By Eden Slegr, President, Global Hospitality, Inc.
In the world of executive recruitment, a resume should make us want to get on the phone and call you! Every year we receive hundreds of resumes ranging from awful to excellent in terms of quality of presentation and content. As executive recruiters specializing in the hospitality industry including Private Clubs, Hotels, Restaurants, Resorts, Cruise Ships, Universities, and other venues such as Vineyards and even Retirement Communities, we have strong opinions about what makes an exceptional resume.
We want to share what we’ve learned from many years of experience.
The following suggestions on style and presentation are compiled from our years in recruiting. Follow them and put together a resume that will stand out and get you that job!
Keep your resume clear, concise, and easy to read!
A resume in the stack of dozens which appears disorganized or difficult to read, probably won’t be. Leave enough space between paragraphs and around the margins. The layout and spacing of your page can make you seem confident and professional, or disorganized and insecure. Putting time and effort into this aspect of your resume can be crucial.
Font Style & Size
Most resumes are e-mailed, and we find that fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica work best. These types of fonts in 11 pt. or 12 pt. ensure “readability” and clarity. Underlining, Italics, and Bold elements are a great way to clarify key components of your resume when used in a consistent manner, but don’t overdo it!
Listing Education first? Don’t!
As impressive as the Ivy League where you got a 4.3 and your minor in Basket Weaving is, it’s best to put your education, certifications, computer and software proficiency, et cetera, last. After a brief summary highlighting your key skills, qualifications, and overall professional objectives, list your current or most recent position first under Professional Experience. Bullet points under each position highlighting your responsibilities and any contributions you are particularly proud of is a crucial part of filling out your resume. Draw attention to what makes you the best candidate for the job!
The shorter the better? Not really!
Many people still believe their resume has to fit on one page. This is not true. If you’re a senior executive with many years of experience, you aren’t doing your career history any justice by summarizing it in one page. When recruiters scan resumes, they look for evidence of accomplishments, not simply a list of responsibilities. Again, the easiest way to get a positive reaction from a prospective employer is to use bullet points to highlight your achievements. Give more detail about your most recent positions than ones in the distant past. Too much detail can be overwhelming, so we do suggest keeping your resume to no more than three pages!
Exactly, when did you work there?
List your most recent dates of employmen first. The correct presentation for these dates should be monthandyearof start and finish. If you only list the years, the reader may suspect that you are hiding either short tenures or long stretches of unemployment. If you have held more than one position with the same company, you should list the dates for each position separately.
Briefly describe your former companies
Be brief but accurate when describing the properties where you have worked. In the case of hotels, you should give the number of rooms, size of the banquet space, number of food and beverage outlets, and possibly the category to which it belongs, such as boutique or budget property. In the case of food and beverage operations, you should include the style of cuisine, number of seats, and perhaps the annual sales volume, which will help the reader better understand the size and scope of the operation. You should also include the city and state, but not the street address, for the employer. Listing the name and title of your supervisor is probably better saved for your list of references and is inappropriate to list on your resume. Furthermore, if your company was well-rated while you were there, say so. Speaking well of your former company and supervisor/s and highlighting
accomplishments also speaks highly of you since you worked there as part of the team.
Job Description: What did you do there?
This is the heart of your resume. Think of each job description as having two parts: (1) Write a couple of sentences outlining the scope of your responsibilities. You might include the title (not the name!) of the person you reported to and also the number of staff members you led. (2) Give a bullet-point summary of your accomplishments. Use action verbs, leadership words, and phrases that emphasize actions you took that led to measurable results. Focus on highlights in your career which, when taken as a whole, show upward progression and advancement. That is what the employer expects. If you want a resume that best reflects your skills and experience, then following this model will help you create a strong impression in the mind of the employer or recruiter.
Photos, Birth Date, Salaries and…
It’s common in many international locations for people to include photos with their resumes and information such as marriage status, age, et cetera, but it’s not required or appropriate to include this data in the United States. Listing your salary history on a resume is not appropriate. During the initial stages of discussions with your recruiter, however, you will probably want to share your salary history and goals so that the most suitable positions can be presented to you.
Address: City and state will suffice.
We see fewer resumes coming in with an applicant’s mailing address. This trend ensures that your privacy is maintained. This is fine; however, you should list the city and state where you reside.
List of References: Don’t give them right away!
