With a wide range of positions, the restaurant industry can be an attractive option at any point in a jobseeker’s career, regardless of their long-term aspirations. Unfortunately, breaking into any new industry can be intimidating, so we’ve got what you’d need to get started: tips and tricks for crafting an entry-level restaurant resume that’ll grab any general manager’s attention.
Despite a relatively low national median wage of $10.01 per hour (roughly $20,820 per year), the U.S. Department of Labor projects a seven percent growth in “waiter/waitress” jobs between now and 2026.
While the industry’s high turnover rates suggest that getting your first job in a restaurant role shouldn’t prove to be too tough, landing the most desirable roles will require a standout resume.
Restaurant Job Titles to Consider
Being a restaurant server isn’t the only job to apply for in a restaurant. Every restaurant is different; some hire bartenders, delivery drivers, cashiers, and groups of line cooks, while others hire for host and hostess positions and dishwashers.
Below you’ll find a list of job titles and the corresponding duties that you may find when looking for work in restaurants:
Servers are primarily responsible for interacting directly with guests while they’re dining. They make sure customers’ needs are met, and complete other miscellaneous tasks, such as restocking items, marrying bottles of ketchup, and other side work. Aside from management, servers often earn the most income of all food service workers due to the potentially high volume of customers and subsequent cash and credit card tips.
Other restaurant server duties can include:
- recording food and beverage orders
- delivering food and drinks to customers
- processing payments
- helping to clean and reset tables after customers have left the area
To write your resume, use our restaurant serve resume examples.
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As the name implies, dishwashers are responsible for the en masse cleaning of soiled plates, utensils, condiment containers, miscellaneous kitchenware, and other important restaurant elements. The pace of work largely depends on the volume of food ordered by customers, though the number of dishwashing staff and the effectiveness of the dishwashing equipment are also important factors.
Dishwashing is a common entry-level job in the restaurant industry, as these positions are seen as less glamorous, and by extension less sought-after, than most other front-of-house or back-of-house opportunities.
To write your own standout resume, use our dishwasher resume sample as a guide.
Hosts and hostesses are the first faces customers see upon entering a restaurant and are generally expected to greet guests with a smile and information on wait time.
Hosts and hostesses then decide where to seat the party and provide them with at least one menu per person. Once seated, most customer request will be directed to and fulfilled by, the table’s server.
To get the job you want, use our host/ hostess resume example for inspiration.
In restaurants, much like in any other business, it’s a manager’s job to oversee operations and keep things running smoothly. This can include overseeing the hiring process, creating weekly work schedules, taking stock and ordering inventory, among many other administrative duties.
In a busy enough restaurant, it’s not uncommon to see a manager assisting their staff by bussing tables, processing payments, or greeting and seating guests. In the case of customer complaints or other conflicts in a dining area, it’s ultimately a manager’s responsibility to ensure the issue is resolved quickly so that guests leave happy.
To land the job you are looking for, use our general manager resume example for more ideas.
Perhaps the most common entry-level restaurant role, bussers are mainly responsible for clearing tables of any dirty dishes that remain when guests have finished eating or clearing away unwanted items during a meal.
In addition to gathering all dirty plates, cups, and silverware in their assigned sections, bussers also wipe tables clean and often reset the table for more diners. Finally, it’s a busser’s job to make periodic trips to the kitchen to deliver dirty dishes to the dishwashers.
Need help writing a resume? Use our busser resume example as a guide.
5 Sections of an Entry-level Restaurant Resume
- Resume header. All resume headers should contain both an applicant’s name and contact info. Email and phone number are absolutely essential. Including one’s home address used to be required, though today it’s considered unnecessary. Social media links, such as to your LinkedIn profile, may also be appropriate, but not necessary for an entry-level restaurant resume.
- Professional summary. Here’s where you’ll make a brief statement about yourself that just happens to explain why you’re best equipped for the position to which you’re applying. Dedicate three to five lines to illuminating your qualifications in a concise, streamlined way. Even if you’re writing an entry-level restaurant resume and have no formal experience to speak of here, this where you can highlight skills developed via school, internships, other extra-curricular activities, or through general life experience. You’ll want this read as a brief, attention-grabbing pitch about your abilities.
- Skills. In this section you’ll want to be as specific as possible about your hard and soft skills, especially emphasizing skills mentioned as being desired in the job posting. Often displayed in list form, try to include at least five relevant skills. You can find a list of examples below.
