Whether you are jumping into your first career or are moving on to your next one, here are tips for becoming a standout candidate in the hospitality industry.

1

Get Inspired

Take a step back to see how others got to where you want to go. Familiarize yourself with industry leaders you admire. Pick your top five individuals and then delve deeper into the why. Identify patterns in their career paths, trace their success back to see if they have common roots and/or training. (Don't know where to start? Check out our Inspirational Career Timelines.) 
2

Identify Your Priorities

It is important to know what you want. Start by doing some self-discovery and ask yourself important questions. Here are some to get you in the mindset: How do you rank money, work/life balance? What do you want to get out of your next job (e.g., learning opportunity, fame, awards, etc.)? What do you need right now? What can be sacrificed for the time being?  
3

Do Your Research

Think about what parts of hospitality interest you. Which types of businesses do you see yourself at? Who do you aspire to work with? What excites you and drives your passion for this industry? Pick a few positions that fit your criteria and look at how leaders have been successful in them. Understand what skills you need to get started as well as what knowledge gaps you may have and how you can fill them.
4

Speak the Language

Be realistic about what skills you bring to the table as well as what you need to learn. If you're coming from another industry, take the time to understand how your skills align and apply with those important to hospitality. Go out, explore, observe and talk to people who are currently working in the industry. People are still the core of the hospitality business.  
5

(Re) Set Your Expectations

To reap the rewards, you must put in the work.  Prepare to work hard and be willing to start at an entry level position to create a strong foundation for your path. Don't get discouraged by titles. Titles vary based on the sector and category of hospitality business. If you did your research and focused on your priorities, chances are you're going after the right employers. 
6

Get Noticed

Be proactive and persistent. Seek out your selected employer(s) and reach out to them. Thoughtfully approach cover letters and applications by inserting snippets of your research in and highlighting why you are eager to work for them. Leverage the "I Want To Work Here" button on Culinary Agents to proactively submit your resume for consideration. 
7

Follow up and be professional

Everyone is busy, which makes a timely and professional "thank you" important to stay top-of-mind and shows initiative. If you don't get the job, understand why so that you can learn from the experience. Also, circling back with a follow-up message at a later date could make a difference. Remember, if you want something bad enough, go for it!