How to Get Noticed in the E-Application World


Do you deserve to be top chef?

According to the most recent report from the U.S. Labor Department, “restaurants have been adding an average of 50,000 jobs monthly since April – about double the rate from 2012. Overall, leisure-and-hospitality establishments hired more workers than any other industry in June, accounting for 75,000 of the 195,000 jobs added last month.”

Still, applying for work in a recovering economy is filled with competition. Many people are applying for the same jobs, and searching for jobs can be frustrating and time-consuming. The process for applying has become extremely robotic – literally. In recent years, the job search has also evolved from printed résumés and pounding the pavement to online job boards and one-click applications.

In this digital age, it is easy for applicants to get overlooked, especially since the chance to get a face-to-face meeting with a potential employer is often slim. So how does one rise above the crowd to land the job and earn your dream title, such as top chef?

Here is some advice on how to tweak your online job search:

Narrow your search. Searching for a job is already time-consuming. To eliminate countless hours scrolling through 100,000 or more results on a job posting site, be sure to take advantage of the advanced search tools. Using certain criteria, such as the job-posted date, company, location, employment type, and salary, you are able to narrow your focus and find a position that matches your qualifications.

Make sure your résumé is filled with buzzwords. Applicant tracking systems usually screen for keywords pulled from the job listing. For example, an administrative assistant’s job description may include “answer and route all incoming calls to internal staff” or “provide clerical and data-entry support to internal staff.” Not only should you possess these skills, but the skills should be reflected on your résumé.

Each application should be unique. No two jobs or restaurants are alike. It is essential to customize your résumé for each job to which you apply. This step helps demonstrate that you would be a great fit for the job. It is also important because most online job applications are screened by an application tracking system, which searches for words or phrases that match the job description. A general rule of thumb: take a look at the qualifications for each job posting and integrate these words into your résumé.

It’s not personal. Do not feel offended or discouraged if you do not hear back from most employers. Restaurant managers, owners, operators, and other decision-makers understand that the application process is tumultuous and headache-inducing, but there are just too many applications to sort through to give every candidate a personal call. This is a fact of life in the modern-day job search, and it should not be taken as a personal insult. If you don’t hear back, it is likely your application did not get picked up by a tracking system, or the job was simply given to somebody more qualified.

As you continue to apply for more jobs and become more accustomed to the online job search and application process, you will discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Don't get discouraged, and remember to remain confident. There is a job out there for you in the restaurant industry!

Patrice Rice

Patrice Rice is the president, founder, and CEO of Patrice & Associates. As the preeminent hospitality recruiting service in the United States since 1989, Patrice & Associates helps thousands of managerial candidates every year find rewarding jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry. To learn more, visit

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