The good news: Hotels, restaurants, catering companies, casinos, country clubs, cruise ships and other hospitality-related businesses are hiring. The leisure and hospitality sector has already added significant numbers to their workforce during the first quarter of 2012. And that trend is expected to continue as the dreaded hiring freeze comes to an end.
The bad news. More college grads are entering the market, so the competition for plum hospitality jobs will be fierce. The same holds true for those who have, until now, held back changing jobs, or eager interns who seek bigger paychecks and the move to full-time, paid staff positions. Fortunately, there are ways to separate yourself from the herd.
As a job candidate looking to kick-start or even advance your hospitality career, you should not overlook the power of branding yourself to potential employers. Much like a company or other corporate entity, your brand capitalizes on your strengths and gives you a unique and memorable identity. It’s what separates you from the “also rans,” helping you rise to the top of candidate awareness in the eyes of potential employers.
One way to find out if your brand is up to snuff is to Google yourself. If your LinkedIn Profile failed to come up, you need to create one and make it "findable."
You should also increase your presence by posting your resume or bio using Posterous or WordPress. Use keywords liberally for any job title or job function that you feel is appropriate. Create a professional resume that zeroes in on your value proposition. If you're a natural leader, build a case for that; if you're a tech guru or go-to person when it comes to details and solving problems, sell that as a brand.
There's lots of volatility in the hospitality industry--people move around a lot and there are frequent promotions. So branding to set yourself apart from the crowd is crucial. Keep in mind that today's hotels and resorts are upgrading their expectations to candidates with advanced and specialty degrees. Also hot are tech-savvy candidates who can hit the ground running with the latest software and social networking tools.
In this economy, qualified candidates are in plentiful supply, so you must set yourself apart. While using job boards is still a good tactic, other strategies should be used in unison. Like applying directly via the company's website. Another tactic is to use any contacts you may have in the prospective company. Have them “put a bug” in their manager's ear about your qualifications and use them to pass along your resume.
So what’s your brand? Is it identifiable? Does it work to separate you from the pack? Creating your own personal brand can give you the edge you need to succeed in this highly competitive job market.