively.

You'll save yourself a huge amount of long-term legwork if you learn to utilize staffing firms and job boards.

Staffing agencies - also known as recruiting agencies or staffing firms - earn a commission on every employee they're able to place in a job at one of their clients' companies; so they'll keep searching until they've found you work or run out of options. Some staffing agencies focus on hospitality jobs - ECR Hospitality Recruitment, for example, recruits for high-level positions at hotels, resorts and restaurants all over the world; while Chisholm & Moore seeks out talent for the UK's travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Alden & Associates and Next Level Executive Search, on the other hand, both recruit athletics administrators and head coaches at the collegiate and professional-sports levels.

Agencies like these do have one limitation, though: They tend to focus on high-level managerial positions. If you're not quite at that level yet, though, not to worry - plenty of online job databases serve the hospitality, sports and recreation industries. While some of these job boards offer listings for positions at all levels, within a variety of fields - Hcareers.com, for example, lists thousands of jobs in hotels, restaurants, casinos, resorts and cruise ships - others are highly specific in their focus. CasinoCareers.com offers job listings in casinos - and along similar lines, DudeRanchJobs.com, OutdoorIndustryJobs.com, CruiselinesJobs.com, ResortJobs.com, and JobsInSports.com all list exactly what their names suggest.

It'll definitely be worth your while to run some Google searches for job boards in your particular field - "golf caddy job board," for example; or "travel agent jobs." The main advantages of specialized job boards like these is that you probably won't have to wade through loads of unrelated postings, as you would on a more general (and widely popular) site like Craigslist. But that doesn't mean you've got to limit your search to just one board - in fact, the most effective tactic is to seek out several recruiters and job databases, both in your specific subfield and in the larger field that includes it; and put all these resources to work for you.

Consider the benefits of an association

As you establish yourself in your hospitality, sports or recreation career, you may find that a professional association or other organization dedicated to your field can offer you some specialized benefits. Though many professional organizations will expect membership dues in return for the services they provide, some of those services may be well worth the fees - especially if they turn out to be far more expensive (or simply unavailable) elsewhere.

Some of the services and benefits offered by professional associations may be well worth their fees...

Some associations get super specialized. The Bread Bakers Guild of America, for example, offers training and recipes, and organizes competitions for bread bakers; while the Retail Bakers of America provides continuing education for bakers on the retail side; the United States Personal Chef Association connects young chefs with mentors - and as mentioned above, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute and the American Society of Travel Agents both offer training and certification for their niches. Beyond this, you can seek out associations in your own field with some quick Google searches, as you did when searching for training and job resources in the earlier sections of this article.

The benefits offered by associations can extend far beyond training and certification, though. Many offer legal counsel, provide public advocacy on behalf of the trade they represent, and even negotiate discounted insurance rates for members' businesses. So bookmark the websites of associations that offer benefits you think you might need someday - you never know when an emergency might strike, and you'll be glad you joined up.

As you can see, providing leisure services isnít all fun and games - it takes a high level of organizational skill, a drive to get each job done to the customersí satisfaction, and a network of fellow professionals to keep you motivated and up-to-date on the latest developments in your field. And although the first two traits are largely up to you, you can cultivate the third with the resources weíve shown you how to find here. All thatís left is to put the resources you find to work, on behalf of your own career.

Helpful links

Hcareers.com -- Thousands of hotel jobs, restaurant jobs, casino jobs, resort jobs, chef jobs, cruise ship jobs, catering jobs - and positions in many other hospitality subfields.

WorkinSports.com -- A fee-based job board that's worth the fee if you're really serious about your career in the sports industry. This site lists positions related to top names in the sports field.

American Society of Travel Agents -- A large job board for those who sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, and car rentals - as well as a variety of other helpful recreation career resources.

Visit our Career Research Center to learn more about jobs, salaries, and employment growth in Food and Hospitality.