Job Seeking

How To Attain Real Job Security In Hospitality / F&B

The past few months have been some trying times in hospitality and having a birds-eye view of the jobs market we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons about what everybody calls job security. When you have a job the money that gets deposited in your account every month is comforting but it’s really only providing an illusion of security.

The truth that so many people are facing this year is that sadly job security is never guaranteed. And so if you want to ensure that you have an income, something to cover your basic needs and beyond, you need to do so much more than just land a job.

Job Security – Becoming Indispensable

Job Security

I really want to talk about how to maintain and how to sustain income and job security. First, you need to become indispensable. You do this by getting really good at what you do, by investing your time and energy in mastering your craft.

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000-hour rule – the idea being that if you want to master anything, you need to invest around 10,000 hours into your craft.

He says – “Every great classical composer without exception composes for at least 10 years before writing their masterwork. Mozart was composing at 11, but he was composing garbage at 11. He didn’t produce something great until he was 23”.

Cultivate your craft

The exact number of hours you need to learn a craft is really arbitrary and depends on what you’re learning. But the main point is the best in the world weren’t born great. The best in their fields all had to devote themselves to their work to get better and naturally as they did so their income security/job security improved.

One of my favorite channels on YouTube is Mike Boyd’s channel https://www.youtube.com/c/MikeBoydVideo . Mike Boyd has dedicated the past few years to learning new skills and he’s quantified the actual time, the exact hours it takes for him to learn new things with some fascinating and entertaining results.

Mike says “People really resonate with the idea of quantifying something in hours. It’s much more tangible and understandable, like an 8-hour shift at work. That’s something people understand so when someone says, Oh it took me eight hours to learn to do this, it seems like you can do it. If someone says it took me six weeks to learn to do this, even though the actual time was only 6 hours or eight hours, that seems much more insurmountable”.

Key points

Mike Boyd has learned a lot about learning. I want to share a couple of his ideas here that I think are really useful and can help us along the way to job security.

  • Schedule practice time. Whatever you’re learning do it in a way that doesn’t really interrupt or disrupt your routine. If you can reduce the barriers to practice it just makes learning that much easier.
  • Isolate issues. Look at issues that arise In a more pragmatic way. To do things better you can identify problems and issues in your techniques. Mike was trying to get better at muscle-ups. He identified that the issue really was not strength. It was much more the actual technique of getting his arms over the bar. He was able to isolate that issue with resistance bands. This then enabled him to get the technique down and then the strength.
  • Think of learning as the discipline in and of itself. Mike’s experiments show you just how quickly you can pick up new things if you dedicate yourself to the process consistently.

Job Security

Of course, by becoming a master at something, creating skills that are valuable, you become indispensable to your boss or clients. Which takes your job security to the next level. It just takes repeated practice working your way up to around 10,000 hours to master a subject. It’s worth remembering that as soon as you start you are well on the way to increasing job security as others will note your dedication. As they do your value to employers or clients increases accordingly.


Deliver!

As a hospitality / F&B recruiter, I realised that we had to continue to deliver project after project. If we screwed up, if we missed the deadline, if we didn’t complete a project on time, then we would likely never see that client again. There was very little room for screwing up and making mistakes. So we had to learn to deliver very quickly.

When we did deliver, then we saw those clients come back over and over again. I was able to increase our income. I was able to develop my skills even more and that quick feedback loop helped to push me forward. This was the first step that really helped me gain true income/job security.

Expect the unexpected

The next point is just as practical and has to do with money and creating financial freedom. When you have a job and buy into the idea of job security you assume that your income will always be there. You rarely ever think about the worst that could happen. Or maybe you’re simply pushing it to the back of your mind and pretending like it could never happen.

But the truth is that you could lose your job. But since you’re not thinking about it, you can’t prepare for it. Perhaps the most valuable thing that I took away from the beginning, starting out in recruiting was that I never had a stable income. I never had that constant monthly paycheck that I could rely on. That might not sound like a good thing to you. But it taught me to be really conservative and really thoughtful about the money that I was saving. To prepare for the absolute worst-case scenario as a business owner.

In the beginning, I never had the illusion that I had a secure income. I would have busy months and slow months. Some months I made $0 – $1000 and other months I made $10,000. I learned that if I wanted to weather these storms, I needed to learn how to control my finances and my spending.

