Your “Personal Brand” and the Job Search

Many thanks to Consuela Hooblal for co-authoring this write-up and for inviting me to participate on the panel that is summarized below.

Last month, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Greater New York Chapter Collegiate Relations Committee and USA TODAY co-sponsored a seminar geared towards HSMAI collegiate chapter members as well as students engaged in hospitality-focused marketing programs at local area colleges and universities.  The panel was comprised of two hospitality veterans – Joe Radice, President of executive search firm Hospitality International, and Rose Genovese, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Denihan Hospitality Group – as well as two past HSMAI Collegiate Chapter Presidents – Matthew Gomberg, former NYU Chapter President and current Assistant Director of Human Resources at Ritz Carlton Central Park, and Greg Bodenlos, former Cornell University Chapter President and current Digital Marketing Specialist at The Mark. Each of the panelists offered their own personal insights into the best pragmatic ways for rising and graduating seniors alike to position themselves optimally for entry into the hospitality industry full-time.

The panel was moderated by Cornell University graduate and current Expedia Market Manager, Debra Stock, who elicited an assortment of responses from the participants about recommended preparation for an interview, examples of outstanding student applicants and the biggest mistakes made when looking for or interviewing for a job. A portion of the panel discussion centered on how to secure and make the most out of your internships leading up to the full-time. Furthermore, how to manage and optimize your own personal brand – through strengthening your online profiles and portfolio with social media – was discussed at length. Finally, audience members learned what executive search firms look for in candidates and gained feedback from each of the panelists on how to best harness youthful energy and ideas into a positive interview experience.

The attendee evaluation survey that was distributed post-event showed that attendees unanimously found each of the panelists provided clear, actionable guidance on how to better manage your personal brand and received insights from the panel that they weren’t previously privy to or had awareness of. Key session takeaways identified by the attendees specifically involved the interview, including:

  • Come prepared. Know your job before going to the interview and ask questions accordingly. You as the interviewee have to be very clear on what you will be doing in your role before moving forward in order to manage expectations.
  • Passion is the key. Hiring managers look for talent who can shine during the interview and “off of the resume”. In the same vein, as prospective too seek the company that are excited about the role(s) they are hiring for.
  • It’s a two-way street. During the interview, make sure you as the interviewee ask the questions that help you decide whether or not the company culture, work expectations, etc. are going to be a good match for the job you are looking to own.

In sum, the evening was extremely well-received by all the students, panelists and faculty attendees and will become a bi-annual HSMAI Greater New York Chapter event.


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