Ready to Relocate
The heat continues to turn up in the highly competitive hospitality industry, as employers look farther afield for qualified candidates to fill a variety of positions. In her testimony recently to the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Valerie Ferguson, former chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said, “When Disney Hotels was recruiting workers for its hotels and restaurants in Orlando, company representatives traveled to Pittsburgh, Rochester, New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico offering $1,500 relocation bonuses and a $100 airline ticket to anyone who would work for Disney for at least one year.” The Omni Hotels chain on its website includes “relocation allowances” as part of the package of benefits. And it’s not just hotels upping the ante to attract job seekers. Restaurant chains, catering operations, attractions, resorts and institutions, among others, are all spreading the word: no matter where you live, we’ve put out the welcome mat for you.
This is great news for job seekers in the hospitality industry. In the “old” days, according to recruiter Peter Shrive, partner with Cambridge Management Planning, relocations were most common at the upper echelons. Employers advertising such high-level positions as general manager, chef, sommelier, food and beverage manager cast their nets wide to attract the best candidates. But today, with so many centers suffering extreme labor shortages, ads for job seekers willing to relocate are becoming increasingly common.
Getting the word out
So how do you communicate your willingness to relocate for that special hospitality job? First, even before you present your credentials, advises Shrive, you must tell your prospective employer that you’re available to move because you’re looking for career advancement. “Cardinal sin #1 is dissing your current employer,” he says. “You have to be aware of the fact you might be perceived as a transient instead of a genuine career builder, so you must impress any prospective employer with the fact you’re willing to relocate strictly for career opportunity.”
Once you’ve decided to go, then you need to prepare these documents: a compelling cover letter; a rock-solid resume that shows you in the best possible light, containing the reasons you should be offered career advancement; and a blueprint of where you want to go in your career once you make a move. As with any job application, the purpose of your cover letter is to encourage the employer to read your resume; the purpose of your resume is to open the door to an interview.
If your cover letter and resume are written properly, most employers will admire your initiative and open the door to the all-important interview. Be prepared to address the issue of why you’re relocating: desire for career advancement will work in your favour; desire to get away from an unhappy job situation will only raise suspicions.
Chances are, if you are hired, your new employer will offer to pay your moving expenses, offering a flat fee, compensation for your exact costs, or a relocation or signing “bonus”. As the hospitality industry continues to heat up, you an expect more and more enticements if you’re willing to relocate.
Tips to massage your cover letter and resume
Peter Shrive offers these pointers to job seekers ready to make a move:
- Do your research. Let’s say you want to be a bartender with a restaurant chain in another city. Demonstrate in your cover letter that you understand the operation and that you’re willing to relocate to work with this chain. Use language like: “I’m ready to move and I’m qualified to relocate for a bartender’s position with your chain.”
- Make your case for career advancement. Let prospective employers know you want to move up the ladder in their organization. For instance, “I’m planning to relocate to your city and I’d like to work for you because your hotel offers the career opportunities I’m looking for.”
- Keep it professional. Employers don’t need to hear why you’re relocating. A simple line in your cover letter, like “I am moving to Denver on June 19” is all you need to say, followed by “I’ve attached my resume as I’m interested in pursuing employment (or replying to a job ad) with your foodservice operation.
- Indicate your willingness to pay your own way for an interview. Let prospective employers know, “I’d be happy to travel to meet with you.” At the very least, offer to speak on the phone with them. Distance these days should no longer be an issue in getting the hospitality job you seek.
- In your resume, highlight your achievements and state up front that you’re willing to relocate or are ready to move now.