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Maximise your employability

19 March 2009
Maximise your employability

The hospitality recruitment market has been hit badly by the recession, and jobseekers have to work harder than ever to stand out from the crowd, warns Jeff Ross, managing director at Hospitality Graduate Recruitment

We know that the recession is placing great pressure on hospitality employers, but what about the impact on employees themselves?

The obvious observation is that times are tough. Competition from other jobseekers is considerably stiffer and, of course, there are currently fewer jobs on the market. Matters are unlikely to improve significantly over the next couple of months.

Certain employers are already taking the opportunity to capitalise on the situation. A leading Swiss hotel school contacted me recently to ask if I felt it was fair that certain employers were now willing to provide student placements only if they did not have to pay the candidates. I agreed that this was not ethical.

I heard another example where a candidate had been offered a senior position in December in the Emirates, and was then offered the same position again in January at 60% of the salary. It is sad to see such practices, and let us hope that hospitality employers do not use the opportunity to devalue their already low salary scales across the board.

Thinking more positively, I was asked to provide some ideas on what jobseekers can do to maximise their employability during these difficult economic times.

  • Stay put Clearly it is not a good time to be looking at leaving one employer for a new one, unless absolutely necessary. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.
  • Critically analyse your CV It sounds obvious, but about 50% of the CVs that we receive contain basic spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Use a covering letter You would be amazed how many candidates think it is appropriate to simply attach their CV to a blank e-mail with no text or covering letter attachment. Chances of response? Zero.
  • Fully research the employer With so many new organisations and brands, it is vital to ensure that a prospective employer can offer you the right level of employment security, satisfaction and potential development.
  • Salary negotiation Try to be flexible on the total benefits package to allow the employer some room for negotiation, but do not allow them to dictate a ridiculously low basic salary. This will only drive down salary scales in the region.
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