So, you've done your turn in the trenches. You've been a busperson, head waiter, bartender, host, and what-not. After ten to twenty years, many hospitality workers, feeling burned-out at the late shifts and long hours, yearn to break into the ranks of higher management. Yet they find themselves in a kind of 'glass ceiling' situation. They can't get a recruiter to look twice at their resume, even when the qualifications are more than a match for the job.
The place where hospitality is at a disadvantage is the job titles. The hospitality industry being as pinched for profits as it is, someone hired as a waiter or bartender will find themselves performing management functions: balancing books, being in charge of the staff, purchasing, ordering, overseeing the operation of the establishment, and on and on. All of these skills are transferable to higher-salary jobs, but because they were done under the job title of "hostess" or some such, they mean zip as far as an interviewer is concerned.
This is a shame, as the person who knows the business the best is the one who worked their way up through the ranks. The computer age has also sealed the fate of many poorly-considered resumes, as human resource departments search resumes in electronic form, including and excluding keywords and only pulling up those resumes that meet the search criteria.
The recruiter's ultimate responsibility is to the restaurants, hotels, casinos, and clubs which they are hired to represent. This is not to say that they don't also have your best interests at heart; it just means that recruiters have to comply with the job description and qualifications set forth by their clients. So they are unable to present candidates that do not match those requirements - no matter how much a candidate calls back.
So this should tell you something: there are good and bad keywords and phrases. Words like "restaurant, hotel, hostess, waitress, bartender, cook, chef" tend to get you stuck in a rotating cycle of those positions forever. What they fail to address is that you have done work far outside the scope of your job title, and are ready for a meatier career. A broad majority of hospitality job seekers have job titles unrelated to their current career goals.
You are much better off using skill headings rather than job titles, if your goal is to land higher salaries and increase your interview rates. For example, if you were quite practiced in enhanced selling at your business, a handy leading line might be: "A versatile and skilled sales and marketing professional with excellent hands-on experience in developing and improving sales for wholesale and retail operations in the hospitality industry." You did it, why not flaunt it?
Or if you were eventually saddled with overseeing the restaurant staff when all you started out as is a line cook, it's high time you boasted: "An assertive manager with outstanding interpersonal people management skills, experienced in communications, negotiations, operations, and scheduling." Again, your title may not have been manager, but that's still the job you did, and the one you're seeking now!
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