Case Study: How To Get A Job In Hospitality

Wednesday 12 November, 2014

How To Get A Job In Hospitality: BENCHMARQUE

BENCHMARQUE Founder Marlowe with the office dog, King!


If you're trying to score yourself a hospitality job, either with or without experience, then you've come to the right place!


Here's the inside scoop from Michelle, the Staffing Manager for BENCHMARQUE, a hospitality and events recruitment company.


What’s the best part of working in hospitality?


Working in hospitality comes down to two main things for me. Firstly, and foremost, it’s the people. The ones you get to work alongside, work for and those that you get look after. Hospitality allows you to meet many different people from so many different cultures and walks of life. The second for me is how incredibly dynamic working in hospitality (particularly events) can be. Every day is a new challenge whether it is working for a new client, in a new venue or with a new menu – I am always learning and because of this you never ever get bored!


What, in your opinion, are the three key attributes for someone working in hospitality to possess?


1. A passion for the industry

2. A great attitude towards their work – this includes a great smile =)

3. Humbleness – at all levels of hospitality. Because it is such a dynamic industry there really is always something to learn.


What do you look for on a resume?


Get Specific: Your resume should be specific to the job you’re applying for. Tailor your resume for each role. Yes, this is more time consuming, but making this extra effort will help you get your foot in the door. If there is a job description – refer back to this thoroughly to make it easy for the recruiter to match up your relevant skills to the role in which you are applying for.


Take each application seriously. Take the time to compose a cover letter that is addressed to the recruiter or the business and explains WHY you want to work with them.


Keep it short. A well written resume should be no more than two pages - a recruiter can receive hundreds of applications a day so make sure to include all the vital information without going on for pages and pages.


Loyalty to each company and commitment to each role. We appreciate people staying in a job for at least 12 months. For this reason, only put roles on your resume that can help highlight longevity OR try explain a valid reason why you left eg: End of visa. If you have a lot of short-term roles think about whether you really need ALL of them on your resume. Try to consolidate the main roles that have the relevant experience to the position you are applying for, and leave the rest to discuss in person at the interview.


Attention to detail – People always put that they have great attention to detail but then have spelling mistakes throughout their resume or they haven’t addressed the cover letter to the right person. Get someone else to check your resume with fresh eyes before you submit it.


Formatting – ensure your presentation is clear and professional. The resume needs to be visually appealing so the recruiter will want to read it. Convert your resume to a PDF – always and if you are going to use a photo, ensure you look well presented and professional in it.


How To Get A Job In Hospitality: the BENCHMARQUE Office



What advice can you give for those preparing for a job interview?


First impressions:

Always arrive to an interview 10 minutes (no earlier) before the scheduled start time.

Presentation – there is that age-old piece of advice that says always dress for the role above the one you are applying for. This applies even more so to entry-level positions. It doesn’t necessarily mean to wear a suit, but take the time to plan what you will wear. Jeans, singlet’s, shorts and/or thongs are not acceptable interview attire. Know the brand that you are interviewing with and dress yourself accordingly. If it is a hotel then strict corporate attire would be best, if you are interviewing with a bar or nightclub then something that shows your sense of style will help bring your personality out in the interview.

For the Guys – collared shirts are a must, ensure your shoes are neat and presentable – no sneakers!

Ladies – keep it classy. Dresses or skirts should be mid-thigh length at a minimum and if you are going to wear heels make sure you can walk in them!


Try to keep your nerves in check - Keep eye contact with the interviewer and try not to fidget in your chair. If your hands are shaking then try to keep them folded in your lap.


Research the company you are interviewing with! You don’t have to know everything about them, but you should know the basics – when they started and an idea of what their mission and or culture is. You should be able to talk to the interviewer about their brand. This will also help you talk with them about why you want to work for them and what you can bring to the role and their team.


Show you are passionate – the number one thing a prospective employer wants to see is that you have passion for the industry you are applying for, the role that you are seeking and the business that you hope to work in. A good employer will understand that they can teach skills, but finding candidates who have a genuine interest in their company and a passion for what they do is rare. Passion can’t be taught so find a way to show yours throughout the interview.


Browse OneShift's hospitality jobs.


What’s the biggest turn off during a job interview?


BEING LATE. It’s difficult to come back from that as for me, it sets the tone for future employment.


Do you have any advice for our OneShifters on how they can improve their profiles or how to attract employers?


Take your profile seriously! I have noticed a lot of profiles that aren’t filled out properly; candidates haven’t taken time to properly communicate their skill sets, their previous roles or given an introduction about themselves and what they are looking for. Many OneShifters have photos on their files that are not professional (cartoon characters, funny posing photos, action shots) – remember this is your online resume and not Facebook! If you want potential employers to contact you, upload a photo that has you well presented, smiling at the camera – professional.


Try to be creative with your bio – this is your chance to stand out from the crowd and sell yourself to a prospective employer. Treat it as an opportunity to tell us (the employers) who you are and why we should be contacting you.


What tips can you give to candidates looking for a role in hospitality with limited or no experience?


Know how to sell yourself into a role - look for key aspects in your current job that could apply to the role in which you are applying. For example, do you have experience in retail? Then skills such as customer service and operating a till are transferrable to many hospitality roles.


Be prepared to start from the bottom to work your way up to the role you want – many candidates come to us wanting to work behind a bar having never done so before. Consider this and be prepared to start as a bar back or glassy before making the move into the bar.


Show you have a great attitude and work ethic – commitment and loyalty to previous roles (even in different industries) will show a future employer that you are a good investment for training up into the role you desire. Highlight this in your application and through the interview process.


Don’t give up – there will be plenty of unsuccessful applications along the way, but try not to take this to heart. Think of it like this – each time you receive a “no” this is just pushing you along the path to the “YES” that is right for you.

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