JWU Careers: How to Stand Out in the Food Service Job Market

 Food service and hospitality students meeting employers at this year’s Career Fair.

Scenes from the 2015 Food Service and Hospitality Career Fair.

More than 1,500 employers visit JWU campuses each year, including career fairs and events geared to specific majors.

At the most recent Food Service & Hospitality Career Fair, the floor of the Harborside Athletic Complex was standing room only as thousands of students practiced their elevator speeches, swapped business cards and connected with their dream companies.

Career fairs are one of the single best ways to network, research the industry marketplace and solidify connections with employers — and JWU’s are no exception.

Top Employers: Why We Hire JWU Grads
We asked top recruiters from Eataly, Dinex Group (Daniel Boulud), Shake Shack and Momofuku to tell us why JWU graduates stand apart in the job market — and why they, as employers, make it a priority to return to JWU year after year.

“Holistic View of the Industry”
Cleo Clarke '96, Eataly executive director of HR: “Students that we have found from JWU have a pretty holistic view of the industry. It’s pretty interesting to get these students when they come out, they have knowledge and skills that some of the competing schools don’t really give students.”

We really don’t care about pedigree. [We look for] an attitude, a hungriness.” Leslie Ferrier, Momofuku

Cynthia Billeaud, Dinex Group HR director: “We have many representatives of JWU alumni in our company. Most of them have been moving up the ranks and … are well-represented as executive chefs in our restaurants. I would definitely take the example of Ed Scarpone of DBGB DC, which is a property we opened about a year ago.”

(Not yet 30, Scarpone has worked with Daniel Boulud’s group for more than 6 years. Read all about his recent visit to JWU Charlotte as a Distinguished Visiting Chef.)

Amy Green, Shake Shack Northeast HR director: “We’ve had a great experience with JWU alumni. I’m currently employing 3 in the Northeast region that I met at the Career Fair here, and they’ve been fantastic. I’ve been really excited to have them on my management team, and I look forward to having many more!”

Leslie Ferrier '90, Momofuku HR vice president: “I absolutely look first to JWU students. I know the education here, I love the school. I had a fantastic time at JWU when I was here.

“I know that when you come out of JWU you know how to do something. You’re not just educated from an academic standpoint, but you have hands-on training, you have a comfort level — not just within the kitchen, but within any area or division in which you’ve chosen to study, you have some hands-on experience.

“JWU really creates this workforce that knows how to work, is passionate about it, and really develops those passions within individuals to go into the real world and make a contribution relatively quickly.”

How to Create a Good First Impression
Recruiters place a premium on finding candidates that are a good cultural fit for their company. Here they tell us about the qualities that can catapult a candidate from a job seeker to a new hire.

We’ve had great experiences with JWU alumni. I currently employ 3 in the Northeast.” Amy Green, Shake Shack

Leslie Ferrier, Momofuku: “We really don’t care about pedigree. We don’t care what you look like on paper, what great schools you went to, or the education or anything like that behind you. At the recruitment fair today, you’re probably going to find the same thing that they’re looking for: an attitude, a hungriness, a wanting to learn, a wanting to make a contribution – and really leaving the ego, and any sense of entitlement — at the door. That’s huge for all of us.”

Cleo Clarke, Eataly: “One of the most important thing for us is students or graduates who are hands-on and practical. They have to be able to jump in, and understand — from A-Z — how to run an operation.”

Amy Green, Shake Shack: “We look for people who we consider to be 51-percenters. And those are candidates who possess certain personality traits that we find to be the most conducive to, and fit in best with, our culture. Some of those traits are: warm and caring personality, integrity, a strong work ethic, and empathy.”

Looking for more career wisdom from recruiters? The School of Online & Continuing Education’s Career Catalyst blog asked HR pros for their top advice on how to land your dream job.

Looking to brush up on your career-ready skills? Get in touch with JWU Experiential Education & Career Services at your chosen campus, or follow them on Twitter.

The Momofuku table at the career fair.

The Momofuku table at the 2015 JU Providence Career Fair

Topics: Careers Providence Internships