November 25th, 2013
When is it time to look transition from one restaurant manager position, to another, or to move into a restaurant general manager’s position? Career development can be a vital part of a manager’s survival. Stagnating in one job can be as devastating to a career as leaving a job placement too early.
The options are obvious:
Do It Yourself
Work with a Hospitality Recruitment Firm
Work with a Career Coach
Wait until the economy improves and something drops in your lap
These are all options, but which one is right for your career? This decision can affect your wealth generating potential for the next decade.
Step 1: Which Job Site Is The Best For Your Career?
There are several top job posting sites but the best one for managers is to find a firm that specializes in your niche. We’ve all spent at least one afternoon looking for a better job. The typical sites like indeed or monster can offer several jobs in our area of expertise.
The choice depends on where you are in your career. If you are looking to ‘experiment’ and try something new, then grabbing a job from a public job board may be the best choice. You may find a short contract position, or a temp job.
Management Candidates who are looking for a long term placement where they can take control of projects to the end, and possibly make full time career out of their next job placement would be better to work with a recruiting company. These companies not only have access to jobs before they hit the job boards, but they also have insider access to jobs at the large franchises.
Step 2: Is Relocation an Option?
There are more opportunities for people who are willing to relocate. If you are willing to relocate, and want a long term position then you are a ‘dream candidate’ for a recruitment firm. Working with a recruiter will help ensure that a move across country will result in a good, long term, job placement.
Moving for a job listed on a job placement website, or classifieds can be risky. The employer may misrepresent the job. There is less chance that the job will be long term. There is no proof that the job is real, or more than a ‘let’s try this out’ job.
Step 3: Age - From Graduate To 50+ Jobs
There are jobs for the 50+ managers in the hospitality industry, both for experienced restaurant managers and those in transition. Robert Krzak CEO of www.geckohospitality.com , the hospitality industry’s largest recruiter/headhunter franchise is quick to assure the 50+ managers that there are job placements for their age group. This is especially true for those looking for long term jobs.
This is not surprising for anyone in human resources. The younger generation often jump from one job to the next, in less than a year. They barely ‘break even’ before they are looking for the next challenge. The older generation were trained to expect longevity. They are content working for a decade in one job. This is beneficial in some restaurants that need someone to see projects through to the end.
Other job positions fit the high energy and enthusiasm of a recent graduate. These jobs may follow the more traditional route, hoping to snag a graduate who doesn’t have a professional career development team in place.
I asked for advice that I could share to 50+ candidates from recruiters at http://www.geckohospitality.com which specializes in placing restaurant managers and general managers in long term positions.
“It shouldn't change anything, but it can tip the scales for some companies out there, sometimes in a candidates favor and sometime it can hurt them. In this case, it is important to not list all of your employment on your resume, but rather the last 10 years or so. It is also suggested that dates of education be removed from the resume as well. A candidate over 50 needs to focus on the great experience they have had, but also be sure to convey to a perspective employer that they are not set in their ways, but rather, a sponge that is still willing to accept feedback.” Greater Heights Consulting LLC dba Gecko Hospitality, Management Recruiter.
“Your objective at the top of your resume should not say anything about your "over 35 years" of hospitality experience. Companies can make decisions whether or not to call a candidate simply because of what they view on a resume. Make your resume as relevant to the position as possible. Correct your on line presence to remove age related information. Pictures of grand-kids immediately dates you.” Marty T., Eastern Pennsylvania, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
Step 4: Currently Unemployed
All the rules change if you’ve been unemployed for more than a few weeks. The typical resume submission and job application sites can make you appear desperate. There is the stigma in the HR world that an unemployed person is unemployable.
It is possible to overcome this. In this case you want to appear valuable. You want a team of highly trained professionals on your side. Presentation is everything. The job search market is not the place to learn how to find a job. When you are gambling with your career and limiting your wealth generation for the next decade, you want to play smart.
Step 5: Don’t Limit Your Potential
As a career coach I can honestly state that most people who feel they’ve reached the ceiling have limited their own potential. Our beliefs and perceptions may be founded on information that we believed was up to date and industry related, but that doesn’t make them true, or realistic.
On the other end, our expectations may not be realistic and result in us loosing job positions that are a perfect match for our skill set. If your sights are set too low, or too high, then it might be time to develop a team of professionals who make money based on your career success. These professionals can include a recruiting firm, career coach, writers, bloggers, colleagues, and most important a network of people who are currently working in your dream job.
Successful people can teach you how to be successful. But don’t think it is all one sided. When working with professionals you can expect to do most of the growing, changing – the work. This is part of your training. Success isn’t a goal. Success is a behavior. It is an action. Once you learn this then your chances of having your dream job ‘dropped in your lap’ increase exponentially.
November 18th, 2013
Have you ever pressed ‘send’ on an email then realized you sent the email to the wrong person. Hopefully you did not alert your current boss that you are looking for a new job. There are several ways to avoid making a drastic mistake.
1. Job Search Email
Do not use a free email. If you’ve created a job website or blog, then you can create an email for job searches only. Do not use your personal email. It ‘brands’ you as personal, not professional.
The same importance needs to be addressed in your signature. Make sure all your contact information is included. Remember that the hiring manager may be swamped with emails and might use search to find yours.
If you include your website and LinkedIn information then the recruiter may be able to find extra information, or references, without needing to search.
2. Reply All
The problems with using the reply all button is obvious. If you are use to using the reply all button, then you increase your chances of having the wrong person receive an email. There is also the impression that the hiring manager, or contact person, is not important enough to receive their own email.
Address your email to one contact person. Send a BBC to yourself so you have a record of the email. Make sure the job position, number, and your name is in the subject line.
If you do not know who to address the email to then ask, or address the email to ‘Dear Hiring Manager’
3. Importance feature
Never mark an email as low importance – ever.
4. Keep Emails Short and Sweet.
A general guideline is to write an email and then cut it down to 150 words. It is amazing how easily you can edit out all the fluff. If you need to write a longer email then break it into sections using sub titles that highlight and summarize the topic.
5. Answer Questions
Make sure you’ve answered all the questions the recruiter asked. There is nothing worse than exchanging more emails than necessary. It also shows the recipient that you were uninterested in the topic.
