Standing Out in the Hospitality Job Marketplace

To land a job in the hospitality industry, candidates must find a way to stand out in the sea of applicants—or fall into the resume black hole. Human resource experts shared the following tips for job seekers during a panel discussion hosted by AH&LA’s Women in Lodging at the HX show in New York last month.

Build your own brand. “You have to own your career and you need to manage your career. If you want to work in companies like Hilton or some of our other colleagues, you have to make yourself known by having a brand,” says Barbara Hollkamp, senior vice president of HR consulting at Hilton Worldwide.

Manage your online presence. “LinkedIn is the top global source of high-quality hires,” Hollkamp says. “Recruiters are using it and it’s powerful, so you need to stay fresh.”

Engage in campus recruitment. “Social sites are so important but so is that face-to-face interaction, and we do encourage you to work with ambassadors on the campus level,” advises Nancy Lally, a regional HR director at Hilton Worldwide.


Demonstrate your capabilities. “Step up, step in, and be relevant,” Hollkamp stresses. “Raise your hand, take the tough assignments, be overprepared, always be willing to do the extra work, and get noticed.”

Take advantage of referrals. “On average, 30 percent of people companies hire are employee referrals,” explains Chris Hoyt, chief innovation enthusiast and co-owner at CareerXroads. “Finding out who you know that already works in a place you’d like to work at is a huge help.”

Know who you are. “From self-awareness, you’ll learn how to self-reflect. And from self-reflection, you can decide on self-improvement or self-development. But you need to know who you are, so that as you move through your career, you know what drives you,” Hollkamp says.

Find the right mentor. “Aligning yourself with someone who helps you stay inspired or go get inspired and pushes you and will also have your back is really important,” Hoyt says. “I can’t overstate how powerful that can be. That changes destinies when you have someone who not only lifts you up but pushes you forward and supports you and can protect you.”

Assess the company culture to find the best fit. “It’s not as much about the position or title or name of the organization, but how that organization operates,” says Karen DiFulgo, senior vice president of HR at Benchmark Hospitality. “That organization needs to speak to you as an individual and align with your core values and how you behave and interact; that is what makes a position.”

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