Tips on keeping careers on track

At these challenging times for all of us in hospitality I wanted offer some more tips on keeping our careers on track. So today I want to tell you how you get a job you love, the absolute best way to do it!

Before I get into it, disclaimer alert! This is a long game strategy. I know many of you are thinking “but I need a job now”, and I have other emails and courses to help with that but in this email I want to tell you about the long game.

So the absolute best way to get a job you love is you make the employer come to you. I’m talking about setting yourself up in a way that when a position opens, the hiring manager for that department or the CEO or whoever thinks of you.

Here’s how you do it…
Choose that thing that you want to get hired for. Is it a Restaurant Manager in a certain restaurant group? Is it to be the best pastry chef in a certain style? Go all in and get focused on what it is you want to be awesome at (our career development course will help with that if you’re not sure where you should go next in your career).

You need to make sure you are really really good at that job that you want. So focus in on the key two to three skills for that job. If you need to do some extra work to gain skills make sure you do that, and if needed take a class or two to build up the proficiency in those areas.

Then (and this is often overlooked) is to be awesome at the job you have now! Your work in your current job is going to speak for what you do in the future, even if it’s a major career pivot. Please remember your boss and co-workers are your references, so be awesome at what you do whether it is in the field or out of the field of where you want to go next in your career.

Next, meet the key players where you want to be. So that means to meet the head of the department. For example if you want to work in upper level management in a certain company, that means get to know Operations Director or the COO, it doesn’t matter who specifically, you want people in the company knowing you and this is where it’s a long-term play.

I’m not saying connect on LinkedIn, I’m not saying  like a post on social media, I’m saying develop the relationship to the point where you are sending them a birthday card or where you guys have gone to coffee, where they know about you and when they see you at an event you both go “Oh, it’s so great to see you!” and you chat a bit more. You need to be in with them so that they really know who you are.

Next they need to know what you do and that you want to do it for them. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But it’s shocking how many times we think people should just intuitively know what we want. So don’t assume this person knows you want to work for them (don’t beg for a job either).

We don’t do this right away, but once you’ve built that relationship, then fluidly in conversation make sure you drop it to them, something along the lines of “you know, if anything ever opens up at your company I would love to work in your “XYZ” department”, or make up your own job, for example say “If you ever want somebody to do “ABC” for you. I would love to be that person”, just drop it in there, it doesn’t mean something’s available right now, but now they’re going to click and go “Okay, that’s really good to know”.

Then something can happen down the road and they will come to you and say, “Hey, guess what, we thought about it and we’d really love you to come in and do blah blah blah” or “Hey, guess what, this position just opened and we were talking and we thought we should invite you for a chat about it”.

That sort of thing happens all the time. So make sure you’re taking these steps, play the long game to get to the job and make that employer come to you.

That’s it for today. If you are enjoying these career tips we have just launched our “How To Ace The Interview Course”, it’s all this type of information and more, in much more detail. To enroll just click the button below and we will be happy to get you started.

Stay safe healthy and strong!



So today I’m going to talk to you about how to job search even in uncertain times

I think the careers people love are found when our skills meet the right opportunity. So today we’re going to focus on those two things. So first up skills. I want you to look at the job that you really want and think about what skills you need for this job? This is a major part of job searching. You have to have the skills for the job. Don’t let them slide in this weird time, the mistake I’m seeing people make is they think “Well, no one’s hiring right now (that’s false BTW), so why should I keep working on my skills? I’ll just wait until people are hiring again”. Put in the work NOW so the second people are really hiring in large numbers again you are a TOP candidate because you have all the skills needed as you used this weird time to your advantage.

So, what skills do you need to work on and start practicing? Is it getting better at Excel, is it in working on food plating? Is it a soft skill that maybe you need to work on, something more like communication?

You can still do that even if you are still having to stay at home. So just start working on that skill.The key to this is to focus on one skill at a time. Don’t try and do all of them at once, pick one and get really good at that, then you’re already a levelled up candidate! Now move on to the next one, build a base and then move on to the next thing, one by one you will get all the skills you need to be great for that next job. And if you’re wondering how you get those skills while sitting at home?

Well online learning is a real thing, there are online courses from everyone under the sun.Okay, so that other part of the job search process is having the right opportunity. And how do we get the right opportunity? We network, you can still network from your couch at home. In fact, there are two types of networking. There’s outbound (you reaching out to people) and inbound, where you do things that make people come to you.

So let’s talk outbound first, as outbound is reaching out to people, this could be texting people that you haven’t talked to in a while. Right now is a great time to check in with everyone you’ve ever met, send a text and to say “Hey, I thought about you today wanted to see how you’re doing”?

They will hopefully respond with what they’re doing and ask you what you’re up to. Now, you don’t want to say… “Oh thanks for asking. Actually, I was wondering if you know of any openings at your company for jobs?” But you’ll get the chance to tell them what you’re up to, which could be, “I’m starting to look at making my next move. I really would love to talk to some people in “ABC” department, if you know of anyone let me know, but no pressure”.

