Looking for a job? Whether you are a seasoned professional with the experience to prove it or just starting out, it is important to know what today’s industry leaders are looking for in prospective candidates.
Johnson & Wales University’s Experiential Education & Career Services hosted their 2017 Career Expo and Summer Job Fair at the Providence Campus on March 9. The event, which was mainly focused on hospitality and culinary careers, offered students the opportunity to connect with employers and internship coordinators. Hundreds of industry leaders, like Disney and Compass Group, took over the campus’ Wildcat Center for a day filled with interviews, résumé reviews, and career tips.
We chatted with recruiters to see what they are looking for in future employees — and asked them what jobseekers should know about entering the workforce. Here’s what they said:
What do you look for in a prospective employee’s résumé?
“Personality! In retail, having a good personality is so important – so make sure to showcase that on your résumé. Also, be clear and concise, and give us a glimpse of your life.” — Michael Kors
“A variety of experience. We also look for someone who is well-rounded and participated in extracurricular activities in college.” — Wegmans Food Markets
“I look for significant work experience, not just internships. If someone lists an extracurricular activity on their résumé, I’m looking to see how long they participated in it and if they held a leadership position. We’re also interested in seeing if someone has lived away from home and if they can handle being away—not just for college.” — Great American Restaurants “We look for a strong personality and a desire to learn new things. And of course, hospitality experience.” — National Hotel
“Work experience, specifically in the hospitality industry, either in restaurants or hotels.” — Newport Marriott “We definitely look for prior experience. Personally, I look for professionalism on a résumé, too. We also want to see if there are any employment gaps.” — Whole Foods Market
"The type of individual we’re looking for probably won’t have much experience in the exact thing we’re looking for – because we’re an event décor company. Many haven’t done something like that before! So really, we’re just looking for someone with a great personality who is comfortable speaking to clients. That person needs to have a certain level of professionalism, too.” — Exquisite Events Details & Décor
What kind of entry-level positions or internship programs do you offer?
“We offer entry-level retail positions in our stores and also have a corporate internship program in New York.” — Michael Kors
"We offer culinary internships and absolutely offer entry-level store positions, too.” — Wegmans Food Markets
"We offer an internship program, and right now, we’re hiring restaurant managers—preferably someone right out of college. We’re also looking to hire sous chefs and kitchen managers. As far as entry-level positions, we hire servers or hosts who could potentially work toward being promoted to management positions. We’re always looking for candidates because we have 12-plus restaurants in the Washington D.C. area.” — Great American Restaurants
“Most of our positions are entry-level. Primarily, we’re looking to fill culinary and front-desk positions.” — National Hotel
“We have internships available and are also currently hiring for our busy summer season. Right now, we’re looking for people for a variety of positions, including bartenders, housekeepers, and banquet servers.” — Newport Marriott
“We don’t currently offer internships but we have entry-level positions in almost all of our departments. We encourage people to pick a department that interests them, so from cashiers to deli counter, we have entry-level positions.”— Whole Foods Market
“We offer an internship program but unfortunately, all of our positions for this year are filled. Interning is a great way to get experience, though. Also, almost all of our positions are entry-level because we don’t really look for specific experience.” — Exquisite Events Details & Décor
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to work for your company?
“Be yourself, be upbeat and be passionate!” — Michael Kors
“Have relevant experience and make sure to taste as much food as possible.” — Wegmans Food Markets
“Know what you know and what you don’t know. Don’t pretend you know everything—because you don’t. Be real!” — Great American Restaurants
“Get as much experience as you can. Get your feet wet in the industry.” — National Hotel
“Flexibility is key. As a busy hotel, we’re looking for employees who are willing to work weekends and holidays—and who are easily adaptable.” — Newport Marriott
“Show us your enthusiasm. We want to see your professional drive and your interest in our company’s core values.” — Whole Foods Market
“Have a good work ethic. In this industry, days can be long and you need to have the drive to work hard. Also, don’t ever give off the impression that you’re too good to do anything. That goes for people in any position, at any level! — Exquisite Events Details & Décor
Ultimately, the industry experts say having a strong résumé with plenty of work experience will help you land the job. Add in a great personality and a strong work ethic, and you are sure to make an impression.
If you are a current JWU student and are looking to connect with Experiential Education and Career Services, click here. For more information on how JWU Online 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.