Safety, communication and management are the skills most frequently mentioned in food sector job ads, according to a LiveCareer analysis of recent postings. Job seeker resumes are including management skills to a sufficient degree, but lagging in safety and communication skills. This skills gap could hinder the job search for thousands of the unemployed seeking food service and culinary positions.
As restaurants try to reboot after a tough year, job seekers need to foreground their skills more than ever. You must show an awareness of new safety measures and food delivery protocols.
The ability to communicate with customers who feel uncomfortable or frustrated will be just as important as food preparation or cash-handling experience.
LiveCareer pinpointed the skills listed most often in job ads, including the precise wording of each skill. This data-based approach reveals the terminology employers expect to see on food service and culinary applications, and can help guide job seekers in refreshing their resumes.
Top hard, soft and remote work skills that will help you land food service and culinary jobs
We analyzed job ads for a wide range of food service and culinary jobs including bartenders, baristas, restaurant servers, restaurant managers, chefs and line cooks. Here are the skills that rose to the top:
Found in 45.43% of job ads
Look for words like communicate, articulate, voice and talk through.
- Safety conscious
Found in 40.74% of job ads
Look for words like safely, hazard and secure.
- Management skills
Found in 33.58% of job ads
Look for words like manage, oversee, conduct, supervise and direct.
- Customer service
Found in 25.68% of job ads
Look for the phrase customer service, help customers and assist clients.
Found in 20.25% of job ads
Look for words like friendly, courteous and patience.
Found in 34.32% of job ads
Look for words like instruct, teach and train.
- Cash management
Found in 22.39% of job ads
Look for words like money handling and collection.
- Point of sale (POS) software
Found in 16.86% of job ads
Look for the acronym POS, or Point of Sale.
- Food preparation
Found in 11.48% of job ads
Look for words like kitchen equipment, food prep and dishes.
Remote work skills
- Project management software like Teamwork (found in 5.43% of job ads), Basecamp (found in 1.57%) and Monday (found in 1.42%).
An experienced restaurant server resume example
How to add skills to your resume
Read the job description, understand what the employer is seeking and use the exact wording of the skills listed in the job posting.
1. Weave a few important critical soft skills into your summary statement.
Example one: Barista
Friendly and organized barista with over five years experience in customer service. Experienced supervising and training junior employees while assisting high volumes of customers. Top-notch communication and basic math skills. Able to maintain cleanliness while adhering to store policies.
Example two: Bartender
Efficient bartender adept at preparing and serving cocktails and food to patrons. Mixology expert with excellent problem-solving skills. Maintain professional integrity by rigorously enforcing all ID-checking and other safety measures. Exercise attention to detail and management abilities while overseeing bar and venue staff.
2. Create a separate skills section. Make sure to include both hard and soft skills.
Example one: Busser
- Food preparation and safety
- Stocking and replenishing
- Table setting knowledge
- Problem resolution
- Food preparation
Example two: Food and beverage manager
- Balancing budgets
- Risk management
3. Lace skills throughout top achievements in your work experience section.
Example one: Dishwasher
- Helped team meet expected demands by restocking work areas throughout restaurant such as server stations, salad bars and supply cupboards.
- Kept kitchen areas neat and clean by removing trash and organizing supplies.
- Scraped, washed and efficiently restacked dishware, utensils and glassware to keep kitchen ready for customer demands.
Example two: Catering server
- Presented food and beverages on buffet tables and drink stations to meet contract specifications and level of event formality.
- Prepared and maintained drink stations throughout catering events.
- Fostered enjoyable event atmosphere through friendly guest interactions.
How to grow this skill set
Employers are going to want to see you are continuing to build your food service and culinary skills. There are many options available to you, including:
- If you're new or returning to food service and culinary, you can show initiative by already being a trained food handler. Organizations like the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and ServSafe offer basic food safety credentials, and there are courses for managers, too.
- If you're more interested in working in the kitchen, earning a culinary degree can be your ticket to more skilled and better-paying food preparation jobs.
- Those seeking management and higher-level corporate positions may do well with a bachelor's or master's degree in business, or a degree specifically in restaurant management from either a traditional university or culinary school.
- Many restaurants are pivoting to different business models to stay afloat. If you're in an ownership or management position, consider how rethinking your business from the ground up might help you better apply your skill set.