Whatever the next step for you is just keep building relationships because even if they don’t have the opportunity now, you can’t go and knock on the door of someone you’ve never met and say “Hey, can you give me a job?”, but you can with the people you’ve built relationships with. So start reaching out and saying something like “Hey, I would love to do a virtual coffee chat with you, can we have a chat over Zoom? I would love to just hear more about what you do.”

If it’s somebody who’s almost a cold connection, for example they’ve accepted your LinkedIn connection request, you might need to build that relationship a little bit more first before you ask for that Zoom. But I really believe right now is the time when more people are willing to say yes to talking with strangers than they ever have before, the best way to get that connection is if you have somebody in common and ask for them to introduce you.

There’s also a thing called inbound marketing where people come to you. Well, how do you do that? You create an Instagram, if you are a Chef post your awesome food and work pics up there, or you can post content on LinkedIn. You can start a blog (if you have a strong blog on your subject it can be an incredibly effective way to grab an employer’s attention), create a Youtube channel on something that draws people to you, or post videos of talks that you have been invited to give on a work related topic. If you aren’t good at it just keep doing it until you are.

So use this opportunity to expand your online presence. If you want to go more into a certain area, start posting every day about it, for example, how people are coping around your chosen topic in the weird times we are living and right now, who did it well, and why do you think they did it well, who could do it better and what did they mess up? Talk about all those details, put up a different piece of work every single day for the next 30 days, learn to use tags correctly, learn to ask questions at the end of your post so people comment to you, comment on other people’s posts so that they come back and look at you.This is a way to start drawing people to you and it also hopefully highlights one of those skills you were working on. It’s a great way to end up creating opportunity just because you start to get noticed by people, and I have plenty of examples of people who have got jobs this way. So, make sure you are reaching out to people but also that you’re also proving what your worth by showcasing those skills and drawing others in.

There’s a blessing to this weird time of uncertainty, you hopefully have at least a little more time to work on those skills that you might be lacking and you have a lot more opportunity to meet people, even if it’s virtually because more and more people are willing to connect right now. So, keep job searching because the more you do now in terms of applying and meeting people and building those skills, the quicker you will get a job. Whether we get through this by this time next week or in three months (It won’t be three, please….. don’t let it be three months….), you’re going to get a job faster the more work you put into it TODAY. So, start getting to work.

Thanks. Have a great day.
Until next time,


Proven Method To Massively Increase Your Chances In A Job Interview

So, here is the question you have to ask at the end of an interview, it’s a little scary but I promise you it will be worth it….

That’s a hard question to ask, because they’re going to give you an answer and sometimes it’s not the one you want to hear, you may hear something like “to be blatantly honest, you just don’t have the skills”, or “we’ve had stronger candidates apply”.Okay, that isn’t the best, however, if you get that answer the beauty of it is you know right away not to be waiting by the phone for their call, you can pick yourself right back up and go and start interviewing for more jobs.

On the other hand, they might say something along the lines of “you don’t have a lot of experience in XYZ area”… GREAT, This is now your chance to make the argument for why you should get the position anyway, it allows you the opportunity to fight for the Job. So, if they say you haven’t had a lot of experience doing XYZ. You can say “Well, that is why I’m so excited to work here, I love a new challenge and I’m excited to get to learn about something new and I know I will just hit the ground running because learning something new and doing something I haven’t done before keeps me going, so I’m excited to learn more about that area to work in it”.I love this question because it gives you a chance to fight for the position and show your confidence.

Normally at the end of the interview there are areas where the interviewer may think “Okay, they seem good overall, but I’m not sure about XYZ” and not every interviewer asks all the right questions, so sometimes they’re left wondering about those things and by asking this you’re getting the opportunity to clarify anything that’s still leaving them uncertain. It is also a wonderful opportunity to show that you can handle feedback.

Something that so many people are looking for these days is someone who can take feedback, we’re living in a feedback culture, so you need to be able to handle it and this question shows that you can.So, this is a great feedback question you can have ready in your back pocket for that moment when they ask “Do you have any questions ?”, which you can use to clarify any uncertainty and make a strong argument whilst projecting confidence for role.

I hope you have found this interesting and that it will be of help in your next interview.Also…I’m excited to let you know, we have a new course coming out and are signing up candidates now, (email if you would like more info).

It’s all this type of information in much more depth, finding your purpose, writing resumes, cover letters, interviewing, all the way to career acceleration. Everything careers related.

