The restaurant industry offers tons of opportunities for fruitful employment but, smart jobseekers understand that just because there are a lot of open roles doesn’t mean the industry isn’t competitive. To get the job you want, your restaurant server resume must be up to snuff.
Whether you aspire to be a restaurant server, an assistant manager, a general manager, a bartender, or a food runner, when you are looking for work in the hospitality industry, My Perfect Resume’s resume samples and writing tips can teach you to write a resume that will catch the eye of restaurant hiring managers.
There are opportunities for jobseekers of all experience levels in the restaurant industry. The first step is writing a strong resume. Our restaurant server resume sample can show you how.CREATE MY RESUME
More than 75 percent of recruiters and hiring managers use some form of recruiting or applicant tracking software.
Restaurant Server Resume Questions
- How do you highlight soft skills on a restaurant server resume?
Restaurant servers have a difficult job. They are tasked not only with ensuring that the general public gets terrific customer service and a great meal, but they must contend with a host of scenarios on a daily basis that require solid soft skills to manage.
Soft skills, those difficult to measure qualities that make a server great, are highly sought after by employers who know that qualities like strong verbal communication skills, a friendly personality, and the ability to solve problems on the fly can make the difference between a repeat customer and a dining disaster.
To highlight the personality traits that make you an awesome restaurant server, make a list of your top soft skills and place them prominently in your Skills section. Employers know that while it’s relatively easy to teach an employee hard skills, like how to use point-of-sale software, it isn’t always possible to teach skills like communication or conflict resolution.
- What does a good restaurant server resume look like?
While the look of your restaurant server resume counts, it’s the content that’s critical. This is why choosing a resume format that highlights your most sought-after skills is essential to getting the interview.
Again, employers want employees who have a solid mix of hard and soft skills, so study our restaurant server resume sample for ideas on what is critical to include. Once you’ve added in your skills, demonstrating a steady work history is important. If you’ve maintained a solid employment history, choose a chronological resume format to show off your reliability.
However, if you have limited (or no) work experience, don’t worry. The restaurant industry is full of entry-level opportunities for those without experience. If you have never worked in restaurants before, be sure to focus on your transferable skills you gained in other areas of life such as in school, internships or through volunteer work.
Examples of transferable skills restaurant employers like to see include past customer service experience, problem-solving, conflict management, and clear communication skills.
- How should you structure your restaurant server resume?
When organizing your restaurant server resume, the first step is to choose a resume format. There are three main resume formats to choose from but the format recruiters prefer is the chronological format, which clearly shows your work history and career trajectory.
In the chronological format, your work history is listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your current (or most recent) role. If you don’t have any relevant work experience, choosing a functional or hybrid resume format might be a better choice.
Once you’ve decided on a format, you can begin writing your resume using the five major sections. These can be seen in our restaurant server resume example.
To ensure you include the information recruiters look for and that it is easy for them to identify, it’s wise to adhere to these basic sections as you learn how to write a resume. Here are the five sections and an explanation of what belongs in each:
- Header. This is the section contains your name and contact information and should always appear at the top of your resume. In addition, many applicants add a link to their LinkedIn profile or their professional portfolio, if applicable.
- Professional summary. This section should be 3-5 sentences that introduce you to an employer. Use this section to call out one or two of your most relevant skills, or a notable professional achievement. Remember, this section should be about what you have to offer an employer, not about your expectations for your next role.
- Skills. Here, highlight the hard and soft skills that you’ll bring to the job. To decide which skills to include, study the job ad and make a list of the skills it asks for in a candidate. These skills should be listed prominently.
- Work History. List your professional experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. Remember, if you don’t have any work experience, choosing a functional resume format can help put the focus on your transferable skills rather than drawing attention to your lack of experience.
- Education. Even though education isn’t typically required for a restaurant role, if you have a college degree or any special training, list it here. This would include bartending school or training to obtain a food handlers license.
Study our restaurant server resume sample for a roadmap on how to structure your resume.
- What can you do to make your restaurant server resume stand out?
The goal of writing a terrific resume is to make yourself stand out. For the restaurant industry, it’s critical to emphasize your ability to multitask, please customers, and communicate clearly.
Restaurant hiring managers want to see enthusiastic people who are comfortable interacting with the public as potential new hires. If you include the right words and phrases in your resume, you’ll be able to express those qualities.
The best way to show that you are the right person for the role is to make sure to write not only about your experience and transferable hard skills but about your soft skills, as well. Study the job ad to uncover the skills and traits the employer finds most valuable and be sure to emphasize those in your resume.
For example, here is a Professional Summary for a restaurant server resume that would likely capture the attention of a hiring manager:
“Restaurant server with more than five years of experience in fine dining. Three years of extensive wine training allows for recommendations for delightful food pairings during service. Detailed menu knowledge and easy conversation enhance the experience for customers.”
For more ideas on how to make your resume stand out, use our resume builder.
- How do you describe achievements on your restaurant server resume?
Especially for restaurant servers, whose job duties are often very similar from job to job, listing your past responsibilities isn’t going to enough to impress a recruiter. To get an interview for that sought-after job, focus on showing off the impact your work has had in your past roles.
Using metrics and quantifiable achievements in your resume is a great way to accomplish this. Below, we’ve crafted three examples you might use on a restaurant server resume:
- Improved sales by 10 percent year over year thanks to extensive wine training and ability to upsell.
- Average customer satisfaction ratings improved from “good” to “very good” in 2017.
- Served 20 percent more brunches in 2016 thanks to the implementation of a new restaurant mapping system that allows servers to work more efficiently.
For ideas about how to work these sorts of data points into your resume, check out our restaurant server resume sample.
