How adaptable are you?

How adaptable are you?

When I was interviewing for my first internship with Hyatt I was asked to describe myself in three words. One of the words I used was “adaptable.” I went into detail about going to college in the South knowing nobody and nothing about it, but really flourishing in the environment. I loved the feeling of starting fresh and having the ability to make the best of an unfamiliar situation. This made me stand out from other interviewees because it’s not something most people would think to say.

Adaptability is an important attribute to have when working in this industry — mainly because of the ever-changing work environment, but for a number of other reasons as well. I don’t go into work expecting normalcy, nor do I go into work with a set plan of action. Sure, I have my to-do list, which I may or may not get to, but for the most part my job involves living in the moment and handling each situation as it comes. This is probably terrifying to some people who need structure, but that’s something you must factor in when thinking about career options.  

Another major reason adaptability is so important has to do with the need to relocate. Relocation can happen for a number of reasons, and at times the notice isn’t all that great. The industry professionals I see move quickly through the ranks usually have a number of properties under their belts. Different properties make you more dynamic and therefore more desirable. Some companies can you move you as often as yearly if conditions permit. Does this type of rapid movement sound exciting, or does it overwhelm you? Maybe a better question would be: Does it sound great and overwhelming at the same time?

The good news is this is something you can experience before getting into the real world. I knew I was going into an industry that would require me to relocate fairly often, so I did things to help me prepare. Whether it was going away to college, studying abroad or interning in another city, all of these helped me grow and experience the joys and pains of moving out of my comfort zone. All of these experiences helped me grow tremendously both personally and professionally, not to mention the advantages for my resume. Recruiters want candidates with life experiences under their belts because, bluntly put, they don’t want to worry about them once hired. Recruiters hire candidates who they feel confident about. The idea of putting a recent grad or current student in a different location for the very first time could be something they see as risky. I’m not saying this is always the care, but it’s something to consider.

Once again, I offer these ideas to my fellow young hoteliers because these are things that have helped me get to where I am. I always encourage feedback from all industry professionals to help our future generations succeed.

On a side note: I encourage you all to check out a recent blog from one of our corporate recruiters, Ronisha Goodwin, who shares a great story relating to this subject.