Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.

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Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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My Job as Receptionist in a 4 Star Hotel

Megan Elsey works as a receptionist at Cork’s four star River Lee Hotel. She tells us about life at the front desk.

Why did you choose a career in tourism?

As soon as I started my first job working in a bar I knew I wanted to do something which involved being face-to-face with the public. I considered doing a Bar Management course at college, but after a little research I soon worked out that I would have a broader and more pliable skillset by doing Hotel Management. As soon as I started my first year placement at The River Lee Hotel I knew I had made the right choice. Since then I have held various roles and enjoyed the different challenges that they bring.

What advice would you give future hoteliers?

Find a good company, like The Doyle Collection which owns The River Lee, that has a culture of providing training to everyone from the bottom all the way to the top. It is hard work and everyone has bad days, but the rewards are fantastic so be prepared for a challenge. People notice what you do even when nothing is said directly to you, so always give what you can.

What do you do each day?

No two days are the same, just as no two guests are the same. At the front desk, I am viewed by guests as the voice of the hotel. We are their first interaction and their last impression, as well as providing help with any questions or queries about the hotel or local area during their stay. I also have many duties that the guest does not see, such as cash handling and sorting out reservations. What does your role entail? There are many different elements to my current role. First and foremost is providing guest satisfaction. We must go above and beyond for our guests. Secondly, I am a training buddy to new members of the team. This gives people a ‘go to’ person if they have any questions which can be less intimidating than going to management. My last role is to help out the rest of the team whenever needed.

What kind of person do you feel would suit your job?

The most important attribute a person should have is an eagerness to learn and progress. If you don’t then you can become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Being confident and outgoing is important, but it can also be developed within the right company.

What are your plans for the future?

I 100% want to stay in the hotel business. I would like to increase my knowledge and skills within the sales and marketing sector. This could be either a short-term placement, one day a week in the office here, or an industry-recognised course. Within the next few years I aim to become a duty manager at the hotel. The long-term goal is to either become a general manager or to work in the sales and marketing department at group head office.

What kind of person do you feel would suit your job?

The most important attribute a person should have is an eagerness to learn and progress. If you don’t then you can become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Being confident and outgoing is important, but it can also be developed within the right company.

What are your plans for the future?

I 100% want to stay in the hotel business. I would like to increase my knowledge and skills within the sales and marketing sector. This could be either a short-term placement, one day a week in the office here, or an industry-recognised course. Within the next few years I aim to become a duty manager at the hotel. The long-term goal is to either become a general manager or to work in the sales and marketing department at group head office

Article by: 'Get a Life in Tourism' Publication 2015