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Why We Started Cutting Edge

After working as a chef in some of the top award-winning restaurants from the Savoy in the UK to classical French restaurants in France. I met my wife and moved with her to Hong Kong, we were both getting started in new jobs and trying to make it in the city. I started teaching at the local culinary school and was working to inspire the young chefs with the same passion and excitement for the profession that I have been blessed to receive from my tutors and mentors in the industry. At the same time in order to get more involved with the vibrant local scene I started consulting on various restaurant openings. I was confident that I could achieve what was being requested of me in each of these consulting roles and assured my employers and clients that I would be able to deliver on all of their requests for their projects….. but I kept coming across the same issue.

I was highly motivated and putting a lot of effort into making sure each project went smoothly, trusting in my ability to deliver on each of the projects for my employers. I would be leading the design of menus in line with the concepts, excitedly going through the testing of dishes, staff training, setting up the kitchen design and giving further input on elements within the restaurants, working every waking hour to meet all of the tight deadlines. The costing would be done and training manuals prepared. I had previously assured my bosses that as I was well connected I would be able to ensure that would have all the staff in place that we needed, they had complete trust in me. I had put the word out across the network, placed ads on all the usual job sites and was waiting for applicants, and then my sickening realisation ……….crickets, we would be getting two or three applicants in but rarely the star candidates we were looking for.

My employers would start getting anxious and I would calm them and assuring them that we would be okay by the scheduled opening day, externally I had everything under control but inside there was pure panic, I assured them again I was well connected in the industry and knew lots of staff including students who would soon be graduating and looking for jobs, the trouble was there were nowhere near enough chefs, FOH staff and experienced managers for all the roles in the city, most of whom were deeply involved in their own projects. For junior roles most of the students had already accepted positions in the large hotel groups and as the scheduled openings got closer by the day, the realisation was rapidly dawning on me that we were becoming stuck. We were getting nowhere near the amount of staff needed and those we did find were all too often not as experienced or engaged as we wanted them to be to achieve the kind of success and standards that we were aiming for.

I started to double down on the search. I put out more ads on the usual websites and was soon exasperated to learn that most of the hospitality job seekers were not hanging out there, those seekers that were were not even seeking roles in hospitality. For the managerial and specialist roles I was getting tired of sending out emails and messages into the abyss, I was spending a ridiculous amount of time on staffing which was fast turning into a nightmare that was threatening to undermine the whole project. I was feeling I had taken on too much and due to the amount of time I was putting into staffing I was losing focus on other important areas of the business causing the potential of other issues to snowball. I was deeply concerned with the quantity and quality of staff we were finding, all too often would get a number of staff in place who needed extensive training to reach standards only to find that they would start to leave as the restaurants became busier and then more understaffed as a result, and as the staff were overstretched it would would then cause a reduction in potential revenue as they were less able to attend to the finer points that generated the important extra revenue.

I realised that if I as someone who was well connected was experiencing this, and that most of those that I knew in HR in the industry had similar experiences that this was a widespread issue and that as I was already well connected with hundreds of contacts that I may be able to do something to start to resolve the situation. I decided that I had to stop sourcing staff the usual way as it wasn’t working for hospitality and start connecting. I started compiling all of my contacts and started further building out my network from hundreds into thousands, tens of thousands (and ultimately hundreds of thousands).

The name Cutting Edge Recruitment had popped into my head during one of my morning meditations and I got a friend to draw up a logo, Cutting Edge Recruitment was born. Within a few months the word started spreading and I now had candidates from across HK, then China and beyond reach out and send their CVs. I saw the huge potential and with my enthusiasm to help in this area, I made the decision to leave my previous job and focus full time on Cutting Edge.

I soon realised our database was too big to manually manage and that our website was becoming totally overwhelmed. I needed some assistance, people with excellent experience in recruiting to work with. With my experience in staffing and training in hospitality and by adding some people who were highly skilled in recruitment, we would be able to build a perfect team. We were amazingly fortunate that one of my contacts knew someone who was working in recruitment, highly experienced (and passionate about food) who was looking for a new challenge. She was introduced to me, and was perfect for the role and accepted the role. She immediately set about overseeing the implementation and running of all the systems, putting in a team, staff training and software that would need to be in place to efficiently optimise and run a highly efficient staffing operation, effectively tapping into and compiling all the data from the database of all those that had been reaching out to us and sending in CVs. It seemed we had stumbled across a huge unmet demand from both candidates and employers and before long we were getting contacted from across Asia and the Persian Gulf region.

Several years on it has been an absolutely amazing experience to learn the extent of how we are able to help candidates reach their dream jobs, to have candidates send in photos celebrating new roles with their families or videos of them working in their ideal positions. Even more exciting has been to visit multiple bustling award-winning restaurants and outlets that have been set up and designed around the talents that we have provided, seeing marketing campaigns run by candidates we have supplied to boost marketing teams that have then contributed to further success, new outlets opening and further jobs being created. It has been truly humbling to know that the key to both our clients and candidates success (and therefore ours) has been the outstanding talents that our team have sourced and Cutting Edge’s ability to match them with highly suited working environments.