Having your hospitality CV seen by a hiring manager or recruiter is the first step in the job application process. However, this can be more challenging than it seems. One obstacle that candidates may face is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) by companies. ATS is a technology that scans resumes for keywords that match the job requirements. Candidates whose resumes have the most matching keywords are prioritized in the hiring process. While ATS can help companies quickly identify qualified candidates, it also poses a challenge for many job seekers in the hospitality industry as 70% of applications are not able to pass the ATS screening. Here at Twentysix Recruitment, we’ve seen all kinds of CVs and have successfully helped our candidates with our tips and guidance, we’ll break down the most important elements below. 

Choose the Right CV Format for the Hospitality Industry 

Proper formatting plays a crucial role in making your CV ATS-friendly. Clear and organised information allows the technology to efficiently scan your CV. Using a reverse chronological format for your hospitality CV is a recommended strategy. This is a preferred format by many recruiters in the hospitality industry, as it displays your most crucial information (your hospitality work experience) prominently.

Moreover, the reverse chronological format displays your most relevant and recent experience first, allowing recruiters to easily see your most recent positions and their relevance to the job. The format emphasises starting with the most recent work experience and moving backwards.

Finding the Right File Type 

The file type refers to the format of the document you use to send your CV to a hospitality business or recruitment agency. When applying for a position, the job description may specify a preferred file type. PDF is a widely accepted option as it is easy for ATS software to process.

PDF files are a good choice for preserving the formatting and design of your CV. However, some older ATS systems may not be able to read PDFs. In this case, the employer may request that you submit a .doc file instead.

It is important to carefully read the instructions provided in the job description to ensure you are using the correct file type for your application.

Using a Simple Layout 

Simplicity is often crucial in a hospitality CV, as hiring managers and recruiters often review a large number of applications. An effective way to make your CV easy to read is by using bullet points to highlight your accomplishments.

It is best to avoid using elaborate graphics or excessive formatting that may make your CV appear more impressive but actually make it harder to read and increases the risk of being rejected by the ATS technology. Stick to a simple format, and avoid fancy templates that might be incompatible with ATS systems. 

Utilise Hospitality Keywords

An effective Hospitality CV and cover letter should be customized to meet the specific requirements outlined in the job description. Be sure to search for keywords listed in the job description that the ATS software may be looking for in your application.

The ATS system often focuses on skills that are relevant to the specific role. For example, if the job description specifies that the candidate must be an experienced chef, be sure to include this information on your CV.

It is also beneficial to use plenty of action words in your resume as this emphasises your accomplishments, such as "created" or "solved".

However, it's important to use these keywords in a meaningful context, rather than simply adding them randomly. Keep in mind that a human will still read your CV after it has been scanned by the ATS.

Don’t Apply for Too Many Roles Simultaneously 

ATS technology is designed to identify the most suitable candidate for a role. Therefore, it's important to consider whether you are the right fit for the position you are applying for. If you do not possess the skills specified in the job description, it is unlikely that you will pass the ATS screening.

Additionally, applying for multiple positions within the same company could lead to the ATS system marking your applications as spam.

Even if you pass the initial screening and reach the human review stage with one or two applications, sending too many job applications to the same hospitality recruiter can give the impression that you are desperate for any role, rather than being genuinely interested in the specific position.

Don’t Try to Play the System 

As the use of ATS systems becomes more widespread, there has been a rise in individuals trying to "hack the system" or find ways to outsmart the technology.

While you may come across articles and guides that claim to improve your chances of passing the screening process, attempting to deceive the system is not a long-term solution.

Even if you managed to manipulate the ATS system into forwarding your application to the next stage by simply copying and pasting keywords from the job description into your CV, this strategy would not help you once it is reviewed in person. 

Don’t Just Design for Robots 

Finally, it is important to maintain a balance while making your CV technology-friendly. Avoid spending too much time on optimising it for ATS at the cost of making it easily readable for humans.

Keep in mind that ATS systems are just the initial stage in most recruitment processes, which means that while you should make your hospitality CV ATS-friendly, you should also ensure that it is appropriate for human readers as well.

After editing, review the entire CV carefully to ensure that the content flows naturally and is easy to read.

If you are looking for assistance in finding hospitality and catering jobs, Twentysix Recruitment can help. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, we can guide you in creating an outstanding CV, or assist you in finding suitable job opportunities. You can contact us by email at info@26recruitment.co.uk or by phone at 0333 014 3031. 


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