Although I didn’t realise it at the time I was entering into this market that was completely unstable. I was trying to build my own business, trying to find new clients, and struggling in the beginning. At the start my career path was defined by the idea that I might not be able to have enough money to pay rent this month.

Prepare for a rainy day

That forced me to be extra conservative, extra responsible when I finally did get those projects. I started out by storing away $1000 for my emergency fund. I would not touch this unless I absolutely had to. This wasn’t for beers on the weekend. It was for the broken-down car, the potential medical bill. The unexpected will happen so planning for the unexpected becomes absolutely vital for job security.

After that, I started to build up this emergency fund even more. Eventually I built it from $1,000 to $5,000 and then $10,000 and eventually over $20,000. The idea was that this money would give me padding. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was providing me with true freedom. Now if I got sick, if I couldn’t work I’d have my basic needs met for at least six months to a year. The weight that was removed and lifted off my shoulders because of this was immense.

Job Security allows you to pursue the things you care about most

job security

It also allowed me to pursue the things that I really cared about when I had that sense of income/job security that that padding provided me. I was able to say no to projects and clients that I didn’t care about, that didn’t have the budget and focus my energy and time on things that really excited the hell out of me. I cannot tell you how much that changed my life.

Planning for the worst and building a rainy day fund gave me a sense of freedom and income/job security that I had never experienced up until that point.

Job Security – Conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re a business owner or if you have a career, the principles to follow are still the same:

  • Get really really good at what you do
  • Try to improve every single day – Invest back into yourself
  • Be smart about your finances – Put money away for a rainy days. Build up as much financial security as you can

So the best advice I could give for this is really this simple – Just start!

As you are picking up new skills you’ll feel like a total newbie. It may even be totally cringy during that period where you’re just picking up something. But that’s when you’re going to make the biggest progress! And all you have to do is get out the door and start!

Let me know what you think and if you have any tips to share that enhance job and income security.

Until next time, wishing you all the very best!

Nathan

5 Tips On How To Answer Interview Questions & Get Your Next Hospitality / F&B Job!

Are you nervous about a job interview that's coming up? I’m going to give you five tips on how to answer interview questions and get that job!

answer interview questions

Crush that job interview!

So if we haven’t met, my name is Nathan, I help motivated Hospitality and F&B professionals build their careers and businesses. I want to offer some practical tips to gain further career confidence. So let’s start talking about ways to crush that job interview and how to best answer Interview questions!

answer interview questions

First Impressions

So number one, first impressions matter a lot, and I mean A LOT when you’re going for that job interview. It’s said an interviewers mind is about 70% of the way made up in the first six seconds. That’s a lot! 

Now here’s the great part about it. If you make a great first impression all answers afterwards are going to reinforce what they’ve already decided about you. They’re going to see them in a positive light. There’s a study showing that if you give a bad first impression it takes seven good Impressions afterwards to make up for it. So if it’s a bad first impression, you have to give seven awesome answers. That’s really hard.

So let’s give a great first impression. How do you do that?

  • You’re smiling
  • You make on eye contact
  • You’re on time (slightly early). Even if it’s on a zoom get on that Zoom several minutes early. Make sure you’re in frame. Make sure your lighting’s good.
answer interview questions

First impressions are super key to getting that job.

When it comes that “Tell me about yourself” question

You need to blow them away when you start to answer interview questions.

If I were to ask you now “Tell me about yourself”. And you had to answer it right now, the chances are you may struggle.

I promise you I have asked enough people, you can tell who practice and who thought they could wing it. I promise you you can’t wing it. 

answer interview questions

"Tell Me About Yourself?"

So “Tell me about yourself” is the question where you get to really craft your pitch ahead of time. Really explain who you are and what you’ve done that matters to this company.

The really short version of this is that you need to highlight past jobs or experiences. Highlight one thing you did in that job that you learned and that will be important for this job.

So for example… “Oh, I worked at Starbucks and while I was there, it really taught me the value of customer service. I learned how to really make every customer happy every day. I then moved on from there and went to (x,y,z company).”

Then tell them something you learned there 

And then end with why you’re in the room today…..“And that’s why I’m excited to be here. This really seems like the next step in my career progression” (provide a reason). Then “I’m ready to move on to that next challenge and (xyz) is something I’m really passionate about”.