6. Don’t Abbreviate
It is not acceptable to use improper grammar or incorrect spelling. This includes any texts you may send. It is important to use the same grammar and spelling that you would use in a formal letter.
7. Answer Emails Immediately
If you wait three days to respond to an email then you’ve lost an opportunity. In the professional world email replies are sent promptly. If you fail to respond to a job search email then you can appear irresponsible.
8. Stay Away from All Capital Letters and Don’t Use Emoticons
This is annoying and can be misinterpreted as anger or rudeness.
Emoticons should never be used. There is no way to properly interpret them, and they send the wrong message to a recruiter who is looking for someone responsible enough to manage a profitable restaurant..
9. Write Well and Proofread
Do not trust spell check. Quickly scan emails before sending them to a professional. Silly and embarrassing mistakes can become costly, career damaging, blunders.
Emails have become one of the forms of communication that we pay little attention to. We forget to read what we wrote and make sure we’ve conveyed our message effectively and succinctly. Google sentence structure and writing a well constructed email will say more about your skills as a manager than the best website or resume.
Sending a test message is a good idea. Sometimes you can see errors that you missed in the draft.
Keep your attachments clean and neat. Make sure they are printable. Sending your resume in PDF format is better than sending a word document. Even if you have a copy of your resume on your website, attach it to every email. Never make the recruiter or hiring manager chase down your information.
November 11th, 2013
Unemployment creates a series of events that can force you to seek another career. Causality can destroy the brightest career in a few short months. Unemployment forces managers back into the work force. They are now older. Their hard skill set is more out of date. Their management skills need to be updated. This is not always an easy thing.
A restaurant manager who remained employed for the last 10 years is now competing for jobs with people who’ve invested a year studying life coaching, communication, personality analysis. All these are terms that were nondescript when this manager started the last job. Now, they are the difference between being employed and quickly becoming unemployable.
It can take a while to catch up on skills, especially when there are financial obligations to fulfill. It can be difficult, but there are ways to make your resume look like you are proactive and desirable in today’s market place.
First and foremost, contact a hospitality recruiter to help you find a restaurant management job, or a position in the hospitality industry. Their goal is to keep you working.
There are companies that offer online internships to qualified candidates. There will not be any restaurant manager internships, but there may be openings that can broaden your skill set. This is also a short term way to prevent a big hole in your resume.
This is a good way to stay active, but make sure that you are building your management skills. A position handing out brochures door to door is not going to help your career. Taking control of a project and seeing it through to completion, before the deadline, is an excellent choice.
There are very few management jobs with a temp agency, but if you’ve been out of work for a few months then a temp agency may be the best way to fill the gap.
Take a university course. If finances are tight then audit the course. This can make it look like you took a sabbatical from work to study. It also shows that you are pro active and aggressively improving your skills.
The courses must reflect ‘problem solving’ skills that the Hiring Manager needs to address. This is an excellent way to show your soft skills without having to spoon feed the information to the Recruiter.
There are many websites that offer consulting jobs, online. Sites like Guru.com and Elance.com can help connect managers with ‘relevant’ jobs.
Setting up shop as a coach/consultant can be a great way to stay active and promote your skills, stay employed, and improve your skill set.
How many times have you listened to someone and thought “what’s the point?” There’s a line between talking about something relevant to the conversation and blatant egocentric, self promotion. When using social sites as a way to promote your career thing ‘showing not telling.’ Being told puts distance between you and your audience. Showing creates interaction and relationship. The audience engages the audience. Learn to keep the focus on the other person. Ask questions, encourage conversation, and help people come to their own conclusions, influenced by what you want them to know.
This may not create a strong resume. This type of promotion will help build your network and ‘show’ your skills through references and online communication.
There are several ways to get references. LinkedIn is one way. Written references, or votes on a freelance website are also a powerful way to promote your skills. These references can be promoted on your business card and your resume.
Focus on the Important Aspects of Your Job
Many candidates have a narrow focus of what companies want in a manager. They are often shocked to see how far ‘off base’ or unrealistic their beliefs and perceptions really are.
“Steady growth pattern through the industry. Being an assistant manager for over 5 years would make a recruiter wonder why you were not able to move up to a higher position. Conversation skills, many managers will talk about their ability to control food costs, or 'really kick it' in the kitchen, but aren't comfortable talking to guests during table visits. Results, what accomplishments has the candidate made? Sales increases, cost controls. The recruiter wants to know you understand the business of running a restaurant.” Marty T., Eastern Pennsylvania, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
November 4th, 2013
Is Your Resume Stopping Ruining Your Job Prospects? It is possible that a Recruiter will spend less than 30 seconds reading your resume before phoning you. If you are not receiving calls for an interview then there is something in your resume that is limiting your opportunities.
Reason # 1: The Scanner
As technology advances the practical aspects make life easier, but can make it more difficult to land the perfect job. The scanning technology works to eliminate ‘off topic’ resumes. Review the job posting thoroughly for keywords. A scanner may be reading the resumes, searching for these words. If your resume lacks them then it is dismissed.
Reason #2: Generic Resumes
After resumes are scanned they are given to a hiring manager. Job seekers often create a generic resume, hoping it will land them a job. When a Hiring Manager finds a resume that doesn’t appear to be a carbon copy of previous resumes then they may stop and read it.
Generic resumes proves to the restaurant that you have developed your ‘managerial skills’. Face it, if you cannot create a resume then how can you be expected to manage a restaurant?
Reason #3: You Didn’t Sell Yourself
You are a multifaceted person. It is difficult creating a brand and sticking to it. What is devastating is to create a brand that cannot land you a manager’s position in a prestigious restaurant. This can happen when you are not offering convincing experience.
You’ve written your resume and shortened it. You’ve added keywords that highlight specific accomplishments. You’ve shown where you’ve made a difference. What you forgot to do was to create a ‘package’ that can be delivered to the recruiter. If you cannot ‘bring it all together’ then all your work is wasted. This is why it is so important to start promoting yourself long before you need to find a job. Selling is a talent. It can be learned, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there is an art to selling. The more intangible the product (you) the harder it is to sell.