- Work history. Since you are writing an entry-level resume, it’s perfectly normal to have little-to-no work experience. Still, managers want to see any applicable experience you can come up with, even if it’s not directly related to the position for which you’re applying. Any formal work experience, even if it’s extremely minimal, it’d be in their best interest to accentuate it as much as possible on the page. Volunteer work, summer jobs, and leadership roles on sports teams can also fill out this section of an entry-level resume. Don’t be afraid to include non-traditional work experience if that’s your only option – simply change the header on your resume to “Relevant Experience” if you plan to include work-like experience and not actual jobs.
- Education. Some in the industry may consider this section to be another formality for a restaurant resume, but it can be important to include nonetheless. At the very least, it’s good to show a manager that one has earned a high school diploma (or an equivalent). If you are pursuing a college degree or have one already, mention it here. However, never include your dates of graduation as this could give away your age to a hiring manager, which could introduce bias into the hiring process.
If your work history is slim, consider adding information about awards and other accomplishments. Here, you’ll get the chance to show your potential manager who you are as a person, as well as what you’ve been able to achieve previously in your personal life. Like the ‘skills’ section, this is a great place to showcase what would make you an attractive employee, even if you have very little applicable material to fit into your resume.
15 Skills for an Entry-level Restaurant Resume:
If you’re hurting for ideas to fill out the above-mentioned ‘skills’ section of your entry-level restaurant resume, here are fifteen sample ideas listed below (which you’re welcome to borrow):
- Excellent communication skills
- Experience taking orders
- Payment processing experience
- Basic math proficiency
- Friendly personality
- Attention to detail
- Scheduling flexibility
- Sales experience
- Time management
- Experience working in a team
- Ability to work under pressure
- Conflict resolution
Transferable Skills Are Critical on an Entry-level Restaurant Resume
Transferable skills are hard and soft skills that will be useful to you and your employer, even if you don’t have direct work experience in the restaurant industry. For example, while you might not have had a past customer service role, you likely have customer service skills that you’ve acquired in other ways. Think back through your experiences. Did you have a paper route as a kid? That requires customer service skills. Or, did you lead the fundraising drive for your high school cheerleading team? That, too, required customer service skills.
In fact, the skills listed above for an entry-level restaurant resume are mostly, if not all, considered transferable to most other industries. If you’re having trouble coming up with enough of these skills, taking a closer look at the job posting might also help you reverse-engineer some traits managers might be seeking.
While people with direct work experience may have transferable skills like “sales experience,” or “experience processing payments,” it might be easier for entry-level jobseekers to highlight soft skills like “punctuality” or “clear communication.”
4 Entry-level Restaurant Resume Writing Tips
- Highlight unconventional work experience, if necessary. Since “entry-level” implies that you’re just now entering this sector of the workforce, it’s more than likely you’ll need to emphasize bits of experience that aren’t related to a past job. When applying to any entry-level position, it’s important highlight any positive attributes that might make you more appealing than similarly less experienced candidates. For example, perhaps you did a work-study program in your school cafeteria or were the star baker in home economics class. It’s important to remember that any relevant experience is better than none on a resume, so long as the information is presented in a sensible way.
- Apply to restaurants you enjoy. This may sound trivial at first, but it’s important in life to find work you’re passionate about. One simple way to ensure you’re more invested in working at a restaurant is to actually enjoy the food they serve! Noting this preference in your professional summary can also create a personal connection to the business that will catch the eye of a recruiter.
- Consider using a functional resume format. A common technique for those with little or no formal work experience is to build a functional resume. This format highlights the most relevant experience at the top of the page, as opposed to displaying the information chronologically. This makes for a conveniently intuitive way to organize one’s entry-level restaurant resume.
- Utilize unique, non-traditional work skills. When making skills lists like the one above, it’s helpful to think outside the box and take advantage of your unique set of skills and abilities. We all have hidden skills that make us even more hirable, whether we realize it or not. They key is identifying what might appeal to a restaurant hiring manager. For example, if you play for a recreational basketball team on weekends, you may want to highlight your affinity for teamwork or even that for leading teams. Similarly, if you speak multiple languages, or have CPR training, these can set you apart, as well.
Try a Professional Resume Builder
If you’re still having trouble putting together an entry-level restaurant resume, taking advantage of a professional resume builder may serve as helpful. LiveCareer’s tool for building resumes helps users quickly construct a professional resume, no matter their experience level or writing and design skills.
When your resume is finished, as soon as you feel like taking the next step, we’ve also got a host of helpful tips for how to write an entry-level restaurant cover letter. And don’t fret, you’re welcome to try out our cover letter builder if you end up getting stuck.