3 unrelated industries that need your hospitality skills

[Hospitality workers have human understanding.]
The skills you pick up working in hospitality can't be taught in a classroom.

You pick up skills in hospitality not everyone can master. Emotional intelligence comes into play when you’re working with the public on a daily basis--empathy, sincerity, congeniality. All of these help you do your job better and result in delivering an exceptional experience for the customer. It depends on the environment, the level of urgency, the problem at hand, and a myriad of other factors that determine how you react and the level at which you deliver. But not all industries require these “soft skills,” which can be gray in nature.

Other industries largely require “hard skills,” which are black-and-white technical skills: Expert at Microsoft Excel; Certified to drive a Class-A vehicle; Speaks fluent Japanese. You either have them, or you don’t. There’s no gray area. Many industries require professionals to have these hard skills, but are quickly realizing there’s a shortage of workers who have soft skills. Here are a few:


You know that skill you have for dictating an itinerary or describing how something tastes? That is the same skill needed for leadership in cybersecurity. Good communication is a trait severely lacking in the highly technical cybersecurity field. At a roundtable co-hosted by Northeastern’s Lowell Institute School and the Business-Higher Education Forum titled “Creating Aligned and Relevant Pathways for Students,” experts weighed in on this.

[Leadership positions in cybersecurity.]
Cybersecurity is a field that needs professionals who are skilled leaders.

“Those communication skills are important,” said Ari Seitelman, information assurance engineer at Raytheon, a U.S. defense contractor. “The larger part is being able to translate these technical solutions to your audience. You have to make sure that you can not only communicate what you’re doing, but articulate these technical solutions in a way that people who aren’t in that field can understand.”

Being able to explain the complexities of a dish or important details of someone’s stay--especially to someone unfamiliar--is a critical communication skill that is desirable in fields like IT and cybersecurity.


You know when you have a problem on your hands and immediately conceptualize five ways to solve it in your head? Critical thinking skills like that are desperately needed in the highly specialized field of healthcare. Being exposed to a variety of issues and diverse situations gives you experience that a textbook can’t.

[Critical thinking is a skill needed in healthcare jobs.]
Critical thinking isn't a skill you can glean from a textbook.

Director of corporate compliance at Deaconess Medical Center, Craig Bennet, thinks highly of a solutions-oriented approach to healthcare that are considerate of the sociology or psychology of matters. “Some of the best people I dealt with from an IT perspective were those who came from different disciplines,” he said. “They brought to the table that critical thinking, which was really important in healthcare.”

Saving lives requires the technical know-how, but also a level of human understanding that is not something that can be taught. Only learned. And learned best working in hospitality!

Marine Science

Are you the designated trainer on your team? Are you the host with the most? Well, aside from your hard work ethic, you need leadership and drive for all to succeed, especially in marine science. Saving the oceans and the animals requires a lot of study and application--but to communicate your message and extend it beyond your team takes leadership and character.

[Marine science jobs require leadership skills.]
Leadership and public speaking skills are critical in the field of marine science.

Eric Fox, the penguin colony supervisor at the New England Aquarium, speaks highly of the co-op students that are training to become an aquarist or zoologist. “The ability to work as a good team player and the leadership skills that are going to be so critical to whatever career path they follow.”

As one of his environmental science students said, “It gives you an opportunity to connect with visitors and explain that it’s not just about seeing penguins here in Boston, it’s about getting the opportunity to help save them in the wild as well.”

Being able to relay the importance of your work to the public is a critical skill that can’t be picked up in a classroom. So keep those public speaking and team-building skills fresh!


Turns out, your hospitality-gleaned soft skills are hugely applicable in a variety of complex fields. Do you have a particular trait that cross-pollinates in other industries? Make sure to tell us about it on your Grit profile. Sign up today!