The latest jobs report revealed that 167,000 leisure and hospitality jobs were added since mid-2011. But if you’re one of the countless unemployed Americans still trying to find a hospitality job, this encouraging statistic is of little consolation.
The simple fact is, it’s tough out there. A large portion of the hospitality workforce is currently unemployed, and has been for quite a while. To make things worse, unemployed hospitality workers now face yet another, seemingly unfair barrier to finding work – their employment status.
Right or wrong, some employers unfairly discriminate against candidates who have been unemployed for more than a few months. Despite numerous EEO laws and safeguards, these employers ignore the résumés sent to them by hospitality job seekers who aren’t working. They believe that requiring that a candidate be gainfully employed is just “smart business” – helping them control the flood of applications and filter out “damaged goods” before spending valuable time and resources on screening and interviewing.
So what’s a smart job seeker to do? First of all, don’t admit defeat. If you’re out of work and need a job, now is a time to stay strong. Use these tips to overcome the stigma of unemployment – and find a great hospitality job:
- Forgive yourself – and move on. Losing a job is nothing unusual, especially these days. Mergers, cost-cutting measures and total shutdowns have forced countless people out of their jobs over the past few years. Whatever your reason for being unemployed, you need a positive mindset to tackle what may be a tough job search. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself for being out of work, and then move on.
- If you’ve only been out of work for a short time (a few weeks or months), invest a lot of time and energy into networking and informational interviews. This will help you get past the initial human resources screening that would eliminate you from consideration. Use networking as a tool to demonstrate your willingness to work hard, and your drive to find a job may overcome the bias against you as a person out of work.
- Ignore the verbiage in job posts that suggests an employer intends to discriminate based on recent employment status. Just because the discriminatory language is present in a job listing doesn’t mean you have to adhere to the request! If your job skills and experience are a good fit for the posting, by all means apply for that position – regardless of your employment situation.
- Consider adjusting your résumé. If you’ve been out of work for awhile, you may want to switch from a chronological to functional résumé format. This will allow you to lead with your skills and qualifications, outside the context of your employment history. Additionally, you may want to omit dates from your employment history section. Once your skills have an employer’s attention, he can inquire about the dates.
- Solidify references from previous employer(s). When you’re unemployed, a strong endorsement from an employer – even one who let you go – may outweigh the length of your unemployment.
Temporary Hospitality Work – Your Best Bet for Beating Jobless Discrimination
Looking for a sure-fire way to overcome your jobless stigma? Go to work for a hospitality staffing service like Penguin – as soon as possible! It’s easiest to find a job while you’re working, so stack the deck in your favor. Beyond merely changing your employment status, on-call or temporary hospitality assignments can help you:
- Earn valuable income – at a time when you really need it.
- Keep your spirits up – by being productive and engaged.
- Build your résumé and keep your skills sharp – the variety inherent in temporary assignments presents you with new challenges, allowing you to grow and gain experience.
- Find direct employment – if you prove yourself on the job, your temporary or contract position may convert to a direct opportunity. Additionally, while you’re on assignment, Penguin Staff can actively search for direct positions that match your skills, experience and interests.