Early Careers: 8 Tips To Optimise Your CV And Get Hired In Hospitality

Early Careers: 8 Tips To Optimise Your CV And Get Hired In Hospitality

Are you searching for a new role in the hospitality industry and looking to polish your CV? To any recruiter or company looking for their next hire, it is crucial to make a wow first impression, even more so if you apply for a role at a hotel, a restaurant or an events company.

They receive so many of those every day and usually cast an eye over them for a few seconds, so if your CV doesn’t have what it takes (jargon, experience, skills), you might risk not taking part in the interview process. Remember – your CV is your shop window, your passport to the job jungle. And because we want to give you the boost you need, we compiled a list of tips that should help you secure your dream job in hospitality.

Use bullet points to showcase your work experience 

Ensure that you use a clean layout, easy to read and visually appealing for the reader. For instance, use bullet points to list duties and skills gained from each job.  It is recommended to tailor it to the position you’re applying for by ensuring the bullets are accurate and relevant to the role. If you wanted to undertake a Front of House (FOH) position at a hotel and have won ‘Best Bartender of the Year’, you can highlight that statement near the top of your CV for the recruiter to see it. 

Make sure to give reasons for any gaps between jobs – for example, you could have been volunteering or working towards a qualification relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you don’t yet have any work experience, be sure to include any internships, voluntary experience or projects you have had at college or university. Highlight any successes with these including any collaboration or teamwork. 

Increase your chances of being hired with relevant qualifications 

It is important to mention any training you have done or qualifications that you have achieved that would boost your prospects. A university degree is not the only qualification you could be mentioning. Any learning effort and certification should be highlighted and will add credibility to your profile! 

For instance, if you are applying for an HR role at a hotel, you might benefit from completing CIPD HR Management courses. If you are applying for a customer-facing role might want to go through some Customer Service Training to maximise your chances of success, or if you are applying to hospitality holding Level 2 or 3 Food Hygiene Certificates can certainly improve your chances.  

Tailor your CV to match the job description and profile requirements 

You should carefully read all the information provided about the job you are sending applications for and identify keywords that you can use to build your CV. Try avoiding any unnecessary details that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for. If you feel you want to you could include a photo on your CV, but this isn’t standard anymore, neither is including your gender, age or any other protected characteristics.

Highlight your qualities and successes 

Personal branding is a way to stand out from other applicants. You can use social media channels to market yourself as a brand by showcasing your skills and qualities, as well as posting regular content around your interests and industry. Many recruiters carry out online checks for each applicant, so it is important to be wary of the messages that you publish online. Be mindful the recruiters and hiring managers can also check social channels like Facebook. If you don’t want them to access those, you could make them private or double-check that the content you are posting is appropriate. 

Do highlight your successes on your CV. It’s great to include a list of responsibilities but your achievements will tell a hiring manager more about your attitude and abilities. Before listing the bullet points of responsibilities it’s good to do a short round-up of successes. For example, you could include that you started as a waiter and were promoted to supervisor within 6 months. Or you could say you led an online university project that was successful thanks to the 10 pieces of PR coverage you secured. Or else you could write about a campaign that resulted in 10,000 new social media followers on Instagram. Make sure to highlight your milestones, particularly where you had to work as a team or overcome some challenges.

Use networking platforms for job search 

LinkedIn has a ‘Jobs’ section which gives you the option to apply for jobs in one click. You can also use the platform to let people know you are interested in new opportunities and receive alerts when advertised jobs match your interests. It’s fundamental to build relationships within the industry that you’d like to work in. Rather than sending a connection request only, why not add a quick bio of who you are and why you’d like to connect? Avoid asking anyone for a job upfront – instead, let people know of your career aspirations and actively seek their advice in that area.  

OTOLO is another great place for networking as you can connect with hospitality professionals when you are starting your new role. It is a community made of passionate people working in the global hospitality sector, and you could find a mentor to back you up during your career journey. Our platform offers quality mentoring, career resources and training, with leaders who know what they’re looking for in job candidates thanks to their extensive experience in the sector.

