By: Daniel Velarde
Having been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years, the time came for me to find work that was more fulfilling and rewarding. This didn’t come easy for me. I was scared to finally make the move that I should have followed through with years before. I was questioning myself, asking “Do I have the right skills?”, “What am I passionate about?”, “Can I compete against all of these millennials?” I knew that this was the time and I wasn’t going to lose a forced opportunity of being unemployed to result in just another restaurant job. So, I put my big boy pants on and started being proactive with my newly found free time. Here are a few things I immediately started working on…
Beef Up Your Resume & LinkedIn Profile:
I re-wrote my resume that I was very proud of previously, but knew it wouldn’t get the attention it needed in the “real world” being so restaurant specific. You have to view yourself differently and imagine how being good at one thing has relevance with another. I also started paying more attention to my LinkedIn profile that I luckily had spent money on years before. I used the introspective information from analyzing myself, along with asking friends for descriptions and ideas on what jobs they thought I should look into. This is a perfect thing to ask your friends with help for. It doesn’t cost them any money, and very little time and energy to do something helpful. I took this information and beefed up both my resume and LinkedIn profiles, joining more groups, adding more connections and actively using the job search feature to let people know that I was ready!
Meet with a Recruiter or a Career Coach:
I met with a recruitment company, and received some really good feedback on how I should continue putting work into discovering what it is that I would like to do. I was told that, as someone from the restaurant industry, I was a bit of a “wild card” when it came to being placed in a more professional role and that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be stimulated enough to keep from getting bored. All good advice that could help clarify and define your goals.
Understand Your Transferable Skills:
As I mentioned earlier, ask your friends for how they see you and write down the positive ways they describe you to help you better understand your value. Keep on top of your working list of tasks and create a speech around how you plan to use these skills moving forward. It helps to organize your words and gives you confidence each time you practice saying it.
Network & Invite Yourself to Events:
I turned everything I had on my calendar into a possible job interview. I also gave myself an excuse to be even more social than I already was, attending mixers, events, charities, absolutely anything that would place me in circumstances that I normally wouldn’t be in. This brings you around a whole new group of people to hopefully strike up conversations with and when they ask “What you do?” <barf> you can practice that speech I told you to work on earlier.
Build Your Personal Brand:
At this point, you are starting to have a better idea of who you are and what it is that excites and motivates you. Stay focused and start having conversations that relate to the industry you’re moving into. Establish yourself as someone who knows a thing or two on whatever it is you are seeking. Sometimes it pays to be an outsider and who helps bring a fresh perspective to topics.
As a whole, be prepared and be open to possibility. Always look your best, because you never know when you’ll run into the perfect opportunity. Save a copy of your resume to your phone for easy sharing and maintain a positive attitude. Looking for a job absolutely sucks, but if you supply yourself with the right tools, you will soon find success.