Networking mistakes are the biggest. Most people do not like networking. It is intense and emotional. Most Candidates use a network as a “tool”. It is used once or twice, to solve a specific task (Job Search), and then neglect the network. This does not build trust. In fact, it damages your personal brand by making you look egocentric. This job hunt strategy is called “exploiting your network”. Once you’ve exploited your network, and fail to find a job, where do you go?
If the members of your network feel ‘disposable’ they will not pass good job openings on to you. This can be difficult in the restaurant industry where no one wants to talk about a restaurant without a manager.
Another problem that is difficult to overcome is the emotional impact. Job seekers go through an emotional roller coaster as time passes. The clock is ticking. If you are out of a job too long then you may be deemed as unemployable. This can be avoided by learning the “Law of Attraction.” Negotiation skills will also be one of your best assets.
The most important thing is to keep working. Do not stagnate. Do not quit. Life happens while you are waiting for luck to drop a job in your lack. How you manage this time can be your strongest promotion tool. It can highlight your ambition and motivation better than any other job search tool.
I asked 15 professional hospitality recruiters at http://www.geckohospitality.com what the #1 way to get a job was and their answer was ‘work with a network.’ This was followed, 100%, by ‘utilize your network properly. Don’t exploit your network.’
October 29th, 2013
As a career and life coach I deal with soft skills on a daily basis. These are not inherent in humans. They are learned behaviors that many people do not learn. What is surprising is the number of people who do learn these behaviors. When we develop soft skills we have a ‘change of perspective’ that changes how we interact with people.
When I talk to recruiters about their conversation skills I often receive the same feedback.
“Steady growth pattern through the industry. Being an assistant manager for over 5 years would make a recruiter wonder why you were not able to move up to a higher position. Conversation skills, many managers will talk about their ability to control food costs, or 'really kick it' in the kitchen, but aren't comfortable talking to guests during table visits. Results, what accomplishments have the candidate made? Sales increases, cost controls. The recruiter wants to know you understand the business of running a restaurant." Marty T., Eastern Pennsylvania, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
This statement sums up the secret to success succinctly, “Honesty Genuine enthusiasm Excellent communication skills,” Sterling Leadership Consulting, LLC dba Gecko Hospitality.
The problem with soft skills is that many of us believe we have them when we don’t. We see ‘fear of losing a good job’ as motivation. We mistake a reluctance to take responsibility as being a team player. We don’t want to learn good communication skills, so we see ourselves as self motivated.
1. Honesty and Integrity
2. Strong Work Ethic
3. Emotional Intelligence – including the ability to accept feedback
4. Self Motivated/Confident
5. High energy/positive attitude
6. Team Player
8. Good Communication/Negotiation
9. Problem Solving
You can read 100 articles on promoting your soft skills. There is a wide variety of advice, most of it wrong. A soft skill is something that is inherent in your beliefs about who you are. These are reflected in your behavior. Small subtle things reflect your beliefs. Something as small as a hand gesture, or the way you answer a question can speak volumes.
Experienced companies have candidate’s complete personality tests. These are designed to identify the client’s priorities, beliefs, and also uncover whether the client has lied.
The first step to developing your soft skills is to ask friends and family to offer an honest evaluation. It is very common to learn that others do not see us with the same rose tinted glasses as we see ourselves. It is also common to discover that you are one person at home, and another at work.
This information comes as a surprise to many who feel that behaviors are an integral part of your identity. These people feel that the world should ‘take them as they are’. This rarely works in today’s job market.
Another problem with soft skills is simply put, ‘if you need to list your soft skills for your manager then they are not part of your behaviors.’
Learning to develop soft skills is easy, but it can take a while to experience a change in your behavior. It can take several months. As you learn to develop your soft skills you will change your method of solving problems, dealing with conflict, and handling workplace drama and politics. People will see a difference and start commenting on the change.
Actions speak louder than words. This is a simple fact. When reading a resume recently I saw one clause ‘I am a good problem solver with excellent communication skills.’ I immediately skimmed down the resume looking for problems this person had solved. Large blanks in the resume showed that they couldn’t solve the problem of unemployment. There were no volunteer or internships, no education upgrades, and no examples of solved problems. Either this person lied, or doesn’t see this soft skill as important to their job. The only other alternative is that this person’s communication skills are not developed enough to ‘prove’ their claims.
October 22nd, 2013
We’ve build several dozen articles designed to teach Restaurant Managers how to sell their expertise and skills to Recruiters. This article is designed to help Candidates find ways to promote their skills. It is more important to avoid making mistakes than it is to learn how to complete a task. Your resume is worthless if you believe that handing it out to employers is the sole purpose of the resume.
Recruiters have been encouraging their Candidates to build a strong social profile for years.
“Lack of social media identity can cause concern by prospective employer, non-professional or poor profile can indicate poor match for companies.” J.Scott Radel, Cleveland, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
“Companies, recruiters are looking at your Facebook and LinkedIn pages before they are even calling a candidate. Are your pages professional? Do they present you in the right light? Pictures of you chugging a beer or doing a shot of liquor will make a prospective recruiter wince. Your picture should be a head shot, and you should be dressed professionally, you need to set the right impression. Be careful of your 'likes' these also paint a picture of the type of person you are. What groups do you belong to, on-line? Are you involved in professional groups, do you participate in discussions. These are all things that will give a recruiter a reason to call.”Marty T., Eastern Pennsylvania, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
Step 1: Promote Your Brand
It is easy to focus on promoting your brand while you are employed. It is easy to keep your LinkedIn and Blogs up when you are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. We are motivated by need. Losing a job creates several needs, and fears. That is why the savvy job seeker works to improve their brand and promote it, long before they need a job.
If you wait till you need a job to build your brand then you can expect to waste time experimenting, testing, and refining. This is valuable time needed to promote. Intelligent managers are constantly promoting. This gives them time to smooth out their performance, discard what doesn’t work, and improve what does.
It can take months to build an effective LinkedIn Profile. This is one of the most important online tools a Candidate will ever have. It has one purpose – to build trust. LinkedIn is like networking.
