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A Hoteliers Guide to Job Hunting in the Online World
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Leveraging the power of the Internet to find great jobs

January 2009 - Hoteliers are fantastic with people. Isn’t that what we’re paid for? But not all hoteliers are comfortable with technology…yet. Especially when it comes to getting the max out of the social revolution online. The good news is that every hotelier CAN make the best use of the Internet to boost their professional profiles as well as hunt for career opportunities more effectively. And all thats needed is the drive, common sense and the vital skill hoteliers already have…that of dealing with other human beings!

Though the Internet has revolutionized the way we interact and access a wealth of knowledge and information, great job leads these days are still a matter of ‘who you know’. Therefore getting connected with the right people the right way is crucial to job hunting success. Here are a few do’s and don’ts from experience:

Finding Hotel Jobs Online – Do’s:

  • Be very specific and focused: You HAVE to know exactly what you want to do, i.e. what department you’re looking to work in and even better what role best suits your abilities. Too often hotel professionals are plagued with emails and resumes from applicants who’re ‘looking for a suitable job’ or are open to ‘anything’. These requests usually end up in spam folders and dustbins very quickly. If YOU don’t know what you want to do and can do well, potential employers certainly won’t spend the time to try and figure it out.
  • Do your research: Find out about the company that you want to work for and if possible the specific roles available and people looking to hire. Talking to your most accessible connections offline or online in the company can be a great help in finding out how things work too, i.e. does the company only accept resumes through an online system, who makes the decisions, what’s the urgency, etc. Also remember to read as much as you can about developments and new announcements in media and industry publications – if a new hotel is set to open and they’re recruiting, you know where to look, quick.
  • Go beyond superficial networks. Build relationships and respect space: It’s not uncommon these days to have hundreds of contacts and friends on your Facebook, LinkedIN and other networks, not ALL of whom you may know so well. The key to reaching out is to refine these networks and group them by relationship. Then identify who’s going to be the most valuable source of information, advice or help. The worst thing you can do is reach out to people you hardly know and barrage them for help and jobs…that’s the easiest way to alienate them. Instead build relationships over time and trade social favors to strengthen trust.
  • Fine tune your value proposition a.ka. What’s in it for them? One of the most important things…companies and recruiters are interested in finding people who fit their needs, not yours. It is imperative that you customize your resume every time you apply to ensure it is concise as well as relevant to the job. You’ve got to rewrite and present your skills and past achievements based on what’s going to be the most applicable in your possible future role. If you can, beef up your resume with rich content if you have PR material (e.g. if you’ve been featured in media, TV or Industry publications, plus other Awards & accomplishments) available. Online videos and blogging are also a great way of building your personal brand in the long run.
  • Invest time in doing what you’re doing and stay consistent: Job hunting is both tedious as well as draining on the spirit. Yes, you will fail more often than you succeed when job hunting…that’s a given. But utilize those failures to learn and improve your future applications. Commit to yourself that you’ll spend a certain amount of time each day to do the things you want to achieve in your search and plan your activities so you don’t put all your hopes into one basket.
  • Set up alerts and leverage technology: Make the power of the Internet work for you. Most major job sites have the ability to set up email alerts so that you are notified every time a job matching your specified criteria is posted. This allows you to respond very quickly. You can also use Google Alerts to have Google notify you every time some keywords you’re searching for appear on an news portal, website, Google group or blog. This is a superb way of staying up-to-date with industry happenings without spending too much time manually searching. Find niche online communities relevant to your field and sign up to receive alerts and job leads if the opportunity exists.
  • Get Creative: Stand out from the herd! Be creative and present yourself differently, with confidence. If you have special talents or skills, use them to show potential employers just what you’re capable of! Are you a great cook? A top-notch Marketer? An engineer who’s clued in on the green revolution? A Restaurant Manager with Pizzazz? Then SHOW it! You’re more likely to catch the eye of potential recruiters if you are relevant, stand out and are memorable…if not immediately then even in the future when something opens up.
Finding Hotel Jobs Online – What not to do:
  • Post your resumes on Blogs and Forums: I’ve noticed this problem over the last few years…a lot of job hunters tend to visit hotel blogs, forums or news sites and post their entire resumes in comment boxes. Not only do these comments NOT get seen by relevant people making hiring decisions, but they’re also akin to spam and end up getting deleted very quickly. Blogs and forums should be used to interact with the blogger and other users, as relevant to the topic being discussed. If you’ve built up a relationship with particular bloggers or forum participants, take if off-air and seek personal assistance / advice using email or personal messaging.
  • Spam: Email spam containing resumes have also become very common, often BCC’d to a whole range of people, with no personalized greeting or stated purpose. Again, spam ends up where it normally does (in the bin) and makes it less likely that your subsequent emails, even if valid, reach that recipient.
  • Abuse your networks: It takes a long time to build great, reliable and useful networks…but like reputation, only a few minutes to destroy them (especially in the online world, where news and events, especially bad ones spread like wildfire). Handle your networks as you would a new-born baby…with love, nurturing and lots of attention. They’ll grow up and reward you in ways you never anticipated!
Given the current recession and a hiring freeze in many hotels around the world, it will be even more imperative that you go beyond the usual way of job hunting and get creative, leverage online technology and build strong connections.

Hope the above tips are helpful in your search and wishing you good luck! Remember that persistence and working smart are the only ‘secret shortcuts’ to success. Additional resources 
 
 

About the Author: At work, Jitendra Jain (JJ) is employed with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Dubai as an E-Commerce Manager and handles hotel online marketing & distribution. At play, he is the founder of various online initiatives like www.hotelemarketer.com, www.younghotelier.com and www.thetalentjungle.com (among others) that dream, connect, educate and share all that is glorious about hospitality, technology and most importantly…the people that define our times.
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Contact:

Jitendra Jain
jj@thetalentjungle.com 

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Also See: When the Going Gets Tough, Hotel eMarketers Play Harder / Jitendra Jain / December 2008
Robust Hotel Development in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Creates Challenges in Terms of Recruitment, Training and Retention / Erin O'Neill and Jitendra Jain / June 2008
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