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Will You Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks?

By Kristine Stern

Do you love your current job? Can’t even imagine having to job hunt right now? You never know what’s down the road and it could be a bumpy ride. Or, perhaps you are contacted by a recruiter for the opportunity of a lifetime with a company you have always admired or a chance for upward mobility. Whether by choice or happenstance, you want to be sure you’re ready when opportunity comes knocking.

As a recruiter, it usually goes one of two ways. I am always on the lookout for quality talent. I’m either seeking passive candidates to share opportunities I think they would consider; or I’m contacted by a candidate that just lost their job. Unfortunately, this can happen often in the F&B industry. What I find more times than not is that candidates are not prepared to move quickly through the process. Taking a few proactive steps could make the difference in giving you a leg up on your competition.

Keep an Updated Resume

Whether you have been at your current job for a decade or just a few months, be sure to keep your resume updated. Starting a file on accomplishments, new skills learned, goals met and certifications acquired is a sure way to very quickly update your resume when the time comes.  Examples include:

  • Certifications, Degrees, Licenses (e.g., Certified Trainer, HAACP and ServSafe)
  • Promotions earned, including date, month and year
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) (e.g., increased revenue by 13% in 2012, increased per person check average by 20% though daily specials)
  • Company awards and achievements (e.g., Manager of the Quarter, Best shopper scores, Presidents Club, etc.)
  • Industry accolades (e.g., Best New Restaurant, Best Wine Program)

Create or Update Your LinkedIn Profile

I am continually surprised by how many F&B candidates do not have or have not updated their LinkedIn (LI) profile. According to a 2016 study by Jobvite, 93% of recruiters search LI for quality talent. I can personally attest to using LI on every candidate search I conduct. More than half of my current clients request a link to my candidates’ LI profiles. If you have one, be sure to keep it updated. If you do not have a profile, I highly suggest that you take the time to create one. Some important points to consider:

  • Upload a professional photo. Not having a photo is as bad as having a photo of you and your cat. I have had to counsel many candidates on the quality and content of their profile picture. It needs to be in focus, only of you and professional.
  • Update your job history. It should include correct company names, job titles and dates that match exactly to your resume. Any inconsistencies are going to come across as slightly suspicious.

Clean Up Your Social Media

We need to talk about Facebook. Yes, employers, and myself, are going to look at your Facebook page. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 70% of employers use social media to screen job candidates before hiring them. It is part of my job as your recruiter to ensure you are putting your best self out there and this includes having a Facebook profile that won’t leave a bad impression. Thinking about erasing your entire profile? To confuse matters there are also plenty of employers that are suspect if you have no online footprint. So, keep the profile but review it for the following:

  • Offensive comments regarding race, gender or religion or inappropriate language will not leave a great impression.
  • Inappropriate photos (e.g., images of you drinking from your friend’s beer bong) are also not recommended. Review your feed.
  • Did you get mad at your previous employer and decide it was a good idea to share your two cents with the world? Erase it…now!

While this only discusses Facebook, employers are also using Google searches and checking out Instagram and Twitter accounts. While these are your private accounts, what you put out there will more than likely be seen during a job search! Hiring managers view profiles to get a glimpse into your personality beyond your resume. Why not use social media to your benefit?  Believe it or not, there have been times hiring managers have actually found content on social networking that inspired them to HIRE one candidate over another!

So, even if you think it is unlikely that you’ll be job hunting anytime soon, you should be giving some thought to being prepared. If you follow these simple suggestions, you will be ready when opportunity comes knocking!