waiter typing resume

How To Write A Killer Server Resume (That Actually Gets You Jobs)

Writing a resume is a pain.

Nobody likes doing it, but the good news is once you have a good one you only need to make minor tweaks and you are set.

So, if you are looking for a waiter or waitress job, it is crucial that you showcase your skills and experience serving tables in a way that really stands out from the crowd.

Here Are 5 Ways To Write A Killer Serving Resume

1) Have numbers to back up your claims

Restaurants (and employers in general) like concrete details.

Anybody can say “I have 3 years experience serving tables and I am great with people.”

That’s fine, but compare that claim to this…

“I have 3 years experience working as a professional waitress. Last year I sold $275,457.48 dollars worth of food/beverage and my average check size was $67.68. I usually average between 18-20 percent tips and I am great with people.”

Wow!

See the difference?

Numbers make it real and concrete. It makes you stand out and actually shows what you have accomplished.

But where do I get these stats?

Easy.

Just ask your manager for a printout of your sales etc for the last year. You should be getting something like this every year for tax purposes anyway – so use the data to your advantage!

There are all sorts of cool stats you can find that will really help you stand out and get noticed.

Use this data to your advantage – nobody else is.

2) Showcase your wine and food knowledge

This is where the money is.

If you are trying to get a job at a nice restaurant – like semi-fine dining or fine dining (which is the only type of place you can make real money) – make sure to showcase your familiarity with wine and high-quality food.

For example:

“I am very comfortable recommending and pairing wines with dishes for guests. I have tasted many varietals and am educated on the correct terminology for describing wines (nose, tannin, dry, etc).”

If you don’t have any of this knowledge…GOOGLE IT!

It is really not that difficult and it is basically a pre-requisite if you want to work in a more formal (more money) type of restaurant.

It is also very helpful to make a little cheat sheet with basic descriptions of different types of wines to keep in your server book as well. It makes you more comfortable and will accelerate your knowledge.

3) Showcase your sales skills

Any waiter or waitress knows that serving tables is a sales job as much as anything else.

This is a great opportunity to mention any sales contests you may have won – or better yet use some of that awesome data from your manager to show EXACTLY what you have sold.

Many of these server reports will break down appetizers, desserts, and specials sales.

Imagine a potential employer seeing this on your resume:

“Last year I sold $67,058.32 dollars worth of appetizers and desserts. The average for all the other servers at my restaurant was $47,347.”

See?

Instead of just telling the hiring manager “I am great at sales” you are actually proving it.

What if your not great at sales?

Easy!

Just put the number of your sales and leave it at that….it still sounds great!

“Last year I sold $47,347 worth of appetizers and desserts alone.”

Boom.

No need to say what others sold or how you stacked up – just tell them the number!

It sounds a hell of a lot better than “I am good at sales.”

4) Use power words for momentum and depth

Power words (action words) are an easy way to add some energy and authority into your serving resume (or any resume for that matter).

Instead of saying something like, “I made the server schedules”.

Try saying, “I coordinated and executed weekly schedules for a front of house staff of 24 waiters and waitresses while also managing time off requests and growing the corporate twitter account.”

Which one has more energy?

Commands more respect?

Makes you FEEL something when you read it?

Power words are…well…POWERFUL!

A quick Google search for “resume power words” or “resume action words” will give you more options than you’ill know what to do with.

Here are a few more tailored to the restaurant industry:

  • Coordinated – coordinated ticket times with executive chef
  • Managed – managed multiple tables and guest interactions
  • Executed – executed an annoying guest (kidding)
  • Delivered – delivered 5-star quality dining experiences
  • Implemented – implemented new training schedules
  • Ensured – ensured guest satisfaction accross multiple parties
  • Delegated – delegated critical tasks to expos and bussers
  • Maintained – maintained a professional attitude in high-pressure situations
  • Spearheaded – spearheaded a team of 17 restaurant professionals
  • Lead – lead daily pre-shift team meetings
  • Trained – trained dozens of waiters and waitresses in essential serving skills

See how easy it is?

Take a look at your own resume and see what words and phrases you can replace with some of the above and notice the difference it makes.

5) Showcase your leadership abilities for maximum effect

Ever lead a team meeting?

Trained somebody?

Are you the lead server or captain?

Highlight any and all leadership you have done at your current restaurant.

When a manager is considering a potential candidate there is one BIG question running through their mind…

“Is this person going to create more work for me?”

Think about that…

Why would a manager hire somebody they thought they were going to have to babysit or that was not going to have enough leadership and gusto to handle things themselves?

They wouldn’t!

Make sure you destroy this thought in their head before they even get a chance to meet you.

Highlight ANY leadership qualities or skills you have early on in your resume – even better if you can put some of that data we were talking about before into it.

Here is an example:

“Lead and trained a front of house staff of 12 while ensuring a 5-star dining experience for guests and selling over $79,000 dollars worth of food/beverage in the last 6 months.”

Booyah!

See how the numbers back up your ability and give you credibility?

Lets do a little before and after – just to drive the point home.

Version 1 (bad): “Trained new servers on using restaurant computers to input orders.”

Terrible.

Version 2 (good): “Rigorously trained and tested new hires on advanced Point-Of-Sale computer systems to ensure proficiency and accuracy of order inputs. I also instructed new servers on running end of day sales reports and calculating tip percentages, labor, and over time metrics.”

Bam!

Now you sound like a freaking scientist!

Conclusion

By adding the elements discussed above into your serving resume you will greatly increase your chances of landing interviews and better severing jobs. It is important to think about the entire process from the POINT OF VIEW OF THE PERSON DOING THE HIRING.

As a quick recap, here are the 5 ways you can really make your resume stand out:

  • Have numbers to back up your claims
  • Showcase your wine and food knowledge
  • Showcase your sales skills
  • Use power words (action words)
  • Showcase your leadership abilities

There you have it!

Give your resume a look and make sure to add these elements in – you will be amazed at the difference.

7 Comments

  • Richard

    May 6, 2014

    Hey Blair! What an amazing post! I considered myself
    to be very experienced in resume writing and even I hadn’t thought of most of what you covered! Keep up
    The great work!

  • StuckServing

    May 6, 2014

    Hey Richard,

    Thanks a lot! Glad you enjoyed. You really can make something even very basic sound much better with just a little re-wording – going to be attaching an example resume of mine in a day or so and updating the post so that everybody has an example they can use as well!

    We still need to get on a Google Hangout or something soon – sorry I have been such a space cadet on that one! How is everything going?

  • Candra

    May 25, 2014

    Thank you so much for this! I”m currently still at my first serving job at a casual dining restaurant but want to make the move into fine dining when I relocate to a bigger city here in a couple of months and have never to write a “real-world” resume. I would have never thought to include sales numbers!

  • Candra

    May 25, 2014

    never had*

  • obed asamoah

    June 7, 2014

    this is great thanks so much but how do i make my customer happy?Interms of wine why do red wine good for meat and white for fish.I once went for an interview and i was asked this,i waz really short of words and dont know what to say.i also want to know the word use for preparation before service and where it is coing from also send me some resume structure so that i can study and prepare mine.i am 9yrs in the industry and want to be great and want to knw the dos and dont in the industry.pls send to my facebook obabedschwarze thank u

  • Smithg201

    September 2, 2014

    Hi. Only wanted to ask a quick issue. Now i am gbkgbaecfdbdafkd

  • Lauren

    December 13, 2014

    Hi, this was very interesting and helpful.I just have one issue.I do not have ANY idea what my sales were at any restaurant.It has been quite a while since my last serving job.My desperation is at an extreme high right now so any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you

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