Hospo Voice

How to get a job in hospitality when you have no experience

November 30, 2020

Our tips for landing your first hospo job

So, you’re ready for your first hospo job. Working in hospitality is a great way to start your working life, no matter what career you end up pursuing in the long term.

What if you’ve got your heart set on the fast-paced world of hospitality, but the only coffee you’ve ever served is for your mum? Here are some tips to land that all important first hospo gig.

Work out where you want to work

Your first step is to do your research. If you see a job advertised, make sure you check out the venue on Fair Plate. You’ll get the inside info on what it’s like to work there before you apply, so you don’t waste time trying to get a job somewhere that isn’t above board.

According to Hospo Voice member Belinda Tully, if you’re interested in working in a particular place and they’re not advertising, it’s still worth letting them know.

“Drop in or send them an email saying: ‘Hey I’d love an opportunity to work for you’. I know so many places that haven’t advertised but when an opportunity comes along to train someone new, they say ‘let’s give it a go’.”

How to prepare for your interview and trial

So, you got an interview, amazeballs! Now it’s time to practise as much as you can. If you’re wanting to be a server, try to balance plates and get quicker at clearing the table. You could also practise polishing glasses and cutlery as it will make your trial shift much easier.

This is also the time to find out your rights. Download our new app, Mobilise, to find out how much they should pay you and anything else you need to know about your rights.

If you can, check out the venue before you go. Observe what it’s like to work there and familiarise yourself with the layout as much as possible.  

At your interview

To be successful in hospitality, you need to show good communication and problem-solving skills which you can highlight in the interview.

The manager might ask if you have questions, and it’s a good idea to have a few prepared. Belinda advises starting with a few ‘soft’ questions like “What’s the vibe like with the colleagues?”

Then you should always ask the tough questions about the pay and leave entitlements.

According to Belinda: “There’s nothing worse than finishing your trial shift and finding out they require you to work an extra half hour each day off the books. Or they pay cash in hand and you don’t get your super.”

At your trial

When you’re doing your trial, make sure you tell your colleagues it’s your first ever hospitality shift.

Belinda says honesty is always the best policy as it means colleagues can help you out: “When you tell us it’s your first shift, it changes everything. We know what we’re working with. If you’ve said you’ve got experience, there’s an expectation that you know what you’re doing.”

Although you can be a little unsure with your colleagues, be confident in front of the customers.

“Fake it til you make it is massive in hospitality… If you’re nervous, don’t let the customer see it. If you make a mistake, just say it’s your first day.”

If you didn’t do a great job, don’t panic! Send a text to your manager and admit that it didn’t go to plan. Tell them you’d really appreciate a do-over, if that’s a possibility. Check out this article for more things you should check in your trial shift.

How to survive the first month

So, you’ve aced your trial shift and you’ve got your first few shifts. This time period is crucial because if you don’t do a good job, often you won’t get more shifts.

To make sure you keep getting work, Belinda says you should be as helpful as possible.

“Be a yes man… in a good way. If they say ‘would you be willing to work nights’ and if you can work nights, say yes… Don’t be afraid to try new things.”

Now you’ve got a job, you should join the Hospo Voice union to make sure you’re protected and supported.

Belinda’s final tip? Wear comfy shoes!

“When you start out, your legs hurt for weeks…. It’s not just all the standing, you’re rushing on your feet almost always on concrete.”

Sugar, Spice & hospo advice

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