6 Tips for Serving Up a Winning Restaurant Resume

Perhaps you’re between jobs, or maybe you’re a college student on vacation for the summer. Regardless of the reason, if you want to make quick cash in a field that doesn’t require tough technical skills, the restaurant industry is a great option.

But hold on. Just because you don’t need a degree to get a job in the restaurant industry doesn’t mean that employers are going serve up job offers on a silver platter. Restaurant work has a specific set of skills, and to land the job you want, you’ll need a resume that is specifically tailored to highlight your relevant experience.

Read on for a few tips that will help you write an engaging restaurant resume.

  1. Read the job description. You may think that jobs with the same title at different restaurants involve similar duties, but this is not always the case. While some servers are only expected to attend to customers with a friendly attitude, others are expected to perform additional duties as well, such as carrying multiple plates, setting tables, and creating beverages or espresso drinks. Ensure that you are qualified for the job by reading the description thoroughly, and then address each of the duties in your resume. On another note, you can also glean the skills necessary for the job through the description, and write about the experiences that demonstrate them in your resume.
  1. Keep it short and sweet. The employers who come across your resume have probably read a dozen already, and may have to read a dozen more. This is not the time to write a two-page resume with all the work experience you’ve ever had, or to show off your fancy SAT and college vocabulary. Only describe your relevant experience, and keep the descriptions short and to the point. If the fit is right, you don’t have to highlight every single experience you’ve had. A few relevant experiences should do. As Glassdoor staff writer Emily Moore advises, “A good rule of thumb is keeping your resume long enough to convey all of the important details, but short enough to maintain a recruiter’s interest.” If you hand over a resume that is too long, the hiring manager may simply gloss it over.
  1. Infuse your resume with detail. Just because your resume should be concise, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add details. One way to do this is to add numbers wherever possible. For example, if you had the highest sales of any server at your last restaurant job, use that data. Or, if you were tapped to perform duties beyond the scope of your bartending job – say, managing scheduling for other employees, list those as well. These details prove your past successes and show adaptability, a soft skill that is highly valued in the restaurant industry.
  1. Write about relevant experiences. Sure, you may have an extensive background in finance or curated a 50-page analysis of deception in Shakespeare’s plays. Though impressive, these accomplishments won’t translate to doing well in the restaurant industry. Instead, highlight relevant skills and experiences. Prior restaurant positions, whether they involve serving, cooking, or managing, should be front and center on your resume. Other roles that require customer service skills – a job at a call center or retail store, for example – are just as demonstrative. Make sure that you focus on the hard and soft skills needed for the job, such as customer service, organization, and the ability to multitask.
  1. No experience? No problem. Even if you have no restaurant or retail experience, you can still snag a restaurant job. You just have to think outside the box. Hone in on the skills necessary for a restaurant job, some of which include customer service, management, and communication. Think about what experiences you’ve had that require these critical skills. If you have experience babysitting or tutoring, both involve organization and customer service capabilities, which look great on a restaurant resume. Also, “Think about whether your coursework could be considered work experience,” Forbes’ senior editor Susan Adams suggests. For example, if you’ve worked in a laboratory, you’ve likely handled potentially hazardous chemicals and complex procedures. By listing this on your resume as if it were a job, you can emphasize your attention to detail and ability to follow procedure closely, skills that are also useful in the restaurant industry.
  1. Use a Pro. Overwhelmed by the idea of writing a resume? LiveCareer can help. Our Resume Builder allows you to generate a resume in three very simple steps. You can also access resume templates for a wide variety of restaurant industry jobs, including waiter and hostess jobs, via our Templates section. Best of luck!