Don't make the mistake of misreading three common pieces of job search advice.
By Angela Rose for Hcareers.com
Type “job search advice” into your Web browser and you’ll receive no fewer than 4,630,000 results. Enter those search terms on Amazon, and you’ll discover 5,918 books related to the topic. Ask your brother, best friend, or grandfather for suggestions, and they’ll shower you with dozens. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of advice you may uncover while looking for your next hospitality job can be overwhelming—making it all too easy to misunderstand and misapply otherwise valuable insight. Consider the following job search tips that trip up many hotel and restaurant professionals.
1. You should always customize your cover letter with information from the job posting.
It’s essential to customize your cover letter every time you apply for an executive chef, room attendant, or other hospitality position. Doing so shows you’re willing to do more than the minimum to get by while allowing you to draw parallels between each hotel or restaurant’s needs and your unique qualifications. Unfortunately, many hospitality job seekers misunderstand this advice and submit a cover letter that is so stuffed with information from the job posting that it’s basically a reiteration.
Those who apply this advice correctly take a different approach. They address their cover letter to the employer (using the hiring manager’s name when possible), include a few keywords culled from the job posting, highlight their top three qualifications that satisfy the employer’s needs, and wrap it all up with a request for a job interview.
2. You should always pay attention to your body language at the interview.
Interviews make everyone nervous, whether you’re a general manager, chef de cuisine, or line cook. Unfortunately, obsessing over your body language during questioning—such as preventing yourself from fidgeting, making too little or too much eye contact, and leaning in too close to the interviewer—can make you appear more uncomfortable than you actually are and detract from your ability to focus on your answers.
While it’s important to make a good impression when meeting a prospective employer—by dressing appropriately, arriving on time, and turning off your mobile phone—you should still ultimately be yourself. In truth, crossing your arms or gesturing with your hands while talking is unlikely to become a deciding factor in a job offer.
3. You should always ask questions to show you’re interested in the job.
If you’ve made it as far as an interview, the employer already understands you’re interested in the position. And while questions can show you’re actively listening, many hospitality professionals take it too far. They interrupt to ask irrelevant questions. They pepper the conversation with unnecessary inquiries—and they drastically reduce their opportunity to wow the employer with their real qualifications as a result.
If an important question arises during the course of the interview—for example, one that pertains to the qualifications necessary for the position or the employer’s expectations once a professional is hired—you can ask it. You should prepare a few questions for the end of the interview as well, perhaps one or two that will make employers want to hire you. Whatever you do, avoid turning your interview into an interrogation.
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About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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