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How to Beef Up Your Restaurant Resume: 4 Ways to an Interview

Posted by Andrew Carlson on 2/20/17 1:00 PM in Restaurant Training & Hiring

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Resumes are a dime a dozen. Restaurants are flooded with them, and the truth is most restaurant managers will spend at most 30 seconds looking at them. When I speak to my colleagues about restaurant resumes, they all say they can get an understanding of who you are within 10-15 seconds.

At the end of the day, restaurant professionals - like all of us - are busy. The best way to learn about someone is to call them in for an interview. That’s where you can really dive in and figure out how someone handles different situations. 

But your resume is the most important tool to get you into that interview – once you get in, it’s all on your ability to sell yourself to the restaurant manager & operations team. 

Since resumes are so important, let’s go over 4 different ways you can beef up your restaurant resume, and what restaurant owners will look for when reviewing them.

1. Condense All Positions Within the Same Company Together

When I was applying for jobs, I had three years with the same company where I moved up from an entry-level position all the way to a management title. When I filled out my resume, I had a five-month period with one title, a seven-month period with another, and then a thirs title for the remaining two years.

They all had additional skills that I learned and was able to apply to my resume, but when a restaurant executive or Director of Operations looked at my resume, I never received a call back. I was incredibly frustrated! I had amazing experience – why wasn’t I getting called in for an interview?

Well, it was because they saw me as a job hopper because they just seaw different sections. What they weren't seeing was that I had loyalty to a single company for three years.

Always condense all of your positions with the same company into the same line using a “/” to separate the different titles.

2. List the Responsibilities You Had & Use Enhancing Verbiage

Another trick - you should list every responsibility that you had while working that job. If you had to handle cash, put “handles cash effectively” so that the person in charge of hiring is confident in your cash handling abilities.

Remember, this isn’t the place to copy/paste the job description. That would be silly and dry. What you want to do is to highlight the most beneficial things that you did while in that position.

If you worked with a POS system, what about the POS system is the most beneficial? Having experience with different systems is great but being proficient with multiple POS systems will make you stand out more.

3. Ditch the Resume Objective & Replace with a Resume Summary

What is the reason why you are wanting to join the company? If it’s a copy/paste that says something like “I want to grow with a company that has upward mobility” – that resume is going directly into the file folder.

Why? 

There was zero thought in writing that, because you probably listed that on every resume and then printed out 20-30 copies. It’s more beneficial for you to leave the objective off of your resume.

Instead, replace the objective with a resume summary. What are your most impactful selling points of why you stand out – what’s in it for the restaurant? When you can clearly say why you’re the best person for the job and these are the main selling points, you’re going to be further ahead than most because they are thinking, “what’s in it for me (as the applicant)?”

4. List Your Accomplishments with Data

The last thing that will beef up your resume is if you list three or four major accomplishments that are selling points of how you have impacted the companies that you’ve worked for.

Have you lowered Labor & COGS? If yes, by how much? If you can show that you have a proven history of keeping labor costs below 20%, that’s a major accomplishment and will excite any restaurant manager.

Have you increased sales by 15% within the year as a manager? Have you been in the top performer in sales contests as a server?

List these accomplishments and have data to back it up.

Final Tip: Don’t lie, because when the potential employer calls up your previous employers, they will ask!

Writing Your Restaurant Resume

A resume is your calling card and is what will get your foot in the door. Before you print out anymore resumes, make sure to look over these tips and improve your resume so you can land that dream job!

Happy Hunting!

What are your restaurant resume tips? Share your advice in the comments below!

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Written by: Andrew Carlson

Andrew Carlson knows the hospitality business. He has experience from the front line to the front office and knows what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive industry. His work includes programs to ensure exceptional customer service to creating unforgettable experiences. Andrew Carlson is on a mission to change customer service in restaurants and bars across America. He is a speaker, coach, and the author of “Customer Service Is The Bottom Line."


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