So first crush the “Tell me about yourself” part, then you need to answer interview questions that are about behaviour. Those “Tell me about a time when…” questions.

The Star Method

The star method walks someone through a time something happened, highlighting how you successfully handled the situation.

You need to give…

  • The general situation

  • The task

  • The action

  • The result

So here’s where people sometimes mess up.

  • They tend to talk about a time and situation that was at hand.

  • Then they give the task they were told to do or the thing that needed to happen.

  • They then lastly give their action and they think that’s the important part.

For example “I did this thing, I took initiative. I helped with defusing the conflict”.

You need to tell them what happened because of that action. Did the whole team come together after that? Did they promote you because of your excellent leadership skills? Give the result.

That’s some key tips to answer interview questions in the best way. But it’s not all about the interview questions.

 

You are not done when you leave the meeting on Zoom or you walk out the door of the office

You also need to send a thank you email within 24 hours of finishing that interview.

It’s great if you can do it in the first couple of hours, but I totally understand, lives are busy. You may have done an interview and have to leave quickly to go to a dinner or similar. Naturally in that case just get a good night’s sleep and send it the next morning. When you write that thank you email keep it short, about four sentences. You’re going to want to say…

  • Thank you

  • Restate your excitement for this position

  • Name something specific from the interview that made you excited.

    *So, please don’t try and write these ahead of time.

I’ve heard of people coming out to the front desk and handing them the note saying “can you give this to …..” That’s what we call disingenuous.

Always craft it on your own afterwards, within 24 hours.

And fun fact, I have timed this process multiple times it takes you three to four minutes. So I want you to think about it this way, three to four minutes is what stands between you and getting that job. Because the thank you note can be the dealmaker.

Practice & Prepare

If you’ve recognised anything from the things I’ve already said you cannot just wing this. No one can go into an interview and just be like, “You know what I’m just gonna talk and see what happens”. It does not work.

You need to practice and prepare. So practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, write out your answers. Please, please, please do not let the first time you say those words to those answers be in the room or on the zoom. You need to do it ahead of time!

So to help you with that. I do have a very affordable course called “How To Ace The Interview’. For your next interview I’ll literally walk you step-by-step through my process. This system works. So if you want information on it click below.

It’s a quick course. You don’t need to spend hours and hours taking a course to then have to go practice for the interview. It’s short, I walk you through it quickly and get you to practicing the key areas that make all the difference in the interview.

It lays out all of the most common pitfalls and the questions you will be asked and how to best prepare.

In short it will give you a huge boost in any interview as most people who interview just don’t know how to stack the odds in their favour!

That’s all for today. I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know what tip means the most to you in the comments below,

Until next time. Bye!

Nathan

 

 

Be Sure To AVOID THIS COMMON MISTAKE In Your Hospitality Job Search

Today I am going to share with you a mistake I made all the time in my hospitality job search in Asia.

Fixing this is critical to your Hospitality Job Search. So today I’ll tell you what it is. You can see if you’ve been making this mistake and we’ll talk about how to fix it.

If we haven’t met, my name is Nathan and I help motivated professionals build their careers and business in Hospitality & F&B in Asia and the Middle East. So let’s talk about this mistake.

So back in the day when I was still  working as a chef in fine dining and more casual restaurants in Asia,when I was job searching, I’d go to events and meet people and they’d say, “So what are you doing?” I’d say “Oh I work in as a chef at this restaurant, but I’m currently searching hospitality jobs. You know, I’m looking for something else in the industry.”

Be sure hospitality employers know your priority!

Okay, so being really broad here was my mistaken priority. I didn’t want to say “Oh, I’m really looking for hospitality jobs involving Japanese cuisine or sushi roles”, I was scared that if I said I really wanted a Japanese chef job in Asia (as that’s an area that really interested me) that would be too narrow and they’d go “No I have nothing for you”. So I didn’t want to rule out an opportunity. I was afraid if I said I really want this type of hospitality job that they might have some other great chef job opening and not tell me about it because I said I wanted something in Japanese cuisine.

