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Have you ever wished you could spend a couple hours with a casino manager, restaurant general manager, or hotel director? Well, last weekend I went to a conference. In the evening I found a few hours to curl up on the edge of a lake and destress. While I was lulled by the waves lapping against the shore a gentleman took the chair beside, settled his drink in the grass, and leaned back with a sigh.

At first I was disappointed that my tranquility was disturbed, until I saw the leather bound portfolio open on his lap. Emblazed on the top of the ivory paper’s report was the logo of a large casino.   My desire for a quiet evening was replaced by the ‘career coach’ who wrote for the recruitment firm, gecko hospitality. Here was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

I politely bantered for a minute to find out whether his work was pressing, or he would enjoy a diversion. After a few minutes he smiled and put the reports down and picked up his drink. Especially when he found a sympathetic ear to listen to him complain about his job.

Casino Executive

My new colleague was an executive manager at a local casino, but the jackpot was learning that he had worked his way up from cook, to restaurant manager, to restaurant owner, executive in a large restaurant, floor manager at the casino, and then working up to the second highest position in the current casino.

He was one of a dying breed who successfully moved up the ladder without a BA in organizational behavior, business management, or BS in business. It is getting harder to ‘fast track’ your career without a university education, but it is still possible.

He did admit that he would take a person with experience over a college education, but he said that ‘self taught’ people really learn slow, and they don’t invest time in their ‘career capital’. He has been impressed by a resume, and booked a job interview, only to be disappointed when he asked them what courses, conferences, books, or networking they have done.

In his day it was expected that management candidates would upgrade their skills in their own time, using their own money. Today, restaurant and casino candidates want the restaurant to pay for their education, and to let them do the work on company time. In many cases, it is more fiscally responsible to hire candidates who are already educated.

As a coach who encourages clients to keep moving up their career ladder regardless of their education I found this very interesting, alarming, and true.

I have often encouraged candidates to upgrade their education, network, and ‘life the life.’ If you want a restaurant to take you seriously then you need to live the life of a restaurant manager. Attend the right conferences. Subscribe to industry magazines. Join industry associations. And, take the courses.

He thought this was a good idea, but added a couple more points that I had taught, but didn’t focus on. When writing a resume it is important to outline how you can save the company money, or increase profits.

Casino Manager Resume

My new colleague had known this, but never thought of it in this light. He did admit that he does get bored reading resumes that list jobs, and nothing more. He is looking for that resume that outlines something he needs.

I asked him about portfolios. He admitted that they are great ideas, but he had never seen one.  Laughingly he did stress the point that it is very important to hide all ‘hints’ of where the report template you made, the employee handbook, or project management plan was created for. He said that if you would share secrets from another casino to impress him, then you would take his secrets and use them to land your next job.

I agreed, and we talked about what people think is right, or are their rights, and perceptions of the HR professional sitting across the table. We both agreed that more job interviews are lost by qualified candidates because they didn’t understand the job interviewer’s perceptions.  Simple mistakes can stall the best career.

It was a good evening chat. I thanked him, and then headed home to share this information with my readers while it was still fresh in my mind.


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