How to Make Waitressing Sound Good on a Resume



You have a few waitressing jobs under your belt. That's great, but how do you stand out from the crowd?

And how do you spin your waitressing experience not just as a positive thing, but also as a way to add value to your future job?

In this article, I will teach you how to write a resume that not only impresses hiring managers but actually gets you the job you want. Read ahead.

Notice: these tips will work whether you want to continue waitressing or pivot to a different career.

Spice up your resume summary

Your resume summary is a brief paragraph where you summarize your past job experience, skills, and what you want for your next job.

It's almost like an elevator pitch for your career. Simply put, it's a way for you to sell yourself.

If you want to continue waitressing, write a summary focusing on your serving experience:

Summary:
I have over 6 years of experience working in upscale restaurants, helping maintain high serving standards. Experience with POS systems and increasing restaurant profits through careful customer suggestions. Looking forward to helping your establishment become more successful.

If you want to pivot your career into something else, focus on your soft skills while downplaying your serving experience:

Summary:
I have over 6 years of customer service experience, dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis, handling money, and working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment. Looking forward to transferring my skills to your business and help you be more successful.

Mention your waitressing skills

When waitressing, you will build two types of skills: soft skills and hard skills.

Your soft skills are things like your ability to communicate, attention to detail, social skills, hard work, or reliability.

Your hard skills will be practical skills you learn on the job such as dealing with POS systems and cash registers, food regulations, or cooking ability.

Whether you want to leave the industry or stay, both resumes should focus on your soft skills.

Now it's time to create a "Skills" section. Put your skills section right under your resume "Summary":

Skills:

  • Extensive customer service skills
  • Good communication ability
  • Pays attention to details, excellent memory
  • Hardworking and reliable
  • Good salesmanship skills
  • Experience working with POS systems and cash registers
  • Good knowledge of restaurant and food handling regulations
  • … [any other skills you gained through your career]

The first 5 bullets are all soft skills. These are great to have on your resume. The last 2 are serving related.

You only want to focus on your practical waitressing skills(like handling cash registers) if you want to get a job that makes use of those skills.

If you want to pivot away from waitressing, focus on your soft skills, and use them as a trampoline to a different career.

Change your job experience section

After your skills section comes your job experience. This is where you put your professional experiences, ordered chronologically(from latest to oldest).

A mistake many people make in this section is to state the work they did without spicing it up. Here's an example of a boring job description:

Job Experience:

Waitress / Host / Food Handler
Olive Rome - Italian Restaurant (2018 - 2020)

  • Greeted guests in the dining room and presented menus
  • Delivered food and beverages in a fast and responsive way
  • Communicated food orders to kitchen staff
  • Operated equipment such as coffee machines, the telephone, iced tea/soda machines, and fire extinguishers
  • Operated point of sale system
  • Updated social media accounts with menu updates

It's an okay job entry. But it's boring. We could do much better.

Here's the new version with a focus on your waitressing achievements:

Waitress / Host / Food Handler
Olive Rome - Italian Restaurant (2018 - 2020)

  • Averaged daily sales of $1700
  • Upsold customers on additional food items and drinks, increasing dollar sales per table.
  • Easily served group parties of over 20 people
  • Contributed to menu updates based on customer feedback
  • Won the employee of the month award for 5 months
  • Used marketing skills to increase sales by 20% by using the restaurant's social media accounts.
  • Successfully replaced the manager in his absence.

Go into the numbers, talk about your achievements. How did you help the restaurant? Spice things up!

Do you get the point? You don't need to use these specific examples. Use them as inspiration.

Group your waitressing jobs

If you had multiple waitressing jobs, especially jobs you held for small amounts of time, you can group them together.

This is also a perfect resume format for those who want to pivot their careers away from waitressing:

Experience:

Waitress, Host (2015-2020)
Sweet Desserts, Austin, Texas (2019, 2020)
Pancake Factory, NYC, New York (2017, 2018)
Burger King, NYC, New York (2015, 16)
5 years of experience working as a waitress, providing exceptional customer service and helping business run smoothly.

  • … [bullet]
  • … [bullet]

This prevents you from having to repeat yourself, as many waitressing jobs have similar responsibilities.

Your bullets should be responsibilities and achievements that are generic enough they can fit all jobs you grouped.

Put testimonials on your resume

Another way to stand out is to ask your previous managers for testimonials.

You can then embed these testimonials on your resume. Either a testimonial per job entry or a section dedicated to testimonials. Either way will work.

Most people are not doing this, but it's a great way to stand out in a crowded field.

Tailor your resume to your future job

As I wrote previously, you need to tailor your resume to the job you want to get. Want to get out of waitressing? Focus your resume on skills that are portable to other careers.

For instance, if you want to get a call center job, mention how your customer service experience will make you the ideal candidate.

If‌ you want to keep working as a server, mention your practical waitressing skills every chance you get.

Should you put waitressing on your resume?

Absolutely yes! Even if it's not what you want your career to be focused on, it's better to include a waitressing job than having a resume gap.

It shows you can work hard for your goals. Don't remove it.

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