Whether you are looking to land your first professional job or your résumé brims with career experience, it’s important to know what today’s top employers are seeking in the ideal job candidate. Experiential Education & Career Services hosted the Food Service & Hospitality Career Fair at the Johnson & Wales University Providence Campus on October 22, and we asked recruiters what makes an applicant stand out. Here is how you can make a great impression and, more important, land that job.
What Makes a Candidate Stand Out at a Career Fair or During an Interview?
“Personality. Are they warm and caring? They also need to convey that they have a strong work ethic.” — Shake Shack
“In the hospitality world, your personality has to come across. I’m looking for someone who is professional and can articulate their skills.” — Coast Guard House
“I want to feel a personal connection. They need to be able to hold a conversation and be able to talk about their experience in the field.” — J. Alexander’s
“Ambition, personality, and attitude. We can provide any training that they need to fill the specific role.” — Rosewood Hotel Group
“Experience. It helps if they are familiar with hotel technology and using a property management system. But we have so many areas of opportunity, not just technology.” —Priceline.com
“Confidence and connectivity. They should be able to answer questions on the fly. I want to get the feeling they are eager and career-driven, and that they have a specific interest in the field.” — Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
“A willingness to learn and work hard. We also look for a combination of business and school experience.” — Eurest
What Do You Look for on a Résumé or Cover Letter?
“It’s OK if you don’t have a tremendous amount of career experience, but don’t forget to highlight how you spend your time. Something like volunteer experience can speak volumes on a résumé.” — Shake Shack
“Can you match skills to the specific positions listed on your résumé? Make sure you are applying for a specific job and articulating that. Also, find some way to stand out and communicate your interest and enthusiasm for the position.” — Coast Guard House
“I love to see extracurriculars. Show that you can handle a class load and a full-time job.” — J. Alexander’s
“Highlight your hospitality experience and what you learned. Also, why do you want to stay in the field?” — Rosewood Hotel Group
“I look for at the overall presentation and format. Does it fit on one page? If it does, is everything crammed in? Make it clear, clean, and concise.” — Priceline.com
“We want to know work experience, and don’t be afraid to put entry-level jobs. Most people start at the bottom. Are you serious and willing to put in the effort? Is your work schedule open? Do you know how the industry works?” — Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
“One page. Easy to read. Check that you have proper contact information — I’ve tried to contact people before but couldn’t because they listed the wrong phone number. Also, if you don’t live in the area where you are applying, mention your willingness to relocate. Try to quantitate your experience. If you were a manager, don’t just list your responsibilities, tell us your sales figures; if you’re a server, how many tables you turned, etc.” — Eurest
How Does a Degree Set Candidates Apart?
“It could open the door to management opportunities, especially if you also have experience in the field.” —Shake Shack
“Your salary only increases with a degree, and you are more qualified to move into management.” — J. Alexander’s
“We’re always looking for direct-hire opportunities. We have six hotels in the U.S. and 18 hotels worldwide. We’re keeping an eye out for what’s to come.” — Rosewood Hotel Group
“It depends on the position, but it would be required for director-level positions.” —Priceline.com
“We look for a combination of a degree with professional experience. Even with a degree, some positions require that you work your way up. Consider taking a job to get your foot in the door. We hired a candidate from the spring career fair, who started hourly but in six months has been promoted to salary. Even people at the top started somewhere.” —Eurest
For more information on how Johnson & Wales University School of Online & Continuing Education can you help you pursue your career goals, contact us at 855-JWU-1881 or [email protected]. You can also fill out the “Request Info” form on this page.