It is not about you. Do not focus on yourself but on your ‘customer’. Promotion is about building a network of friends and colleagues who are willing to work together for building a relationship. Their similar needs and motivations bring them together. This is a perfect place to post your resume and press kit.
Step 2: Job Seeker Press Kit
Do you have a press kit? If you currently have a professional blog then you also have a press kit. Standing between you and your dream job is a recruiter. This person must sort through hundreds of resumes and match candidates to open positions. These people become experts at spotting careless errors. They have no rapport with you. You have less than 15 seconds to impress them. There are better ways to find a job. Many of them put the power of finding a job in your hands. A press kit offers something you can ‘give away’ that will enhance your resume.
Step 3: Follow Up
One of the best ways to build trust is to interact with the hiring manager. Some Candidates have learned the value of sending thank you cards. Every career coach tells their clients to do this. Every Recruiter wonders why they don’t.
Your thank you can include the URL of your blog, LinkedIn, or website. It has one purpose, to give the HR manager a piece of paper to file. If the hiring manager has a hand written note they may be more likely to consider you for the next job. This is one way to land a job before it is posted.
Step 4: Listen and Build Trust
Lack of trust is the #1 reason that networking doesn’t work. Networking isn’t about you. It is about building relationships that lead to your next job. It is about building a brand. It is about building trust. Candidates who build trust are more likely to be considered for a job.
Networking also gives you an opportunity to listen to stories. When a hiring manager opens up and shares a story you are instantly getting an insider’s look to the problems at the top of their priority list.
Keep reading through our blog at http://www.geckohospitality.com/restaurant_job_seeker/. There are more than two years worth of articles designed to help Job Seekers find their dream job.
October 15th, 2013
“Build it and they will come.”
While this statement made a lasting impression in the movie, art does not mimic real life in this case. Today’s job seeker needs to do more than sitting by the phone, or handing out resumes. In fact, the good jobs never hit the classified ads. In some cases, the jobs posted on the classifieds might be just a ‘fishing expedition’ with no job to fill.
Recruiters do not peruse the job boards looking for qualified candidates. They will type their specific skill set into a browser and see what pops up. Job seekers can take advantage of this by making sure their areas of expertise are available when employers go looking.
Don’t Waste Time Online. Use Your Time wisely. Even the top recruiters are encouraging their clients to brand themselves.
“Right now, social media is a huge resource for the current job seeker. If used correctly sites such as Linkedin really provide candidates endless means of networking.... social media can be an excellent tool when it is used correctly. However, if you are not careful these can also be career killers. Make sure to always privatize anything that can be construed as destructive to yourself or others on your personal site or blog. Once it is on the internet, someone will see it! ” Bob, Eastern Pennsylvania, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
Step 1: A Web Resume
This needs to be light, simple, professionally made – and mobile friendly. Do not post a Word document online. Make your website in a good HTML code. You can attach a PDF version to your site but do not make the PDF your whole site.
One of the best places to post a resume is on your LinkedIn profile. This is an excellent place to list your skills and show the recruiter that you take Job Hunting seriously.
Step 2: A Professional Blog
Create a blog and talk about your experience and skills. Focus on your passions, and provide advice and experience. A blog differs from a website in several ways. You can maintain it weekly, keeping a copy of old posts. It allows users to interact with you.
The trick is to be smart about what you post. Be diligent and the recruiters will surf your blog to find the ‘proof’ that you are the best Candidate for the job.
A website is advertising focused
A blog is relationship focused
These need to send the same message. Don’t waste your time. If your resume, blog, website, LinkedIn, and other sites do not give the same message then the recruiters will be less likely to respond.
Step 3: Promote Your Personal Brand
You are your product. You are your brand. Everything you do, say, write, publish, are all part of your personal brand. Whether you hand a professionally made, graphic business card to a person, or you shove a resume in their face, you are identifying your brand.
Building a brand is not about creating something new. It is about looking at the messages you are sending and fine tuning them so that they ‘sell’ you to a potential employer. The successful job seeker sheds the ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude and builds a compelling personal brand. Then they will spend their time promoting that brand. Your brand needs to become part of you. It is the message you send.
A personal brand will help you avoid some of the most common job seeker mistakes. This is important, that is why we include several Step by Step tutorials that will help you build your brand. These articles are in our resume job seekers blog, not our corporate blog. Take the time to visit http://www.geckohospitality.com/restaurant_job_seeker/
Step 4: Stop Wasting Time
Many people are into processes. They love to create. They are ‘in love’ with the idea of being a manager, but do not want the lifestyle. It is easy to see who falls into this category. Candidates that spend weeks on a website then do not finish it. Managers who do not promote their online sites, or those who do not network, all fall into this category. They are busy with tasks but do not get down to the most important job – selling their skills.
October 9th, 2013
One of the hardest pitches to sell is marketing a sill set. It is one of those ‘intangibles’ that cannot be shown. A manager’s skill set is an intangible. How do you prove you can do the job? At one time in their career a manager needs to step into the shoes of a sales person and convince a recruiter that they can do the job, but how?
Unfortunately, most of the skills needed to tell you how to ‘sell your managerial skills’ are also intangibles. It is difficult to explain everything needed in a simple article. What we can do is put you on the right path to finding out whether you are able to sell yourself.
The Elevator Speech
This is a sales tool that every Management Candidate needs to develop, long before they need it. As a career coach, I’ve worked with many people who brought professionally made resumes to me. On first glance they appear to be everything a management Candidate could desire. However, after reading the document I was left wondering ‘What can this person ‘do.’
The resume in question showed a lot of employment history and listed tasks that I knew were part of the job – it was taken for granted. What this job failed to do was sell. As a Management Candidate you need to look in the mirror and see your most valuable product. Your resume needs to reflect this.
Your resume is your elevator speech. It tells the world who you are, and what you do – well. When I read a resume that lists ‘tasks’ I see someone who ‘works for a paycheck.’ When I see a resume with passion, action, and accomplishments I see someone who will work hard to reach my goals.
And that is the ‘secret to success’ in the hospitality industry. The Candidate’s task is to get hired. The recruiters task is to solve a problem. The problem isn’t an empty chair behind the manager’s desk. In fact, a good manager can delegate tasks and free themselves from the desk. What today’s business want are people who see a direct relationship between their time at work and the revenue generated by the restaurant.