We do not recommend that you give this list to your desired employer immediately, especially if you are currently working and want to keep your job search confidential! Cultivating and maintaining relationships with former supervisors and colleagues is highly beneficial. You should have a list of five to eight individuals whom you have previously contacted who have agreed to answer questions from prospective employers. This list can be on a separate sheet and given to your recruiter, so they’ll have it when the time comes. The list should include the name, title, employer, and phone number for each reference. It is crucial that you keep this list accurate so that your recruiter or prospective employer has to track down a reference due to dated or inaccurate information.
Speling & Prufing
Almost nothing is easier or more important than checking your resume for misspellings and typographical errors before sending it off to a prospective employer. If you don’t undertake this painless procedure, you run the risk of being disqualified and not even getting an interview. At the very least, it will appear that you don’t pay careful attention to details.
Spellcheck and done? Take one more step!
Spellcheck is your friend, but having a friend read your resume can help catch a glaring error you overlooked! They might even suggest a simple or obvious improvement that takes your resume from good to great.
Aim for accuracy in all areas of your work history and professional life. Don’t assume that the reader of your resume won’t know someone at a property you’ve worked at in the past. In the hospitality industry, everyone seems to know everyone! Never lie or over-exaggerate your accomplishments. Many employers check to see if you really have that degree or certification, so beware. Assume that employers and executive search firms (if requested by a client) will always conduct extensive reference checks and sometimes even background checks on a candidate’s credit history, education, and criminal record.
Many of you write your own resumes, which is fine if you pay attention to the points we mentioned above. If you decide to use a resume service that specializes in resume writing and production, remember that you are still responsible for the content. A resume service will generally not be aware of our hospitality industry jargon, so pay attention so that terms are correctly used and spelled and appropriate to the hospitality industry including Private Clubs, Hotels, Restaurants, Resorts, Cruise Ships, Universities and other venues such as Vineyards and even Retirement Communities. Do not assume more expensive is better—there are plenty of examples of poor work out there at outrageous prices.
It’s common today for employers to check your Facebook page and other web sites that are publicly accessible. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Be very careful with the image you project online. Photos of your debauched weekend or even political comments may be amusing to your friends, but these might be evaluated differently by your potential employer.
Here are a few tips on e-mailing your resume:
- Subject Line: Use the subject line to catch the recipient’s attention. For example, writing “Sam Adams, 5-Star F&B Director” helps identify the type of property with which you may have experience.
- E-mail Address:Select a professional, easy-to-remember, and permanent e-mail address before you send out your resume. Changing your e-mail address may cause you to lose out on a great opportunity. Do not use potentially embarrassing e-mail addresses such as beerguy@yahoo. Remember that you are selling a perception of yourself that must be kept as professional as possible at all times.
- Attachments:Send your cover letter and resume as a single document. This prevents loss of attachments and reduces clutter in a recruiter’s inbox. Save the document in a standard format, such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF. Name the file with your full name: for example, “Sam Adams Resume.doc”. Do not just name the file “Resume.doc”—think of how many files we receive with the same name!
- E-mail body:Try to keep this short and to the point. Mention the position for which you wish to be considered in the first sentence. Highlight your background. Most e-mails get scanned very quickly so you should keep it to one paragraph.
- Keywords:Many companies place resumes into their resume databases and search for them using keywords. So, if you’re an Excel whiz, have experience cooking Thai cuisine, or speak French, make sure you place these keywords somewhere on your resume.
- Consistency:Remember to compare your resume to your LinkedIn profile to be sure your information matches. Yes, many employers do visit your LinkedIn profile and do notice if dates or employers are not consistent with each other.
A resume that sells the “real you” is a resume that presents your talents and achievements in a way that is impressive, appealing, and persuasive. Should you have any questions or require a review of your resume, please contact one of our consultants. We would be happy to assist you. Good luck on your career!
Eden Slegr has been in the hospitality recruiting and consulting business for over 20 years. He is principal and founder of Global Hospitality, Inc.,http://globalhospitality.com/Los Angeles, a leading international hospitality recruitment and executive search firm.Prior to his recruiting career, Mr. Slegr’s background includes management positions within the hospitality industry in food and beverage, finance, and as General Manager. In 1998, Mr. Slegr co-founded Hospitality Careers Online, Inchttps://www.hcareers.com/and served on the Hcareers’ Board of Directors.Mr. Slegr has a BS from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.