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What to Include in a Server Resume

If you're preparing a resume for a server position, and that's where your past experience lies, your resume can be fairly basic in its construction. Before you begin, refer to server resume samples as well as the employer's job description, if there is one, so you can write a targeted resume that will appeal to a potential employer and their version of the ideal candidate.

There are two resume formats that are generally used, and your work history and training will help you determine which will work best for you.

The chronological format is the most commonly used. This style works well if you have prior serving experience. The following five sections are recommended in the chronological resume:

  • Contact info (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

If, however, you have no previous serving experience, the functional style might work better. The difference is an added section called Accomplishments where you can list your successes and achievements without linking them to a specific employer. As a result, the Work Experience section will end up being a simple list of previous jobs. There are six sections in the functional resume:

  • Contact info (name/phone/email)
  • Resume summary
  • Accomplishments (additional section)
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

You can find examples of both formats as you search server resume samples, and neither is right or wrong. Choose the style that works best for you.

How to Write the Server Resume Summary Statement

Your resume summary holds a critical position in that it's the first thing a potential employer will read, and if you don't get their attention at the beginning, it'll be hard to recapture.

Your summary doesn't have to be more than three sentences long, but they should be action-packed, concise, and reflective of what the employer is looking for. Go back to the job description and review the requirements, and if there's not a posting, think carefully about the restaurant you're applying to and use your best judgment to imagine what would be crucial to a manager. Those skills identified as important should be the ones you focus on, and you should try to do it in a quantitative and results-oriented fashion.

Take a look at some of the summaries on the server resume samples you've already identified and you'll see that they're written without personal pronouns. It's perfectly acceptable in this instance to use incomplete sentences that begin with an action verbs. It's a technique called gapping, and it allows you to get to the point quickly.

Besides the samples you've already found, following are two examples of well-written resume summaries that should help you get a feel for the tone as well as how to best represent your qualifications.

Experienced server with the ability to easily memorize revolving menus, daily specials, and ingredients. Offers entree suggestions and wine pairings and can advise patrons about allergy concerns. Understands the importance of meeting with kitchen staff daily to discuss menu options to be able to provide exceptional customer service. Trained new wait staff, increased retention rate, and slowed turnover.

Skilled server in fine dining establishments with a background beginning as hostess. Possesses strong work ethic and physical stamina to handle a long shift while remaining graceful and upbeat. Impressive memory for faces leading to loyal customers for the restaurant. Fewest order placement errors of all wait staff. Performs closing duties and prep for following day.

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How to Write the Server Education Section

For most server positions, a high school diploma is the only education requirement, but that doesn't have to be the only thing you list. If you have or are working towards an associate's degree in business, or even better, hospitality, that information should be listed first. The format should be simple, including the school attended, location of the school, and degree or diploma obtained.

If you've received specialized training through a former employer, like a course on recommending wines that complement guests' meal choices or training on international cuisine, be sure to include them under a sub-heading called モAdditional Training.ヤ Regulations vary, but some states and counties require a food handler's permit which requires a class and exam. If you live in one of these areas and you have a permit, be sure to include it.

If you're serious about the restaurant business as a career, you might consider joining a professional association like The National Restaurant Association. If you join, you should show that membership as well.

How to Write the Server Work Experience Section

Refer first to the employer's job description to see what the job requirements and qualifications are, and do your best to mirror them as you identify you achievements in this section. If there is no job description, use server resume samples to get a general idea of what details to include.

Before you address the work experience section, you need to have made a decision about which type of resume format is going to work best for you. If you've chosen the chronological style, you can go right to the work experience section, but if you going to use the functional style, you'll be addressing the accomplishments section first. A review of server resume samples in both formats can help you decide.

For the chronological format, the basic information for each job sub-heading should include the name of the employer, the location, period of employment, and job title. Your jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order, and under each job, list 3-6 bullet points that focus on your measurable achievements, for example:

  • Trained 5 new staff members in addition to performing my regular duties
  • Memorized 25 menu items and countless ingredients, even when there were changes
  • Ensured that roughly 100 daily customers ordering drinks from the bar were of age to avoid liability

If you've decided on the functional format, you need to first complete the accomplishments section, which should include 6-8 bullet points that target your industry related strong points and achievements. As with the examples above, begin each bullet point with an action verb, and if you can, show how your work resulted in positive outcomes for the employer or the customer.