There are a few ways to get started:
1. What do you do well?
2. Have you saved your previous employers money?
3. Have you increased revenue?
4. Can you manage people, well?
5. Are you a good analyst who can find and fix problems?
6. Are you good at taking the leadership role through a transition?
7. Can you see the employer’s vision?
The Job Life Cycle
Not every job needs a manager that will stay forever. Some restaurants have a two – five year plan that needs a Restaurant Manager who can ‘make things happen.’ Don’t lock yourself into the belief that every job is a forever job. Take the bold step and write a resume that will win you a ‘project’. This may help keep you employed when other Candidates cannot find a job.
We published 6 – 10 articles a month on this blog. Each is dedicated to helping restaurant professionals find the perfect match. Take the time to surf this website. When you are ready, ask one of our restaurant recruiters to help you find the perfect job.
Be Patient and Work with Your Recruiter
“I had a candidate that I spoke with regularly for close to 4 years. He was an A player that was earning a great salary. He was comfortable where he was at and knew his job inside and out, but there would never be an opportunity to move into multi unit management with them. His performance was very strong, and as a result, so was his bonus payout.
This candidate was looking for a concept that could compensate him in a manner he was accustomed to, but also provide him with an opportunity to one day get into multi unit management. He didn't think it would be possible, but we found it for him with a growing concept that knows how important it is to have the right people running their units, and believed in compensating them accordingly. He joined the team and within a year, he became a DM for them, and he was just promoted to a Regional Managers position.” Mike, New Orleans, Management Recruiter, http://www.geckohospitality.com
August 19th, 2013
The hospitality industry is one of the most exciting in the world. There are very few industries where you can work up through the ranks to become a restaurant manager, or general manager. Career progression is very important, but do not limit your career development to building experience and learning the job.
The skills needed to become a good restaurant manager are learned at every station on the restaurant floor. The first thing you need to learn is that the guest is always right. This is a theory that can take some time to develop. There are intangibles that are learned ‘on the floor’ that cannot be taught in any school. No college or university can teach you how to improve the customer’s dining experience. No course can teach you how to motivate a team member to value the customer, even when their personal life is in turmoil.
Learning to respect the customer followed by learning to respect and be concerned for fellow employees. A good manager values all jobs. They are able to make the dish washer feel as important as the Kitchen Manager. As a potential managerial candidate learns to ‘lead’ and motivate others, they will learn the importance of communication.
These intangible elements are what will open opportunities for people to work their way up in the restaurant industry. However, there are a few ‘secrets’ that a restaurant management candidate needs to know. When looking for a restaurant manager’s position, keep your current job. It is easier to find a job when you have a job. Consider using a recruiter so that you do not broadcast to your current employers that you are looking for a new position.
Don’t lose patience. Mangers in the restaurant industry need to deal with some challenging people. They need to keep their head when things become stressful. Learning patience is necessary in developing a manager’s career. Candidates cannot jump from one job to another. Job hopping, even if you stay at each restaurant for one year, to advance your career, will become a red flag for future recruiters.
August 12th, 2013
Is your career ready to move into management? Can you see yourself as an effective restaurant manager? Are you basing your perception on self assessment, career development aptitude tests, or your feeling that you can do a better job than your current manager? Your assumption may be correct. The good news is that very few people are born leaders. Most managers are developed and nurtured. However, there are attributes such as integrity, honesty, and people skills that cannot be taught. These intangibles can influence a Candidate’s managerial effectiveness.
In the past a Candidate had ten or more years to develop their career. Today the timeframe is shorter, and the learning curve is steeper. A motivated managerial candidate will develop their career both in, and out, of the workplace. The competencies for the average management position require a blend of both skill and talent. One of the best ways to test your aptitude is to complete a self-evaluation. These self evaluation courses can be found anywhere. Relevant ones for Restaurant Managers are available from Hospitality Recruitment Companies.
The next step is to create a plan. Becoming a restaurant manager is a process, not an overnight event. Do not expect to graduate school and walk into your first management position. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the personality type, or personal habits to become a manager?
If your goal is to become a restaurant manager then set your sites high. Create a Career Development Path that will help you become the most effective leader you can be. One part of this process that requires motivation and determination is the ability to manage change. A restaurant manager needs to be able to handle their own anxiety, and plan out change for themselves and their team in a way that motivates and excites. This is a skill that needs to be developed. The time this takes is individual to each prospective manager.
The most important thing you need to do is ‘getting started.’ Success is a habit. If you work towards becoming a manager you may realize your goals. If you keep waiting for ‘something to happen’ then it probably will not.
August 5th, 2013
When you attend a job interview you will spend the day answering canned answers. The company representative will spend the day listening to well rehearsed ‘canned’ answers and responses. Company reps become numb and stop hearing what Candidates say to them. HR professionals repeat the same complaints when writing about their jobs.
Company Recruiters are accustomed to hearing the same types of statements. “I want this job because it will enable me to utilize and employ my skills, and knowledge and aptitude. I believe that can make strong contributions to the establishment and at the same time build upon my existing skills.” Who talks like this in the real world?
The problem with this statement is that it is generic. Which skills and knowledge will it utilize? What aptitude? What type of strong contributions? And why is it important to build upon existing skills? The premise behind these answers is solid, but the wording must be your own. The answer must be personal to you and to the restaurant.
Recruiters want to meet the real person behind the job applicant. They will watch the body language to ensure there is a correlation between what you are saying and how you are behaving. If you are working hard to remember your script then your words will have very little weight with the recruiter. Another secret that many HR professionals do not tell Candidates is that they ‘may’ purposely try to make them act defensive. If they can cause a Management Candidate to feel defensive, or knock them off their game, then how can the Candidate handle the stress of a management job? Another tip for restaurant managers looking to improve their career is to make sure they stay at one job for more than one year. The longer you stay with your past employers, the more a company will invest in your career. At the same time, if you jump from job to job you will soon find yourself unemployable.