- How do I get my resume past an applicant tracking system?
Research shows that up to 90 percent of employers use some type of applicant tracking system (ATS), which is software designed to rank resumes based on a list of keywords from the job ad. This is why restaurant jobseekers in the know are writing resumes that will get past and ATS and into the hands of a human recruiter.
Studying the job ad is the best way to gather as much information as you can about what the hiring managers deem critical skills and qualities. After all, those jobseekers whose resumes don’t contain the proper keywords won’t have their resumes seen by a human recruiter.
Here’s how to write a resume that is ATS-friendly:
- Study the job ad. Make a list of the critical hard and soft skills and experience it lists. Take note of any special training or certifications required and make sure you have these covered.
- Personalize your resume to the job ad. Examine your list and place these skills and requirements prominently. Do this each time you apply for a new role. It only takes a few minutes but this extra step can greatly improve your chances of getting an interview.
- Mimic the language used in the job ad exactly. It may seem like cheating but lifting words and phrases directly from the job ad can improve your chances of getting noticed. If a job ad lists “strong verbal communications skills” as a requirement, use that language exactly. An ATS can’t interpret nuance – it only searches for the exact words and phrases the hiring manager indicates so repeat them exactly.
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Action Words for Your Restaurant Server Resume
Employers don’t want a long boring list of job duties, especially for restaurant servers who largely all have the same tasks and responsibilities. What employers do want to see are innovative ways of describing what you do and how you do it.
Here are 12 action words you should consider adding to your new restaurant server resume:
Skills for Your Restaurant Server Resume
There are some critical hard and soft skills that employers in the food service industry require of candidates. Study the job ad for skills that are crucial to the specific role. Or, use the 10 great skills for ideas on what to include on your next restaurant server resume:
Consider adding these 9 skills to your next restaurant server resume:
- Attention to detail
- Ability to multitask
- Basic math
- Clear verbal communication
- Conflict resolution
- Customer service experience
- Use of point-of-sale systems
- Positive attitude
- Problem-solving skills
Certifications to Include in Your Restaurant Server Resume
Many professions have licensing and certifications requirements and the hospitality industry is no exception. But what’s the difference? Certifications are an assessment of skills that are learned through a combination of work experience and study, while certificates are earned after the completion of a class or course of study.
When adding certifications to your resume, add them under your Education section or under a header titled, “Certifications” if you have several. Here is one that applicants for restaurant server roles should consider adding to their resume:
Food Handler Training Certificate
Many states require workers in restaurants and other establishments that deal with food prep to obtain a certificate that attests that they have been trained in the safe handling of food. Kitchen staff, bartenders, servers, and even hosts and hostesses are often required to take the training.
If you have a current food handler’s certificate, be sure to list it on your resume as doing so will alert potential employers to the fact that you are ready to get out on the restaurant floor and start working immediately.
For more ideas about how to add certifications and special training to your resume, check out our restaurant server resume sample for inspiration.
Restaurant Server Job Search: Next Steps
You’ve written a terrific restaurant server resume, aced the interview, and have a job offer in hand. Pat yourself on the back and get ready for next steps. Next, we’ll cover how to negotiate the salary you deserve. Follow our tips below to seal the deal.
7 Quick Tips for Negotiating Salary at Your New Job
If the salary you were offered wasn’t in the range that our salary widget recommended, you might want to negotiate a better deal.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It’s always nerve-wracking to negotiate salary but doing so is an investment in your future. Remember that the salary you negotiate now could impact your future salaries, so it’s important to do your homework. Take the time to research the salary range your job title commands in your area. Going into the conversation armed with accurate information will make you feel more comfortable asking for what you want.
2.Don’t be confrontational. Employers expect you to negotiate, but the discussion should never feel argumentative. The tone of your negotiation should always be polite and professional and should rely on data to make your case.
3.Put it in writing. If an employer makes you a lower offer than you were seeking, you’ll need to build a case that you should earn more money. Make a list of the unique skills, professional experience, and other credentials that you bring to the table. Along with these elements, bring in printed copies of published data on the median salary earned by people with your job title in your geographic area. Having evidence in writing will help you to convince your potential employer to pay you what you deserve.
4.Be realistic about expectations. You should have a range in mind that you’ll accept when you are negotiating a salary. The top of the range should represent your ideal salary, while the bottom figure should represent the lowest salary you will accept. Never offer the full salary range you’d be willing to accept out of the gate. First, ask for the salary at the top of your range and negotiate from there.
5.Consider the full package. Salary isn’t everything, especially for restaurant servers whose livelihood largely depends on tips. So, if your hourly wage is lower than you’d hoped, consider other benefits your employer may provide, such as paying 100 percent of your health insurance premiums, discounts on gym membership, or free meals during your shifts. When you add it all up, these perks might make up for a lower wage.
6.Be prepared to walk away. For a variety of reasons, it’s not always possible to come to an agreement on salary. It’s disappointing when an offer falls through but not every restaurant is going to have the budget to pay you what you need. If a potential employer can’t meet your bottom line, you have to walk away. Another role will come your way.
7.Express gratitude, regardless of the outcome. Always thank the recruiter and hiring manager for taking the time to consider you for the role. It’s okay to reject an offer but always do so promptly and gracefully. You never want to burn bridges during a job search.
Time to Build Your Resume
Whether you are new to the restaurant industry or a veteran hospitality worker, the restaurant industry offers many opportunities. The hard part is getting a foot in the door. Getting your first opportunity starts with a resume that showcases your skills and strengths.
You’ve studied our restaurant server resume sample, but you may still feel unsure of how to write a resume. To build great application materials, consider using MyPerfectResume’s professional resume builder to take the pain out of resume writing.
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