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Transferable skills are the general abilities you develop that are useful across a range of different jobs and industries. They might be role-related, technical or general. If you know you don’t have a huge amount of experience, it’s still possible to bag your ideal hospitality job by identifying which of your skills are transferable – and therefore valuable – and emphasising them when you make applications.



What are the key transferable skills?

As well as numeracy and languages, most hospitality employers will be looking for:

  • Commitment and motivation
  • Interpersonal skills: can you relate with others and form good working relationships?
  • Communicating effectively: can you take and give instruction?
  • Self-awareness: knowing your strengths – and weaknesses
  • Management and leadership
  • Decision-making ability
  • Organisation, research and thinking ahead

Employers everywhere value these skills because they mean you can solve problems and satisfy customers – and it’s no different when you’re looking for hotel and restaurant jobs. Good interpersonal skills and organisational ability are probably the most important abilities you can offer, along with high energy and the enthusiasm to work as a part of a team. And don’t forget the essentials:

  • Punctuality
  • Good time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability and willingness to enlist help when necessary
  • Willingness to accept responsibility

You can develop all of these in just about any role. If you’re just starting out, you can explain how you developed them during your education or as part of hobbies and activities. To get a better idea of the requirements, look at adverts for the sort of hospitality jobs you’re interested in. See what skills are mentioned: which do you have and which do you need to work on?

Get your CV ready for hospitality jobs

In the meantime, you can rework your CV to list your skills first, before education or previous jobs. Make sure the key ones are near the top! Work out how each job on your CV can demonstrate them.

Provide details everywhere you can. You’ve previously managed a team of five or carried out responsibilities like ordering or managing stock? Put it down. Provide testimonials from your colleagues on how great you are to work with.

Then lay out your relevant qualifications, experience and career progression clearly, plus any personal interests that have helped build your transferable skills. And this is a basic: check for spelling and grammar mistakes – prove your ability to communicate and attention to detail!

Selling yourself - don’t overdo it

Make sure you understand the specific skills and competencies required for every application you make. Then in your CVs and cover letters, and during interviews, you can highlight all your relevant skills and show how they’re applicable.

Start with any hospitality-based skills and experience you’ve got – and give details! Then move on to the most relevant transferable skills. You can also consider how your motivation, personal qualities and aspirations reflect the ethos of your potential employer and bring these in too.

But remember: avoid irrelevant details. It’s good to mention personal interests and hobbies to show you’re well-rounded, but beware of including too much. Avoid vague claims and clichés, like “I was responsible for day-to-day operations” or “I’m a team player”. They won’t help an interviewer understand your achievements and could make them suspicious that you’re concealing a lack of skills.

And if a role definitely requires specific trainingqualifications or experience, do not be tempted to make anything up. It might help you get an interview, or even a job. But if everyone around you is more experienced, in the end you’re bound to be found out.

Related articles:

5 things to avoid on your hospitality CV 
9 common grammar mistakes on CVs and cover letters 
Qualifications for hospitality jobs 
Preparing for an interview

Job searches:

 - Search for hotel jobs
 - Search for restaurant jobs
 - Search for bar jobs
 - Search for pub jobs
 - Search for catering jobs
 - Search for chef jobs

 - Search for hospitality jobs

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