One final secret to keep in mind at a job fair is to stay ‘fresh’. If your body odor is strong, your clothing wrinkled, or your hair unkept then it will reflect poorly against you. This is true even if it is 4pm after a long day of interviews. It may be worth your while to take time to freshen up about 2pm, change your shirt, and fix your hair.
July 29th, 2013
When Candidates understand the interview questions and how they benefit a company, the candidate can be more engaging, selfless, and comfortable in the job interview. The HR manager’s knowledge, and wisdom can go a long way to evaluate a Candidate’s potential in their organization. However, it can be difficult, and frustrating, to figure out how to ask questions in a way that empowers a Candidate so they can present themselves in the best light.
The skilled interviewer tries to engage the Candidate’s heart as well as their mind. They are looking for statements like ‘I normally wouldn’t say this during an interview...’. The HR manager, or recruiter, is trying to talk to the real person. They want to get past the polished interview ‘performance.’ The interviewer will start with a broad question like ‘Walk me through your career progression, leading me to your most recent managerial position.’ They will then focus on why the Candidate left their last position. The recruiter is not looking for reasons or excuses. They want to know where the candidate is in their career development, and what criteria they are using to select their next employment position. In short, what is this Candidate is looking for in their next job. Remember, the company’s breakeven point is one year. They lose money, and waste time, if the client stays less than one year.
The Hiring representative is trying to incite a discussion. Unfortunately, some Candidates see this as an overture of friendship and become too familiar, or dramatic. This often happens when a job Candidate hears words like ‘overqualified’. The hr manager is not closing a door. Successful Candidates use this knowledge and help the recruiter by explaining that they will not continue looking for a job after employment, or that a lesser job will fit into their career development.
Other questions that are misunderstand by Candidates include ‘what is your greatest strength’, ‘if you can change three things about yourself’, ‘How do you evaluate success’? An experienced Candidate will answer these questions with the focus on the company, their needs, etc. Unfortunately, most Candidates focus on achievements, skills, and personality traits that have very little value for the company.
Understanding the motivation behind the interview questions can dramatically alter a management candidate’s answers.
July 22nd, 2013
How can I immediately benefit the company? The answer to this is the employer’s key consideration. Job seekers who are at the mid level of their career development, or higher, understand that it isn’t about the Candidate. It is about finding a manager who can make the company money, or save time and lower the budget while increasing the revenue. Many new managers try to sell their talent as a people person, their organizational skills, and their extensive communication skills. They try to present a bold and confident Candidate without ever answering the recruiter’s unspoken question, ‘what is in it for me.’
The purpose of a job interview is to determine whether a job candidate can help the company achieve its objectives. The smart Candidate researches the company to learn the employer’s current position, threats, and opportunities. Then apply their KSA (knowledge, skills, and abilities) to prove that they can uniquely help solve their problems, and reach their goals, quickly and effectively.
The question, ‘What can you contribute to this company,’ is one of the least understood. The recruiter is not looking for a list of what a Candidate has done in the past. The successful candidate will understand what the current recruiter is looking for, and limit their response to events that relate to the current job positions. There is a reason that most HR managers ask such a shallow question. They want to separate the good managers from the job seekers.
Look at it from a recruiter’s point of view. They have a stack of resumes from Candidates who attend the job interview with excellent skills, experience, and education. Many of these have achieved amazing results in past projects and jobs. Another Candidate with a first class resume is still not worth a second glance. Instead, when a Candidate answers the above question by referencing something current, and important to the company, the recruiter finally has someone who may put the company first. And this, is what the employer wants.
July 15th, 2013
Whether you call it an infomercial or an elevator pitch, job seekers only have a few seconds to attract a recruiter’s attention. These speeches are vital to a Candidate’s success at a job fair.
Career fairs can be daunting for the average job seekers, even management Candidates. The stress, noise, confusion, and frustration/apathy of recruiters can frazzle the most experienced management Candidates. That is why the successful Candidates prepare and practice. A firm handshake, solid eye contact, and a relaxed tone of voice are more important than the words you say. If you don’t exude confidence and relaxation you will not be taken serious as a management candidate.
SAMPLE SCRIPT 5 seconds Personal Information, education 5 seconds Why you are here and type of opportunity you are seeking 5 seconds Experience, work, internship, volunteering 5 seconds Accomplishments, problems solved, companies benefited 10 seconds Knowledge of the company
It may be necessary to research the companies before the job fair so you are knowledgeable about the company, and can address their particular concerns. This will ensure that, after your introduction, you can ask the employer a captivating question. The biggest mistake most Candidates make is to create a self portrait that the candidate feels makes them shine. Recruiters and HR managers hear these ‘brag stories’ from job seekers every day. A better strategy is to focus on the company. What do they need? What is their mission statement? What reflects their management strategy? Once you know what the company is looking for then you are able to create a 30 second infomercial that will sell you, by offering the company a Candidate they cannot overlook. One way to do this is to spend less time explaining who you are, and include a statement that explains what you do and can do for the company.
Most important, highlight your career goals. Tell the company where your career is going. Just remember that the company wants to hire someone who will stay ‘long term’.
July 8th, 2013
Career fairs are organized by Career Planning Services and Recruiting companies. Job seekers are given the opportunity to visit several company representatives in one venue. Career fairs allow managers seeking jobs that will advance their career paths. Be prepared to collect literature and business cards, as well and distribute your resume. Here are a few things that you’ll need to know when attending a career fair.
• Have extra copies of your resume. Carry them in a portfolio • Research companies that will be in attendance • Bring business cards • Prepare questions that you want to ask, and information you would like from the company representatives. • Remember that first impressions are critical. • Focus on your transferable skills. • Make sure that you have a firm handshake and meet people’s eyes before you attend the Career Fair. • Eat a good, healthy breakfast. • Prepare a 30 second infomercial to present to each employer • Practice your 30 second infomercial • Make sure when preparing your infomercial and questions that you focus on how you can benefit the company. Try not to focus on a list of your skills and talents.
At the Job Fair • Arrive early • Organize your day to reach the maximum number of booths. • Make a list of your ‘dream jobs’ and your ‘most feasible opportunities.’ • Turn your cell phone off • Bring extra pins to keep your name tag neat and level • Keep an open mind to all opportunities an organization has to offer. • Be prepared to answer and ask questions • Do not drink too much coffee • Do not be shy. If the rep doesn’t handle hiring directly then ask for a referral. • Take notes after each interview.