Once you've completed the accomplishments section, you can move on to the work experience section, which will be a simple list of your jobs (company, location, period of employment, title) with no bullet points because you've already provided the details.

Action Verbs to Include in Your Server Work Experience Section

As you describe your work experience, it's important to use action verbs so the potential employer can see you working as part of their team. As you'll observe in server resume samples, the position is full of action. Following are some action verbs to consider, and as you think about what you do on the job, you can probably come up with more:

  • Assist
  • Greet
  • Clean
  • Process
  • Remember
  • Suggest
  • Deliver
  • Answer
  • Offer
  • Describe
  • Follow-up
  • Clear
  • Prepare
  • Stock
  • Monitor
  • Prepare
  • Remove
  • Serve
  • Replenish
  • Train

How to Write the Server Skills Section

When you write the skills section of your resume, you might want to consider breaking it down by the group being served, because while you're always serving the customer, you also need skills to serve other groups as well. Your breakdown might look something like this:

Skills working with the following groups:


  • Exceptional memory for both customers and their orders
  • Attentive service without interrupting guests' meals
  • Prompt beverage refills
  • Polite, gracious no matter what the customer requests

Kitchen staff:

  • Strong communication skills that allowed good connection with kitchen which led to clear, acurate delivery of orders and updated knowledge of recommendations and menu changes

Other wait staff:

  • Sense of responsibility that ensured side work is maintained throughout shift and is well stocked for the next shift/day
  • Genuine helpfulness which translates to strong team player abilities
TIP: Need a cover letter? Click here to view our Server cover letters.

Should I Include References in my Server Resume

It's not recommended to include references in your resume. Check the server resume samples you've identified. You won't see references taking up valuable space that could be used to present qualifications, and including them as part of your resume will make it unnecessarily long.

By making the simple statement that your references are available upon request, you'll be in the favorable position of:

  • Knowing the employer is interested when they ask for your references
  • Being able to give your references a heads-up that they'll be receiving a call
  • Asking your references to confirm when they've been contacted and finding out the type of questions that were asked

Your references should be former managers, supervisors, or restaurant owners with whom you've developed a good relationship. Before you indicate on your resume that they're available upon request, make sure you've gotten their confirmation that they want to be a reference.<b

Server Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don't mention that they'll need to work around your school schedule. At this point, it is all about what the employer is looking for, and you want to do your best to let them see you as the ideal candidate. You'll have time later in the process to address those concerns.
  • Avoid first-person pronouns like モI,ヤ and モwe.ヤ That's fine for your cover letter, but your resume is a more formal document. Refer to the server resume samples you've found to see how it's done.
  • The importance of proofreading can't be overstated. Before you send out the final version of your resume, have a friend read it for typos or grammatical errors.
  • Don't speak poorly of previous employers. You'll be pegged as a complainer, and your resume is likely to end up in the reject pile.
  • A long resume isn't necessarily a strong resume. Try to keep it to one page, two at the most. Any more than that and the resume-weary hiring manager may simply pass on it.

Job Prospects in the Server Industry

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth of all occupations from the period 2012 to 2022 to be 11 percent. Based on BLS career definitions mentioned below, and which category you believe you fall into, you can expect employment growth of 6-20 percent.
      • Employment of food and beverage serving and related workers, as defined by the BLS, can expect a growth rate of 12 percent for the time period mentioned above;
      • The group that includes servers such as hotel room service, hospitals, residential care, and catered events can anticipate growth of 20 percent;
      • Combined food prep and serving workers, primarily fast-food employment, is projected to grow 14 percent;
      • Dining room, cafeteria attendants, hosts and hostesses will likely grow 8 percent; and
      • Waiters and waitresses can expect 6 percent growth.
    Job opportunities will continue to be excellent because of attrition and turn-over, but there will be competition for openings at upscale restaurants because of higher tips.
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