Team up with recruiters 

Another option when job-searching is sending your CV to recruiters and asking them to send you job offers that might be a good match for you. These recruiters are the intermediary between you and the company and will be able to provide you with their experience and advice in regard to interviews and job prospects.   

Write a covering letter or opening summary

You can nail your CV and showcase your successes, but we understand that you might not have years of experience to add that early on. That’s why we’d recommend writing a cover letter, even if it isn’t required. A cover letter can be attached as a PDF or copied into the body of an email or additional information type box. It is a chance for you to impress your employer and show who you are.

As much as it should detail your background, it’s also about your hobbies, interests and values. In your cover letter, include an opening paragraph on why you want to work for this company. It will make the employer think you have done your research and show a genuine interest, rather than just hitting send to a ton of job adverts. 

Always read the fine print  

Have you read carefully all the instructions before applying? Are the dates matching? Is the information relevant? Have you downloaded your CV in the required format? Are your contact details indicated on your CV? If possible, demonstrate you can follow basic procedures by checking the information before submitting your application.   

Your CV or Resume should be concise and easy to read so opt for a professional font and check your spelling and grammar. Ask someone to proofread your CV to eliminate the chance of making small mistakes – which could cost you your job position. Also, don’t forget to use a cover letter highlighting your personality to maximise your chances. 

Top CV Tips: Takeaways from our live session on January 27th – 17:00 GMT 

In the first episode “Top CV Tips” of our Early Careers series, Craig and special guest Gurjit Sandhu, Group Learning and Development Manager at Maybourne Hotel Group gave students and younger professionals tips to optimise a CV and maximise their chances to get hired in hospitality.  

Craig Prentice, Founder of Hospitality Talent Partner mum 

“Keep it real. Have a CV that reflects your personality and successes, be relevant to yourself and the industry you want to work in.” 

“Your passions are usually what you’ve been starting doing early on in your life. I was already fundraising as a 5 or 6-year-old child – your passions don’t change, they evolve.” 

“It’s definitely important for a senior level to have access to a portfolio, especially in creative job positions. It shows your skills and progress within the different projects you’ve been involved with.” 

“I’ve never seen people sharing their disability on a CV, so I think it shouldn’t be indicated on your CV as it belongs to the application process.” 

“In application processes, I usually struggle going back to people. I think they have to be realistic; planning is key when applying for jobs – treat it like a project, not an obsession. 

Gurjit Sandhu, Group Learning and Development Manager at Maybourne Hotel Group 

“You hire people in the business, you never know when you need a photographer or a florist, you realise your staff have those skills and suddenly they build their profile within the company. For us, showing these skills set is very important – we want to help people flourish.” 

“We rely on people, we have our own recruitment talent team, hands-on, and, unfortunately, we don’t have a log for all those skills but we should build something like that!” 

“We received a few video CVs at the Maybourne Hotel Group, and I think it’s quite refreshing! I can see applicants have put lots of effort into it. I think it’s becoming more and more a thing. Anyway, our staff spend time on YouTube and TikTok, and I usually joke with them as they’re on YouTube more than they’re at the bar (laughs)!”  

James Lemon, Founder and CEO of Otolo 

“I think it’s all about highlighting any side projects and having a self-starter attitude.” 

“I prefer traditional CVs versus video CVs. You need a nice and clean CV in Hospitality and a great LinkedIn profile where you showcase your work like blogs, projects that helped charities, etc.” 

“I’m not interested in a photo; I don’t know why. I’d rather give a chance to a profile a little more introverted but the person will have the exact skills I’m looking for.” 

Luce Watson, Marketing Lead at Otolo 

“Showcase your volunteering on your CV, put nice projects or extra skills you learned, for instance, Photoshop editing skills.” 

“It’s all about being curious, organised, communicating, wanting to help and support the team you’re about to work with. We’re not expecting to see pages of work, but indeed showing the right attitude is important, and the ability to solve problems.” 

“Personally, on a CV I want to see what impact you had in your previous companies or projects. Candidates should always be proud of the work they produced, of their achievements.” 

Watch the replay 

We hope we helped get started with your job search. In the meantime, enjoy that opportunity to look at job boards and consider mentoring, to fuel your career in Hospitality. Keep up the good work!