After the Career Fair • Develop a plan of action. • Follow up with the companies you liked. • Write thank you letters to the various reps. • Send a resume and cover letter to the companies you did not have time to visit with. • Call to follow up with the company’s you met with – refer to your notes.
The most important thing to remember is that you are ‘on stage’ from the moment you exit your car, until you drive out of the parking lot. You have no idea who you will meet when taking a break outside, in the food court wolfing a hotdog down, or even in the rest room.
July 1st, 2013
One of the best ways to find the best job postings is to work with recruitment firms, and attend their job fairs. However, even when you are attending a job fair suggested by your recruiter, you still need to prepare. The first thing you need to determine is what companies are going to attend the career fair. Which ones will be interested in your management style, and your experience as a restaurant manager? Do not make the mistake of overlooking the smaller companies. These will often have fewer applicants. They may also have more interest in managers who have a more ‘ground up’ resume.
The first thing to do when arriving at the job fair is to map out the booths. Circle those that interest you and number them in order of importance. Visit your choice jobs first, while you are full of energy, enthusiasm, and ‘fresh.’ After organizing your day, take a second look at your top booths. You are at the career fair to sell yourself. Are you able to project a confident attitude? Can you exude confidence when talking to the recruiter? It may be better to visit the booths where you feel confident that you can fill the job positions first. Once you have a few good interviews you will have the confidence needed to interview at one of the more in-demand companies.
There are several things you can do to build your confidence:
Dressing professionally seems easy enough, but this cannot be stressed too strongly. Maybe whatever is in your closet isn’t the right outfit for the career you want in the future. It might e a good idea to keep a second shirt and tie in reserve if you plan to be interviewing all day.
Know your resume verbatim. Practice expanding any bullet point on your resume, verbally. Stuttering, stalling, or breaking eye contact can be seen as insecurity.
Know the companies you want to work for. Research them enough to be able to answer questions intelligently, and can explain how your skill set will benefit their restaurant.
June 24th, 2013
One of the worst things a Candidate can do during their job search is to create a lasting impression as an annoyance. Hiring Managers and Recruiters have the power to place Candidates in a job, now and in the future. Sense of Entitlement
Many of today’s graduates and younger managers have a sense of entitlement. In the past Candidates ‘paid their dues’ and worked for the success of their employer. Many of today’s Candidates have a sense of entitlement. They believe the employer owes them. A common attitude among some job seekers is that the employer needs to invest in their success. It is not uncommon for some professionals to believe that others in the organization should make sacrifices, and to ‘cover the slack’ so that their career can advance. This tops the list of ways to lose a restaurant manager’s position. The manager is the one who is responsible for keeping the ship afloat. Their career is built on the success of all they manage. A Candidate with a sense of entitlement will drain the restaurant’s resources. Being Ungrateful
It is never a good idea to be rude or angry when working with a professional who is working to place Candidates in the right job. It is true that the Recruiter is working for the Candidate. However, the Recruiter’s reputation depends on placing the right Candidate in the Right restaurant. Instead of being angry, it may be time for a Candidate to take a long internal look at why they are overlooked for their dream job. Instead of being rude and hurting your chances of being reconsidered for another opening, ask the Recruiter or Hiring Manager for advice.
Not Asking Good Questions The hiring manager is busy. They are under the gun to put the right Candidate in the right position. Every day counts. The hiring manager wants to hear the questions that show you are interested in the company, culture, and job details – during the interview. This is not the time to be shy and unorganized. Do not wait until the interview and expect the Recruiter to introduce them to the company. The HR professional is looking for professionals who have done their homework and are ready to discuss the job. This is more important the higher up the restaurant management organization a Candidate is hoping to land a job.
Disrespecting The Organization’s Time In the past aggressive, motivated manager would drop into an organization and submit their resume. Today, restaurants have a specific hiring process. The best jobs never hit the job search websites. The best way to land an interview is to
Asking Bad Questions No question will end an interview as quickly as, ‘What is your restaurant’s focus?’ This is an automatic disqualifier. This is also true for questions that can be answered by visiting the Recruitment Firm’s website, or the restaurant’s website. Other questions that can end a job interview include: “Can I work from home some days?” “Is it okay if I come in late to avoid traffic.” “What are the company perks?” “How many holidays do I get?” “I want 4 days off this Christmas. I’ve already booked a vacation.” This type of question tells the interviewer that you are focused on the wrong priorities
June 17th, 2013
The secret to success in any job is to think and act like the owner. Candidates need to own their job, own their role as leader, and accept full responsibility for their actions. Candidates who behave like owners are grooming themselves for successful careers. This is not new career advice. We’ve been told ‘how’ to advance our careers. What most people are never told is ‘how’ to put the theory into practice.
1. Be Your Hardest Critic The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. This may seem quaint, but it is the secret behind many successful ventures. Successful people are always growing. It rarely matters whether they hire a career coach and/or recruitment firm to fast track their job search, or whether they learn from books and experience.
2. Show Passion and Enthusiasm If a Candidate’s head and heart are not ‘in the game’ then the staff and customers will feel the lack of enthusiasm. When the manager has learned to ‘care’ about every aspect of their job then everyone in their environment will have their personal passions ignited. Managers who can control their passion are able to maintain control and leadership without being controlling. They can treat customers like gold, and invest in promoting their team’s careers. They can invest in others without draining themselves.
3. Not afraid of work The manager who wants to sit behind a desk and command their team is a relic of the past. Today’s manager’s are able to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. They know how to delegate without ‘stepping on toes’ but they can also step back and let others expand their own skill set and develop the soft skills needed to be a better team member.
4. Deliver More The successful Candidate is someone who delivers more than is asked from them – without burning out. They offer a little extra to a loyal customer, and walk the floor to shake hands with a patron. People matter. They do not look down on the newest waitress, or stem the creativity of the head chef. Their respect is earned and their loyalty is the bulwark against dissention, conflict, and problems.
