As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty to the working environment and many people within the hospitality sector have faced the loss of employment or a shift in position, there are now more people than ever searching for a new opportunity.
However, this leads to the questions of how do you find a new job in a world that is struggling with unemployment across many sectors? Why is it important to understand what you are passionate about and what can you do to stand out from the crowd?
This Thoughts on Thursday session discussed the necessary skills, activities and mindsets needed for those that are searching for a new opportunity.
You can watch Matthieu and Patrick’s brilliant discussion below:
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Broadening Your Options
A concept that Patrick Wimble, Founder and Managing Director of Lightbulb Consulting, discussed for those searching for new opportunities is broadening your options and looking in areas that previously may have been overlooked.
This was a sentiment that James Lemon, Founder and CEO of The Growth Works echoed. He suggested that in thinking outside the traditional sector, those looking for new positions could find opportunities in areas that are still moving forward. James expressed the importance of examining transferrable skills, particularly soft skills, already developed through previous employment, that may be desirable to other organisations or industries.
James: “So, who is hiring? Well a lot of people have shifted to remote roles in customer service, a lot of these tech start-ups are still funded, and they are going to be a robust group… A lot of tech start-ups would kill for great hospitality people who are well networked, who know deeply how processes and systems work in hotels.”
The Importance of Why – The Core of What You Do
An idea that Patrick placed particular emphasis on was understanding the reasoning and passion behind why you do what you do. This ‘why’ he posited was the core of good decision making when embracing a career shift and the basis for answering employer questions. For those previously working in jobs simply to pay the bills, this is the ultimate time to work out their why and then use this to steer their job hunts.
When discussing the ‘tell me about yourself’ section for interviews, this importance on ‘why’ was something that James also emphasised. Through basing answers around ‘why’, responses can be kept concise and relevant. The concept of ‘why’ can also be used as a foundation to constructing well-thought out answers to interview questions regarding gaps in employment or career changes, creating a positive, deliberate and coherent career story.
Use Your Time – Targeting the Right Skills and Gaining Experience
Something that was recommended by many of the industry professionals in attendance at this Thoughts on Thursday session was being proactive.
James discussed the vital nature of proactivity, particularly for those wishing to transition into another sector or begin a start-up of their own. He expressed the value of using time not in employment to develop new skills and gain experience.
Patrick agreed that being proactive and using your time to develop skills and experiences gives candidates a better chance to stand out from the crowd. Filling gaps in employment history with relevant experiences and training shows employers a candidate’s dedication and passion in preparing for their next role.
As it can be difficult to secure a position without relevant experience, James advised taking initiative in reaching out to networks and seeking opportunities to gain experience in a desired field. Networking was another important theme that was discussed, Patrick explained that using your network can provide an advantage when seeking a new position.
Patrick: “If you know someone, if they can help put a good word in or give you some guidance around a particular job that you are applying for, that is just going to get you a better chance to be on the yes or the maybe pile rather than the no pile.”
CVs vs LinkedIn and the Importance of Achievements
How to craft effective LinkedIn profiles and CVs was a core topic discussed in this Thoughts on Thursday session. Patrick suggested that CVs and LinkedIn profiles should be more achievement based than experience based as hiring managers already know the necessary experiences that were common in similar previous roles.
This idea sparked the question from Izzara Ugarte of how much information is too much when talking about achievements on a LinkedIn profile?
Chris Mumford, Founder of Cervus Leadership Consulting, explained that a LinkedIn profile should be reflective of a CV. It should be achievement based and concise and for this he suggested using dot points to present key achievements.
This prompted another CV and LinkedIn based question from session attendee Laura Laataiken, “I’m currently searching for a job and I have got my CV with my key bullet points about what I have done, can I be transferring those same bullet points onto linked in or should LinkedIn be looking different? What’s the difference between a LinkedIn CV and a CV?”
While Chris stated that although tailoring was necessary, they should be largely the same, Patrick suggested that it came down to the specific roles that are being applied for. While still focusing on achievements, he explained how he believed LinkedIn and CVs should differ.
Patrick: “A CV perhaps can be more tailored to a particular role that you are going for whereas a LinkedIn one can be more generic… I would really call out those top accomplishments particularly if they involve a transferrable skill.”
Chris added to this, highlighting the need for recent achievements to be at the forefront, while achievements from older positions do not require the same level of detail.
In discussing the role and benefit of being a member of professional associations, James expressed that it is important to include these on LinkedIn profiles and CVs to show experience, commitment and passion. He also highlighted the importance of being actively involved in these communities.
James: “If you are going to be involved in something, be actively involved in it because if you are genuinely giving up your time then when people ask you about it you’ve got a lot more to say… I think The Growth Works is a good example, if you are involved in mentoring that is a super important message that you are giving back, you are sharing your time, you are passionate about the community.”
Acing the Interview – How to Present Your Best Self
Clarity and conciseness were a primary focus when discussing the interview section and something that was agreed to be vital. To create answers that exemplified clarity and conciseness, Patrick suggested the use of the SOAR model. The SOAR model consists of the following points:
- Situation- What is the key thing you want to talk about? What are the challenges you were facing?
- Obstacle- Why did you have to make the changes?
- Actions- What were the actions you took to overcome these obstacles?
- Results- What were the results?
It was advised to use the SOAR model to construct answers regarding background and experience based interview questions, using this method as a guide to keep responses relevant and interesting. James and Patrick also explained the importance of creating a few planned answers that can be chosen for their relevance to a specific interview. Practicing answers and conducting mock interviews was recommended for candidates to be both prepared and comfortable in a real interview situation.
Session attendee Akila Waka, asked due to the current uncertainty of the hospitality climate, is it acceptable to ask for a shorter probation period?
James cautioned against asking for a reduced probation period but instead suggested freelancing or contract-based work that could potentially turn into a more permanent position. This style of employment, he stated, allowed both employer and employee more security. This is an avenue that Patrick also saw value in.
Patrick: “Freelancing or contracting is a great way to get in the door and then potentially secure more permanent job.”
The session was concluded with advice on where to start when crafting a new CV or LinkedIn profile. The need for achievement-based profiles and interview answers was emphasised, and for those struggling to pinpoint their achievements, it was suggested that quantifying achievements and tasks can be a great place to start.
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