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Your resume is your calling card, no matter what industry you are in. You might think that a resume doesn’t matter in the food service industry--that most people who work in this industry get a job by merely walking in and interviewing with the manager. But the truth is that your resume does matter, quite a bit, and here are some ways to make your resume stand out.
Make sure your resume is neatly formatted and well-written. Resumes should be a maximum of two pages. Don't use color, no matter how much you think a hot pink page header will stand out. Be clear and concise--no long paragraphs or compound sentences. Bullet points can help describe your employment history without going into too much detail. Most of the time, you just want to give employers a clear idea of what you can do; you can give details during the interview.
Highlight your food industry experience and make sure to include specifics. Emphasize this experience even if your current job is in a different industry. If you were on the wait staff for five years at one restaurant or five, be sure to put that toward the top of your resume. And no matter how many different types of positions you’ve held in the food service industry, highlight all of them. If you’ve been a waiter, sous chef, bartender or hostess, then you have an idea of what it takes to succeed in this business. The food service industry can be stressful and hectic, and a potential employer wants to know that you have what it takes to survive. If you’ve held several different positions in the same restaurant, make sure you list each separate position with some specifics about what you did in each position--but keep it short.
Next, showcase your customer service skills. A lot of working in the food service industry involves the ability to deal with different kinds of people. And people can be cranky when it comes to their food. List positions on your resume that encompass your people skills and highlight any times when you provided excellent customer service, particularly in the face of adversity. Make sure to mention customer service as a part of every job you’ve had that required you to deal with people.
If you have any associations, hobbies or interests pertaining to the job you are vying for, include it--but only if you have room. If there is extra room on your resume, you can highlight any education you’ve had pertaining to the food service industry (say, for example, you’ve been taking nighttime cooking classes or have a certain amount of credit hours toward a degree as a chef). Potential employers want to know that you have a passion for food service--this will make you stand out among applicants who are working in this industry on their way to something else.
Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.