So if (for example) I wanted a job in HK in a modern Japanese restaurant and something opened in Singapore that fitted my Western Cuisine experience with an F&B group there. then they could  think “Oh, well, no not going to share that with him because he said he wanted a Japanese chef job”. Right? This is a fear a lot of people have, they’re scared that if they say something too specific they’re never going to get offered jobs in that niche, they’re afraid they’re going to rule out other options. 

Here is the problem – When you are so general in your hospitality jobs search, no one knows what hospitality role to offer you.

For example the other day I met a job seeker and she recently graduated, she said, “Yes I’m a job Seeker. I’m looking for new opportunities and have been doing a lot of interviews” but when I asked her what kind of jobs? She said “Oh, you know something in the hotels area or also wellness area would be nice”, and she gave us two different titles and we went okay, but what industry are you really looking for?, “Oh, either is OK”. I thought you’re killing me, you’ve got to tell me what you want, because here is the thing that she didn’t realise and here’s the thing that I didn’t realise back in the day, people need to put you in a box. in order to take you out of it. 

Be specific about the type of hospitality job you are searching for.

People need to know specifically what you want in your hospitality jobs search. And once they know what that is first, they can then think of things for you, they can think of what people to put you in touch with and say “Oh, you should meet my friend so-and-so, and you should meet this person who does something similar” Oh my friend works in that industry, but they’re in this department.” 

You can’t connect people when you just say I’m looking for a job or I’m looking for a job in the casual dining industry, even then It’s a little too generic, right? They won’t know what to do with you. But once you’ve said what you want, then they can think of somewhere else to put you. They need to put you in the box to take you out of it. 

So if you say “Oh I’d really love to do marketing for restaurant groups in South East Asia, that’s something that really interests me. I’m looking at specifically that area”. Then they can go, “Oh, well, I don’t know anyone looking for marketing candidates in restaurants groups right now, but I do have a friend who works in marketing in the wellness industry in that region, would you be interested in talking with them? 

Here’s a different example of this just to prove the point.

Have you ever you been with a friend, spouse or partner and looked at them and said, where do you want to eat? And they reply I don’t know, I don’t really care… anywhere, it’s up to you, where would you like to eat? And then you say “oh, I want to go to a Chinese restaurant”, but then they say I don’t really fancy Chinese food today, I’d rather go for Italian cuisine. That’s really something that happens, but they had to hear something first to go, no, that’s not it. I want this other thing. It’s the same concept, right? You need to be specific with people. 

Allow others to propose career openings in hospitality in Asia and beyond.

Don’t be scared that you are missing out on the job opportunity because you’re so specific. Once you’re specific about your hospitality jobs search they can then put you in touch with the specific right people, but they can also start thinking outside the box to peripheral options that might also be of interest to you. Let them come up with ideas around what could work for you? Don’t be so generic that they can’t figure out a way to help you at all, the more specific we are, the more people can help.

I’d like you to think about if you’ve been making this mistake and in the comments get specific. We can start to help each other, tell me what kind of jobs specifically you are looking for. I know other people read the comments so feel free to leave that below maybe one of us might be able to connect you with your next opportunity!

That’s all for today. Thanks so much, until next time!

Nathan.

Interested in more tips like this? Here’s my article on why a growth mindset is so important in Hospitality https://cuttingedgerecruit.com/how-a-growth-mindset-is-the-key-for-your-career-success/

For something even more in depth our Ace The Interview course is going to take your interview success to the next level, click below

Why A Growth Mindset Is KEY for Your Hospitality Career Success In Asia

So you’re trying to make something new happen, a new hospitality job, no matter the career goal a growth mindset is key to get there.

Today we’re discussing what it is, what it definitely isn’t and what to ask yourself to develop that growth mindset. So let’s start talking about a growth mindset.

Several years ago, Carol Dweck wrote the book “Mindset”. In it she explained that the most successful people in life have what’s known as a growth mindset”. You can have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset let’s talk about fixed mindsets first.

Someone with a fixed mindset thinks that things cannot change

For example “What is today is what tomorrow will be”, “who I am today is who I will be tomorrow”, “I can’t get better at Kaiseki or Sushi skills”, “Anyway, I am who I am“.

I realised it’s very easy to dismiss this and go “No, that’s not me. I’m not that kind of person, I understand people can change”. But then I think about how many people I know have told me they could never do something. “Oh, I could never start a business, I could never become a Hotel GM or switch careers this at this late age, or I could never go back to study more about hospitality, I could never run a marathon”… So it seems like we all have a fixed mindset in regards to something.

