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Entering hospitality: Writing a résumé that works

If you are looking to begin a career in the hospitality industry, one of the first steps is crafting your résumé. While the most important part of the résumé is its contents, how you write it will also help determine your potential employer’s response to your application.

A résumé is required in applying for almost any job. These were traditionally written or encoded on paper but over time, people became more creative and started adopting infographics, PowerPoint presentations and images, among others, as their preferred form for their résumé. The contents, however, have changed little.

The first thing to remember about a résumé is that it is a tool solely for marketing yourself. It must include your contact information, educational attainment and professional experience, among others. It must convince recruiters that you are suitable for the job, so it is ideal that your résumé is designed in such a way as to elicit a positive response, whatever medium you may use.

Here are a few pointers for writing a résumé that works:

1. Sell yourself

When you write your résumé, focus on the goal at hand. You want to get hired, so make sure that all the contents point toward realising that objective. Highlight your strengths. Make sure to include your skills and the fields you studied in school. If you completed courses from RTOs, make sure to add them, too. If this is not your first job, put in detail your career experiences so far.

Place emphasis on your achievements. Were you declared “Employee of the Month” for five consecutive months? Did you reduce costs by implementing a wastage reduction scheme? Did you do anything to make your menu better? Your potential employer would want to know about these.

2. Set the script

Think of your résumé as a script for your interview. Potential employers would ask for a copy of your résumé so they have an idea of what to ask you. Use this to your advantage.

What you can do is to make sure that your résumé facilitates a smooth discussion around you and your achievements. Make sure the contents are clear and easy to understand so that they don’t lead to awkward questions you cannot answer. This also means that you should tailor the contents of your résumé to the position you are applying for. If you are vying for a manager position in a restaurant, then mentioning your ability to knit in record time is unnecessary at best.

3. Follow the format

Remember what we said about eliciting a positive response? One of the best ways to do this is to format your résumé in a way that is pleasing to the eye and convenient for your readers. Organise the contents of your résumé. Take this as a good cue:

  • Opening statement / Career summary
  • Skills
  • Educational history
  • Employment history

Keep your résumé clear and concise. While some recruiters go as far as recommending one-page résumés, around two pages is acceptable but exceeding four is discouraged. Employers rarely have time to read lengthy résumés after all. Limiting your résumé to a few pages can be tough, especially if you’ve had a lot of previous job experiences, but it can be done by removing skills, educational attainments and career achievements that are not relevant to your application.

Finally, make sure your résumé is written using an eye-friendly font style and size. Font sizes 11 and 12 are generally ok. Popular selections among font styles are Arial, Verdana and Calibri.

4. Avoid including these

Résumés are meant to be austere, with strict standards on what should go into them and what shouldn’t. Here are some of the items you may want to keep from your résumé:

  • Birthday and age. You are not required to add your age or your birthday. This is to prevent cases of age discrimination.
  • Hobbies. Place only your interests that are relevant to your job. If you are applying in a café, do indicate that you like cooking but not that you like collecting stamps.
  • Computer skills (unless relevant). If you feel that the job will involve computer use, do include the programs you are familiar with.
  • Personal information. Items like religious affiliations and gender can be roots of discrimination. Marital status, social security numbers and the like are unnecessary.
  • Objective. You do not need to indicate that you are applying for a position when you are in fact, already present for your interview.
  • References. It is more polite to secure your references’ permission before you add their details to your résumé. Your employers will also ask for their details when needed.
  • Casual email address. Create a professional-sounding email address if you have to. Your name is a good start.

For good measure, it is ideal that you write your résumé in the first person, especially in the opening statement. The third person is better reserved for your career achievements, especially if you are using bullet points.

5. Be honest

Use your résumé as an opportunity to make yourself appear awesome, but be sure to remain truthful and avoid exaggerations. For starters, lying can lead to inconsistent and even non-existent answers. It will also make you appear less confident and relaxed during the interview. Some companies conduct background checks, too. Failing the honestly test can have dire consequences, the first of which is you not getting the job.

A well-prepared résumé is not your ticket to a job. This does not mean it will not affect your chances though. Think of it as your pass to the next and hopefully, the final step in the process—the interview. So do your best, write a good résumé and get yourself ready for the interview that might change your life.

About Redmako

Redmako Learning is your local hospitality training specialist. We are the most widely used Registered Training Organization (RTO) in the hospitality business industry. We deliver training in the workplace for school-based and non-school-based staff and students that’s fully or partially funded by the government.

Learn more about Redmako Training and Free Recruitment Services

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