Posts Tagged ‘employment advice’
1. Get experience
It’s one of the great ironies of job hunting that many employers want you to already have experience. But there are plenty of ways to get experience outside the traditional working model.
Gateway programmes are available through many schools. Volunteer work is another fantastic way to explore different work environments, give back to the community and add to your skill set.
Even if it isn’t in the industry you want to work in, any teamwork and customer service experience is going to be seen as valuable by an employer. ITC has great industry connections and we offer work experience whenever possible, so if you are studying with us, make sure you make the most of the opportunities we provide.
2. Knock on doors
You would be amazed how many managers will employ people who go the extra mile to find work. Like volunteering, it shows you have motivation and initiative.
Present yourself in a professional manner at a business you wish to work for and ask to see the manager to enquire about any current vacancies. Dress as if it’s your first day on the job – you want to look like you could sit down behind a desk straight away and belong there. Present your clean and pristine CV in a clear wallet, and if you have the opportunity, explain briefly to the manager why you would particularly like to work for their company.
If the manager is unavailable, ask if you can come back at any other time, or at the very least leave your CV.
Ensure you maintain your professionalism when speaking to anyone within the company – if you are unable to meet the manager, this person’s comments on their impression of you could be critical.
3. Offer your services on a voluntary basis
Say you would like to prove to the employer how good you are and that you will commit to a week or two of unpaid work to prove that to them.
Even if it doesn’t lead to a job, it will still be great experience to add to your CV, and you could ask for a letter of recommendation if it has gone well.
4. Apply for the job that is advertised
It sounds obvious, but all too often people send a generic CV and covering letter that doesn’t actually address the specifics of the job being advertised.
Read the job advertisement carefully and ask for a job description if the ad says one is available. Job descriptions provide a lot of detail about the duties and skills required, so it’s a great way to show you really understand and can meet their needs.
Do some internet research on the company as well, so that you really know what their business is and who their customers are.
Your CV can be a reasonably static document that you might just tweak a bit for each job you apply for, but you should always write a brand new covering letter for every job application.
5. Create a professional CV that shows off who you really are
Your CV is the most important way of marketing yourself that you have. You may not always get to dazzle a prospective employer with your sparkling personality, so ensure it shines through in your CV.
Remember the phrase: “Show, don’t tell”. Writers use it to write stories that really engage their readers. For example, instead of saying you are honest, hard working and reliable, show HOW you are those things. Your honesty might be shown by the fact that you have been trusted with cash handling experience in a job; your reliability might be shown because you always get to work on time. You might be able to prove you are hard working by saying that you worked part time while studying at school and maintaining good grades. Even if you only have a small amount of experience, if you can tie it in to positive employment attributes, your CV will stand out.
Make sure the design is clean and tidy; the structure is easy to understand; and you have had it proofread by someone who you know has good English skills.
6. Make the most of your contacts
The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is still true in any industry. Once you start to reach out to people – friends, family members, and other contacts – you will be amazed how many people you can connect with. It’s not always about asking for a job either – ask for help and guidance with which companies are great to work for, which companies are hiring, and what are the most important things they are looking for in their employees.
7. Google yourself
Increasingly this is what prospective employers are doing, so you need to know what they might find. Check your security settings on all social media sites, like Facebook, to ensure your private life stays that way. Create a positive profile of yourself on the web – ensure anything you do that is positive is all over the internet! Join relevant discussion posts and social groups and create a professional profile for yourself – you can do this through reading and interacting with relevant blogs and forums, and using business networking sites like LinkedIn.
8. Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more
If you make it to the interview stage, this is your big chance to impress. Research the company and the sector you are interviewing for. If you know who is interviewing you, research them too if possible – it’s amazing what is on Google. If you have something in common with people on the interview panel this could be a great way to create a connection with them. Take advice from anyone who has experience with interviewing and research interview techniques and practice answering tough interview questions with a friend or family member. And remember to relax and be yourself as much as possible in an interview. You want them to get a good sense of who you are and how you might fit with their company.
Brent Westein started his career working in hotels in 2001 as a food and beverage attendant. He is now the HR manager for the Novotel & Ibis in Ellerslie in Auckland. We are lucky to have Brent as one of ITC’s industry advisory members. Here Brent tells us about his journey so far, and the importance of getting your foot in the door.
My first role in a hotel was in 2001 as a food and beverage attendant during the busy breakfast shift in Gantry’s restaurant at the Centra in Auckland (now the Crowne Plaza). Eventually I moved onto night shifts and this gave me the opportunity to work at the bar as well.
I then got my first role in the rooms division as a porter. This was an excellent job – we were the face of the hotel, as we were some of the first staff guests met on arrival and we carried their bags to their room.
After about 6 months in the rooms division I moved to the telephonist office. This gave me the chance to learn a whole new range of skills, including how to use the hotel computer system and the workings of the front desk. I actually moved to a role at the front desk next and was there for another two years, by which time I had been made front office supervisor.
The Centra was now the Crown Plaza Auckland, and I was lucky enough to gain the role as the human resources co-ordinator. I remained in that role for two and a half years, after which I was promoted to a 12-month maternity leave position of human resources manager of Centra Auckland Airport. This was an awesome opportunity to take on my first head of division role.
At the end of that contract I transferred to Wellington to work as an assistant manager at the Intercontinental Wellington. After being blown around in the capital for 14 months, I took up a role as the human resources manager at CityLife Auckland Hotel. CityLife is a great, vibrant hotel in the heart of Auckland’s CBD.
Early in 2012 I moved on to become the human resources manager at Novotel & Ibis Ellerslie in Auckland with Accor.
Having so much early experience in line level roles gave me a great understanding of what hotels are all about – it allowed me to experience different aspects of how hotels work behind the scenes and how all the divisions work together to support the overall running of a hotel. This was vital experience before I took my first steps into a supervisor’s role.