Companies in the hospitality sector care about three things: customer service, customer service and customer service. Because these companies stake their reputations on the way they treat and serve their customers, hospitality jobs require a very different set of skills than, for example, office jobs.
Because of the often very specific nature of these sort of roles, it's best to create two CVs; a general CV for the industry and a CV specific to the role for which you're applying.
What are employers looking for?
Employers are looking for people who can add value to their business by demonstrating exceptional service and commitment. You’ll be expected to meet and greet a variety of customers and be comfortable dealing with all sorts of novel situations. A lot of hospitality jobs will also require you to be on your feet for long periods of time.
For these reasons, employers will be looking for people who are:
- Willing to serve others
- Polite and friendly
- Clean and neat
- Team players
- Healthy and fit
- Able to thrive under pressure
- Willing to be flexible in their working patterns
In a more senior position, such as a hotel manager, you'll be expected to:
- Manage a team
- Demonstrate commercial sense with promotions and marketing campaigns
- Recruit and train staff
- Manage and report budgets and figures
Writing your CV
The first thing to identify is exactly which skills the employer is looking for. For example, front of house staff, such as concierges and restaurant workers, will need customer service skills; whereas back of house workers will want to highlight their proficiencies with cooking, cleaning and organising. Write down a list of your skills so you can refer back to it when compiling your CV.
Make sure you include your correct address, telephone and email details. You don't need to include your date of birth, nationality or ethnic origins and you shouldn't need to include a photo either.
Always remember to concentrate on what you can offer the company, not the other way round. Remember also to refer back to the job advert or description to make sure you highlight your relevant skills and experience. Don't be scared to think outside the box: you may have done voluntary work or community projects and learned valuable transferable skills in the process.
This is arguably one of the most important areas on your CV. Always keep in mind the following points when writing it:
- How does your experience fit in with your employer's needs?
- Have you received any recognition or awards for your work in the past, e.g, Employee of the month?
- Do you have any relevant statistics or figures that demonstrate your achievements?
Again, a vital part of your hospitality CV. Emphasise the parts of your career history that are most relevant to the position you're applying for. For example, if you're currently in a bar job, but are applying for the position of concierge, talk about your customer service skills and your ability to communicate and effectively serve a broad range of customers.
Education and training
Aside from any academic qualifications, employers will want you to tell them about any training you've undertaken, such as food safety training, or health and safety courses. Since you'll be dealing with the public for most jobs in hospitality, don't be shy about mentioning things like first aid courses either.
Volunteer and charity work
Employers will be impressed if you've got experience in running or participating in charity campaigns, as it shows commitment and a willingness to see a project through to the end. It also shows that you are mature and have a sense of responsibility to the general community. But please: don't lie!
Additional skills and experience
This is for anything else you feel might be relevant to the job. You could mention any other languages you speak, any skills or experience with food preparation or cocktail making, any cash handling skills, even a typing speed. Always remember to link it back to the job you're applying for. There's little value in mentioning you have a typing speed of 80 words per minute if you're applying to be a waiter!
Building a career in hospitality means having the right attitude and personality, which is why including a personal attributes section can really demonstrate how you would be valuable to a particular employer. It's not essential to include this section, especially if you've covered it in your personal statement, but it's certainly recommended if you have little or no relevant experience.
Personal attributes might include:
- Well presented
- Confident communicator
- Responsible, reliable and honest
- Fast learner
A simple 'references available on request' will suffice here. The key is to pick referees who have knowledge of your skills and can sell you to a potential employer. Make sure your referees are aware you've given their details and make sure you brief them as much as possible on the job you are applying for. Perhaps even send them a copy of the job description.
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