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The hospitality industry was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and travel restrictions resulting in huge layoffs and greatly reduced employment opportunities. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative investigation was to study the experiences of International Hospitality Management graduates as they searched for employment during the COVID-19 pandemic when hospitality jobs were scarce. Ten graduates from a university in Bangkok, Thailand, representing five different nationalities participated in in-depth interviews via Line and Zoom applications. It was found that pandemic-related obstacles in job hunting did not deter the participants from seeking employment. When hospitality work opportunities were unavailable (except in China), participants sought employment in other industries and were successful. Instead of viewing the pandemic as a threat or a defeat, most respondents saw it as an opportunity to explore other professions. Exposure to non-hospitality jobs was beneficial, adding value to their resumes and reflecting their resilience. The usefulness of knowledge gained from their degree work varied according to the jobs obtained. While a few expressed interest in the hospitality industry when it recovers, others did not want to be employed in the hospitality industry anymore after experiencing alternative options.
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