5. Proactive Career Development Career development isn’t something confined to a seminar or book reading. It is part of the successful Candidate’s life. The Recruiter will see in the social networking, through the interview, resume, and other discourse a pattern of success.
6. Organization The successful Candidate will learn how to manage the business’s money as if it was their own. They will be able to organize the repetitious tasks and processes in life and work to the point they can execute them in a fraction of the time considered normal. They will focus on improving productivity and performance in the work place, and live.
They are aware of the cost of managing the restaurant and are actively seeking ways their team can save money. These are the things they focus on in their resume.
7. Sell Your Skills and Talents Candidates who want to move their career forward learn how to market. Simply put, if a Candidate cannot successfully market their own skill set then how can they be trusted to market and sell the executive programs and pet projects to the staff?
June 12th, 2013
The following are annoying traits that HR managers look for when choosing which Candidates receive a job interview invitation. Each of these will translate into behaviors that can result a loss of performance and moral in the work place. 1. Being late for work 2. Being rude to junior members of the staff/Gossiping (toxic communication) 3. drinking at lunchtime 4. Complaining or bragging about their old job 5. Emailing a joke to the office 6. Surfing the Web during work hours 7. Making phone calls during work hours 8. Dressing inappropriately 9. Chatting with friends and colleagues on social media 10. Not helping with tasks not related to their job
Candidates who have become complacent in the following behaviors often slip up and alert the recruiter or Hiring manager without even realizing their error. The problem most Candidates face is that when a behavior becomes normal then the Candidate becomes blind, or complacent, even in a job interview.
If Candidates learn how Hiring managers trick Job Seekers into revealing these behaviors then they can learn how to avoid making a mistake on their resume, or in a job interview.
Social Networking Today’s HR managers use the internet to research to learn more about the Candidates they are interviewing. Today sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are used to determine whether to invite a candidate to a job interview. Candidates have been warned to avoid specific behaviors on their social networking, and being careful of what posts they share. It is also important to strictly investigate the professionals you link to on Linkedin. However, there are various other ways that your social networking sites can betray you. Your grammar, presentation, vocabulary, and the topics you choose to discuss all reveal attributes of your personality and temperament. One example might be discussing a vacation you took that required you to leave on a Thursday. This may seem inconsequential. However, an employer may see this as a red flag, especially if it happens repeatedly. Candidates can make mistakes that are more subtle than sharing pictures of kittens, or sharing pictures of the latest field party. Another way that social networking can ‘trap’ a Candidate is by the dates and times that posts are published. Hiring Managers check to see if posts, twitters, and comments are published through work hours.
Candidates Misrepresenting themselves It is easy to purchase a suit for a job interview. It is much more difficult to hide pictures of your vacation or 4th of July pictures. Dress is one of those things that is personally subjective. Our perspective of how a professional would dress can result in the purchase of an outfit that is obviously not part of our wardrobe. This type of deception is more likely to result in the resume landing at the bottom of the pile. Under Dressing is more damaging than overdressing. I once interviewed a Candidate applying for the second highest management position in the company. This man presented an excellent resume, with 20 years of experience. Unfortunately, he appeared at the job interview in shorts. This attempt to be remembered backfired.
The problem with misrepresentation is that it is impossible to perfectly mirror someone you are not. When you try to create an illusion it is only 2D, leaving small details undone. One way I can tell if someone is unaccustomed to wearing high-end suits is by watching them sit. If they are comfortable wearing jeans then they will not straighten their suit pants, or jacket, when sitting down. They will also wear an expensive suit with an inexpensive shirt or tie.
The best policy is to be yourself
June 7th, 2013
There is a variety of ways that a qualified Candidate can be passed over by hiring managers. Knowledge is power. Knowing what a HR manager might do provides the Candidate the tools needed to avoid being discriminated against.
Personal Information Most Candidates believe that HR managers are haunt Social Networking sites looking for pictures of a wild march break holiday, or whether the Candidate has a crazy family. HR managers are often trained in organizational behavior. If your social networking sites are public then the HR manager will use the information. Most HR mangers are not looking for the crazy friends. They are looking for statements that reveal personal issues that may limit a Candidate’s ability to successfully execute the demands of the job position. These statements can be casually said, but it is the message behind the words that reveals problems. Most of us make mistakes when trying to date.
“Being a Single Parent taught me...” “I only have one toddler so I’m free...” “I’m ready to get married...” “I recently went through a divorce...”
It is illegal for an HR manager or recruiter to ask personal questions. Most companies follow the letter of the law and will not inquire about things they have learned, but that doesn’t mean that the knowledge doesn’t weigh their decision whether to advance the hiring process or dismiss a Candidate.
Personal Disclosures and Prejudices It is human nature to prefer people who are similar to our own belief system of right and wrong, morals, and ethics. Personal disclosures could taint the Recruiter’s opinion based on their own prejudice towards issues such as divorce, single parenting, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political views, age etc.
Attitude and Emotional Intelligence Personal profiles can reveal negative aspects of a Candidate’s personality. Most of us have engaged in an online argument. The issue may have been valid and our passion well placed. However, an outsider can only look at the argument and wonder if we always handle conflict in the same way. An online presence will also reveal a Candidate’s communication style. Most important is the level of toxic communication, rudeness, and arrogant undertones in the messages. Cognitive behavioral analysis teaches us that our thoughts affect our outcomes. The quality of a Candidate’s work, their energy, their creativity, and passion are all evident in a Candidate’s online conversations.
The problems can be in areas that the Candidate overlooks. Some of the ‘red flags’ include abbreviations, smilies, hobbies, and attitude are all there for anyone to read. The Gallup Poll tracked 1000 adults every day since January 2008. It shows that Americans now feel worse about their jobs and work environments. People are predominantly unhappy with their supervisors.
This is vital for HR managers who are filling restaurant management positions. A happy person works harder. A 2010 study by James K Hartner fount that lower job satisfaction equalled poorer bottom line performance. This makes the manger’s attitude vital to the success of a restaurant business.
Motivation and Priorities What are you doing? Are you taking courses? Are you volunteering? Are the friends on your facebook motivated and happy people? Are they changing their lives, or complaining about their lives? And, most important in today’s work environment, are you a motivator who uplifts your friends and colleagues?