Transferable Skills in Food Service Might Qualify You for Other Roles

Dayle Kavonic
By Dayle Kavonic, Career Advice Expert
Food Service

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Food Service is among the industries that’s been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Department of Labor data indicates more than 700,000 jobs were lost in this country in March alone, with a staggering 60 percent of those losses suffered by restaurant-industry workers. Many restaurants have closed for business altogether, while others are filling takeout and delivery orders using a skeleton crew.

If you’re one of the workers who has lost your job, fear not. This might not be a bad time to look for a new role. In fact, your experience in the food and beverage industry has armed you with some highly transferable skills that can get you quickly hired elsewhere.

Below, we offer some food for thought on how to write a resume that highlights your experience and articulates your skills and qualifications in a way that will get you noticed by employers in other industries.

Transferable skills and training to emphasize on your resume

No matter if you greeted guests as a host, waited tables, tended bar or were the head chef, your experience working in the food and beverage industry equipped you with talents you can take with you to other types of jobs, commonly called transferable skills.

Employers in other industries want workers with the skills you have, which can be broken down into hard skills, technical skills and soft skills. Hard and technical skills are hands-on, often industry-specific abilities, while soft skills represent the interpersonal know-how you need to navigate the social sides of your job.

Below are lists of hard, technical and soft skills that are likely picked up from a career in food and beverage services. If you possess any of these, consider including them on your next resume:

Hard and technical skills: Hard skills include managing workers, scheduling employees, creating recipes, managing inventory. Technical skills include experience using point-of-sale (POS) software experience, strong math skills

Soft skills: Teamwork, customer service, flexibility, resolving conflict, empathy

Certifications and training: Certified Food & Beverage Executive (CFBE), ServSafe Food Handler Certification, ManageFirst Professional

Education: Most roles in food and beverage don’t require a degree, though a bachelor’s is preferred for some management roles. If you do have a degree, mention it on your resume. If not, list your high school information in this section. If you are a chef and you attended culinary school, list it under education. Certificates in food and beverage management, brewing and distilling should be listed under a separate heading.

Pro Tip: Find out how professionals in food service and other important industries highlight their skills, abilities, and education by reviewing our expert-written resume examples.

These industries are hiring people with your skills

If you were front of house, including bartenders, servers, hosts/ hostesses, you might be qualified for these other positions:

  • Sales associate (for example, at an essential retail store like Target)
  • Stocker (for example, at an essential retail store like Whole Foods)
  • Server (for example, at a nursing home)
  • Driver (for example, for a food delivery service like DoorDash)
  • Warehouse associate (for example, for an online retailer like
  • Cashier (for example, at a hospital cafeteria)
  • Barista (for example, at Dunkin’ Donuts)

If you were in food service, including counter attendants, cashiers, barbacks, bussers you might be qualified for these other positions:

  • Cashier (for example, at an essential retail store, like Trader Joe’s)
  • Stocker (for example, at an essential retail store, like Costco)
  • Sales associate (for example, at a drugstore, like Walgreens)
  • Server (for example, at a nursing home)
  • Driver (for example, for a food delivery service like Postmates)
  • Warehouse associate (for example, at an essential retail store like Lowes)

If you were kitchen staff, including dishwashers, food runners, you might be qualified for these other positions:

  • Dishwasher (for example, at a nursing home)
  • Cashier (for example, at a takeout restaurant)
  • Server (for example, at a hospital cafeteria)

If you were cooking staff, including cooks, line cooks, chefs, head chefs, sous chefs, short order cooks, bakers, you might be qualified for these other positions:

  • Cook (for example, at a restaurant offering takeout, like Papa John’s)
  • Server (for example, at a nursing home)
  • Prep chef (for example, for a food delivery service, like HelloFresh)

If you were management, including restaurant manager, restaurant assistant manager, shift manager, you might be qualified for these other positions:

  • Retail manager (for example, at an essential retail store like Albertsons)
  • Restaurant manager (for example, at a restaurant offering takeout like Chili’s)

How to apply for these roles and what you’ll need

If you are applying in-person, you’ll need a current email address and phone number; a resume, and identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

If you are applying online, you’ll need a current email address and phone number; a current resume; and a brief cover letter explaining what you’ll bring to the table.

Pro Tip: Wether your applying online or in-person, a well-organized and attractive resume template will grab the recruiter’s attention. 

How to find these jobs in your community

How to create a resume that will capture an employers’ attention

While businesses that are hiring during a crisis may be more lenient about aspects of the hiring process, you’ll likely need a resume if you are applying for multiple roles. Our resume builder makes it easy to update your resume when you start to apply to jobs and then customize it for each role. This is especially important for those applying for roles outside the food and beverage industry.

Study the job ad and take note of the critical skills and qualifications listed there. Then, update your resume to highlight those skills that you possess. This is where transferable skills become important. You want to be able to show that while you may not have direct experience working in retail, for example, that you have the skills required to perform the work, including the customer service, point-of-sale and multitasking skills you cultivated in your food and beverage role.

Sometimes, you may need to include a cover letter, too. When applying to positions like the ones listed above, make sure your cover letter is concise and focused. Only a few brief paragraphs should be necessary to communicate why you’re uniquely qualified for the job. Here, be sure to highlight and particularly impressive professional accomplishments to pack a punch.

Text resume example: A bartender applying for a barista role

Name: Samuel Bigley
Address: Newark, NJ 07112
Phone: (555) 555-5555

Professional Summary

Experienced bartender with a history of working across various environments, from upscale restaurants to dive bars. Looking to use my experience in beverage preparation in a barista role. Excellent multitasker always ready to support team needs.

Summary of Skills

  • Excellent at memorizing over 100 drink recipes.
  • Service-oriented team player with ability to handle fast-paced environments.
  • Independently solve routine customer issues to promote bar loyalty.

Key Skills

  • Inventory management
  • Customer service
  • Menu/recipe memorization
  • Attending multiple customers
  • Cash register operation
  • Ordering procedures

Work History

Ivan’s Sportsbar
Newark, NJ
July 2018 to March 2020

  • Poured and prepared mixed drinks for over 70 customers daily and created new libations drawing in clientele.
  • Developed unique drink and cocktail offerings on a monthly basis as part of seasonal offerings.
  • Handled $3,000 in cash on a daily basis, which built trustworthiness and loyalty with owners.

Hawkin’s Bar & Grill
Newark, NJ
November 2016 to June 2018

  • Received over 50 orders nightly from wait staff and delivered alcoholic beverages to guests while keeping up with bar orders.
  • Kept accurate inventories and notified management of ordering needs for liquor, beer, wine and bar supplies.
  • Closed out cash register with 100% accuracy and prepared cashier report.

Sol-Mar Restaurant
Newark, NJ
July 2014 to October 2016

  • Helped customers place orders, explained menu items and suggested appropriate options for food allergy concerns.
  • Replenished food items and other supplies, which included paper products and canned goods to keep the pantry well-stocked during busy periods.
  • Worked with the POS system to place orders, manage bills and handle complimentary items for dissatisfied customers.

Education & Training

Bartending Program, September, 2016
Bar Academy 101 – Newark, NJ

High School Diploma, June, 2014
East Side High School Newark, NJ

My Perfect Resume Builder example: A bartender applying for a barista role

resume for a bartender applying for a barista role

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