3 little-known hospitality job search tips
Type “job search tips” into any web browser and it will return more than 14 million results. That’s a lot of sources—many of them merely reiterating common sense instructions hospitality job seekers have read hundreds of times before. While that’s not to say you won’t find some good advice within this rehashed information—you should customize your resume with key words, tailor your experience to the employer’s needs and proofread your cover letter, after all—little-known suggestions may provide even more value. Consider the following job search tips you’re less likely to have previously encountered.
1. Develop your personal brand.
Standing out can be difficult in today’s hospitality marketplace. Whether you’re an executive sous chef or a reservationist, a college degree, or equivalent experience doesn’t guarantee you’ll land the restaurant or hotel job of your dreams, let alone an interview. Fortunately, there is one certain way to capture the attention of hospitality managers and recruiters even when you’re swimming in a sea of qualified candidates: develop a personal brand.
What is a personal brand? Simply put, it’s who you are combined with what you do and how you do it. It’s what you want other professionals—from supervisors and coworkers to guests and vendors—to think about when they think of you. What are your strengths? What are your passions? What makes you unique as both a human and a professional within the hotel or restaurant industry? Gather these details and use them to create your brand. Then use your resume, cover letter, interview, thank you note and follow-up emails to communicate it to potential employers.
2. Search for the right hotel or restaurant before you search for the right job.
Don’t take a shotgun approach when searching for your next job, firing resumes blindly at every employer who is advertising a front desk agent or sales coordinator position. Instead, spend some time searching for ideal hospitality organizations before you submit any applications. You’ll improve your chances of landing a job interview if you tailor your materials to address the employer’s needs. Plus, should you eventually secure a job offer, you’ll have more reasons to choose the company than their mere willingness to hire you.
How can you tell if a hotel or restaurant is the right one for you? Take a look at their mission statement, organization history, and culture. What do past and current employees think about them? How about reviews from guests? Have they been in the news for anything positive—or negative—recently? While a high school diploma and past cash handling experience might be enough to keep your resume out of the reject pile, you shouldn’t bother applying unless you know that your personal brand is a good fit with their culture.
3. Put more time into your follow-up than you did into your application.
Submitting a dozen or so carefully crafted resumes to quality hospitality employers such as Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Miramonte Resort and Spa and Compass Group doesn’t mean you’ve finished your job search. While it might be tempting to relax and enjoy some time off as you wait for the phone to ring, you need to be proactive if you really want to secure that next job position. This means verifying the hotel or restaurant manager actually received your application materials as well as sending a post-interview thank you note and periodic follow-up emails (or phone calls) after that.
Most experts recommend stating within your cover letter that you intend to follow up with the hiring manager or recruiter and setting a timeframe for doing so. After submitting a resume, a phone call or email the next week is generally appropriate. If you make it through to an interview, send your thank you note (by snail mail or email) within one business day. You can periodically follow up (no more than one time per week) for another four weeks or so, depending on when the hiring manager or recruiter told you he or she would be filling the hospitality position.