A fixed mindset believes that you are who you are.

 

What you get is what you get but a growth mindset believes that you can change, who you are today does not have to be who you are tomorrow. The beauty of this is people with a growth mindset are not defined by a set back or by a harsh criticism, rough feedback any of those sorts of things. They see all of these as opportunities to grow. I’m not saying these things don’t hurt, harsh feedback sucks, getting laid off, that hurts! It’s not a sense of you can’t feel emotions about these things, but realising that you’re not defined by this event.

A growth mindset is key to career success because it keeps you innovating and creating rather than making fear-based decisions. People with a growth mindset see change of any kind as an opportunity rather than a deficit or a setback.

So how can you develop a growth mindset?

Well anytime you have any sort of experience. It’s really good to evaluate it. So ask yourself some of the following questions. Or all of the following questions.

  • What did I learn?
  • What did I contribute?
  • What did I create?
  • What can I take from this experience?
  • What would I maybe do different next time?

I think sometimes to have a growth mindset we just have to wait for the opportunity to try something again. So you might get harsh feedback, but if you don’t get the chance to replicate that event again you can think “next time if it happens. I’m going to do these three things differently”. What I love about this is you can use these questions for any situation. This will enable you to see how you want to grow as a human being as well as for your career. Have a new project at work or a position you just got laid off from? Ask these sorts of questions to get the opportunity to think through new ideas and get further along in your career!

How To Implement A Growth Mindset

I personally think it’ll really help you figure out what are the things I’m actually really good at and how do I go deeper in those areas. And so I really hope today you will try and find a way to develop your growth mindset, but it doesn’t have to be work related. Want to be better at organising your filing or having a clean apartment and you think “I’m just not an organised person”. Well, let’s reframe that. Ask ourselves some questions about how we can do that a little bit better and move towards being a tidier person. Maybe you just got laid off or you’re trying to figure out what your next career position will be? Ask yourself some questions today such as What do I really like about my job? What do I want to change about myself?

Kickstart your hospitality job search by thinking about that “new self” you can be

Start acting upon that, use that growth mindset to start becoming a new better different version of yourself that will set you up for career success. So let me know below. What’s one way you are going to try to have a growth mindset?

Look forward to hearing how you were able to inplement this, until next time happy career hacking!

Nathan.

Do Cover Letters Actually Get Read??

More advice on Cover Letters.

I wanted to offer you a few quick tips on what typically happens with your Cover Letter when applying for jobs with many employers.

There are many ways to submit your cover letter.  Sometimes you’re submitting it in an applicant tracking system. Sometimes you’re attaching it to a an email that you’re sending along with your CV…. you’ve got an email, some text about who you are, you have attached your cover letter and attached your CV. 

If you go that route, I dare say 100% of the time the person who opens the email, glances at the text you put in the email and then clicks your resume, opens it and then they look at the resume because they want to get right to the answer. 

They want to see if you fit, then if they like your resume they hop over to the cover letter. They open it up to see if there’s really anything else in there. That’s the sequence. 

They don’t read the email, then open the cover letter, then read the cover letter, then open the CV and then read the CV.  

And if it’s submitted via an applicant tracking system it’s never read at all, even though they may have said it is required. Most of the time what’s happening is the applicant tracking system is working on processing all the details. 

There’s a search set based on keyword matches…  how closely your submitted CV or entries into the system aligned to what the employer is looking for. 

Most employer’s HR departments get a small fraction of the number of resumes that are submitted into their inbox as when the HR manager is searching for a type of candidate they will generally go to the applicant tracking system and then have the system tell them exactly who to look at. 

To get around this it’s always important to deal directly with somebody within the HR dept that you are applying to, you can write an excellent introduction about yourself in your cover letter with some specific details and you can mention in your email that these details are in your cover letter (for example food images if you are a chef or marketing work if you’re a marketer).

If you are dealing with a recruiter and they ask you to provide a cover letter specifically, you should always provide the most informative cover letter possible as the recruiter will use this information to bring the employers attention to your profile and help you stand out from the crowd.

Look out for my coming articles on how to write the perfect cover letter and presenting your profile to potential employers.

I hope this helps (if it does please share), happy job hunting,

Nathan.