From her first paid role at 15 years of age behind a hotel desk to just being named National Receptionist of the Year, CIT student and Little National Hotel employee Emily Short is pleased to prove there's more to this profession than meets the eye.
"I was told at school that you've got to go to uni, and I worked hard to get the grades to go to ANU. I was doing a degree that I didn’t really enjoy, but what I did love was working in the hotel industry," Emily says.
"Being a hotel receptionist is so much more than checking guests in and checking guests out. You're an experience creator, a problem-solver - even sometimes a proposal planner! It's such an honour to be involved in the important moments in someone's life.
"I love that every day is different. It takes a high degree of skill to deliver five-star quality service."
Emily says being able to add a personal touch is essential to excel as a hotel receptionist.
"You can always teach practical skills, but a positive attitude and genuine interest in people is something you either have or you don't. Genuinely caring about people is an absolute necessity in this job."
Emily is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of International Hotel and Resort Management at CIT, a specialised accelerated course that can be completed over two years.
"I had lots of on-the-job experience, but the CIT course is preparing me for the next step, such as to be able to work in management roles. I didn't find anything like it anywhere else in Australia and it has really motivated me to aim for excellence," Emily says.
"I love gaining new skills and plan on continuing to study with a business degree through Charles Sturt University that can be studied at CIT, which will only take three extra semesters to complete."
The National Receptionist of the Year competition is only in its second year in Australia, and involves being thrown a range of unique situations to resolve professionally and efficiently in front of a judging panel.
"It was nerve-wracking, but I was very excited to have the opportunity to compete, and honoured to win when there was such a high calibre of professionals from around Australia competing."
Emily says the competition will help bring some recognition of the skills required as well as prestige to the profession in the hotel industry, helping to bring it in line with other parts of the world.
Next year, Emily will play a role on the judging panel and as a mentor. Her ultimate goal in the future is to own her own business. Oh, and before then, there's the international level of the competition in Paris in February, where her skills will be put to the ultimate test against industry professionals from 18 countries. Just another challenge of the role Emily is sure to take in her stride.