If everyone worked a food service job at some point, the world would likely be a better place.

Many don’t realize the amount of both mental and physical stamina involved in doing this job well.

While some in the food service industry give the job a bad rap, most servers are hard-working and intelligent people just trying to please customers and get paid.

You have to hustle to earn your pay and not many people understand what it’s like to make a wage that doesn’t cover costs without tips.

A huge factor that determines whether or not you will earn a decent income comes down to where you work.

But, to land a job at a nice restaurant you have to have a winning server resume.

That’s where we come in.

 

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample server resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best server resume you possibly can.

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Server Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Jalen Baxter
JBaxter@email.com
1 (623) 555-5500
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Summary Statement:

Experienced server, thrives in a fast-paced environment, and excels at taking initiative and consistently working toward keeping the restaurant inviting. Passion for welcoming every customer like family and giving everyone exceptional service.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Collaborative
  • Quick learner
  • Energetic
  • Reliable
  • Pos
  • Jonas system
  • Exceptional memory
  • Critical thinking
  • Fluent in Spanish
  • Punctual
  • Dependable
  • Outgoing

Professional Experience:

Pisa Lisa, Sedona, AZ
SERVER | Feb 2016 – Present

  • Promptly input orders using POS system, courteously deliver food and beverages
  • Anticipate guest needs and service preferences leading to an average of 19% charge tip percentage
  • Keen capability to recommend wine pairings leading to 10% more wine sales than restaurant average
  • Regularly chosen to help with onboarding incoming staff, trained over 20 new servers

Junipine Resort, Sedona, AZ
SERVER | Oct 2014 – Jan 2016

  • Implemented new menu introduction strategy resulting in an increase in daily special sales by 15%
  • Recognize and assist with nearby table sections when necessary
  • Complete knowledge of menu items and common allergy-related ingredients
  • Provide timely and courteous service for over 25 patrons (5-6 tables) of a high-end restaurant at once

Scottsdale National Golf Club, Scottsdale, AZ
SERVER | May 2011 – Aug 2014

  • Created a welcoming and warm atmosphere for members and guests
  • Set tables according to type of event and service standards
  • Communicated with the kitchen regarding special meal requirements, and dietary needs
  • Ensured a clean and sanitary dining area at all times

Education/Certifications

HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
Saguaro High School | Scottsdale, AZ
Class of 2011

FOOD HANDLER’S CARD

Formatting Your Server Resume

If you have been working in food service for any amount of time, you know how fast-paced the industry can be and how busy most restaurant owners and managers are.

Hiring managers only spend about 6 seconds, on average, reviewing the resumes that come across their desks.

Needless to say, it is imperative to make an impression and make it fast.

That doesn’t mean you should find some silly font or outlandish format to grab their attention, however.

The best way to catch a hiring manager’s attention is to submit a resume that appears professional and well thought out.

To create that appearance you need to find a format that is straightforward, easy to follow, and lists your most impressive qualities first.

Search for a resume style that includes clear cut sections with a good amount of spacing between lines to help guide the reader’s eyes.

Use bullet points and columns to separate important information and help the best details stand out.

Enlist a clear and legible font that is easy to read and isn’t going to be a distraction.

Use reverse chronological order to list information pertaining to previous work, education, and accomplishments so that your current and relevant details come first.

Following these fundamental formatting suggestions will allow your words to stand and make an impression.

Start With Your Resume Summary

It is conventional to start your server resume with a brief introduction in the form of a two to three sentence summary.

If you have previously written resumes starting with an objective instead of a summary, it is important to note that objectives are no longer the norm.

The reason for this shift mostly boils down to the fact that objectives tend to lack detailed information about the candidate, and they point out obvious and unnecessary details.

A summary statement, however, gives the candidate an opportunity to talk about what some of their most prominent abilities are as a server and get the ball rolling.

Yes!

Experienced server who thrives in a fast-paced environment, excels at taking initiative, and strives to create an inviting and pleasant restaurant experience for guests. Welcoming attitude and passion for treating customers like family while lending detailed food recommendations and prompt service.

No!

Great server, works in a fast-paced environment and creates an inviting restaurant. Great customer service and communication with patrons. Provides fast and accurate service.

The first example describes the candidate using detailed descriptions to convey their dedication to excellent food service.

The second example describes the candidate with minimal descriptors and repeats the same words multiple times.

PRO TIP: When writing your resume summary, try asking yourself, “What are the main goals of a restaurant server?” Then ask yourself how you meet those goals. This question should guide you to discuss the important details that a hiring manager is looking for a summary to cover.

Key Accomplishments/ Skills & Qualifications

Now that you have a basic introduction out of the way, it is time to put down a list of your most notable skills and qualifications.

This list should contain two main types of skills.

Hard Skills:

  • Teachable
  • Practicable
  • Easy to Quantify
  • Technical

Including a fair amount of hard skills on your server resume shows that you are an experienced and seasoned server.

Soft skills:

  • Personality Traits
  • Subjective
  • Harder to Quantify
  • Innate
  • Not necessarily teachable

Including soft skills on your resume shows that you have a natural talent for working with the public and other staff.

When writing these skills, it is possible to include them in either one list or split them up into two lists separated by type.

However, if you feel that you have more of one than the other, it is best to address them all in one list.

Below is an example of a list featuring both kinds of skills.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Dependable
  • Collaborative
  • Quick Learner
  • Energetic
  • Outgoing
  • Reliable
  • POS
  • Jonas System
  • Exceptional Memory
  • Critical Thinking
  • Fluent in Spanish
  • Punctual

PRO TIP: While it is important to list skills that you genuinely feel you excel at, make sure you are also cross-referencing your list with skills included in the job post (if you are responding to one). Hiring managers will always search for candidates who match up against their own specifications. .

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skills to include in your resume.)

Writing Your Work Experience

Often when people begin to think about writing their resume, their mind first goes to what they are going to include as their work experience.

The answer to that question varies from person to person, depending on how much relevant work experience they have previously gained.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to list your work history in reverse chronological order.

However, make sure that you include the jobs that you feel are most applicable to serving.

So, even if you have been working as an Uber driver more recently, but used to be a host/hostess, perhaps list that instead.

Once you have identified what jobs you are going to include on your server resume, describe them in about three to five bullet points for each one.

As you come up with descriptions make sure that you are including details that apply to the position you are trying to land.

Also, try to describe each job by focusing on your accomplishments and impressive attributes to reinforce what you wrote in your summary and skills sections.

Yes!

Pisa Lisa | Sedona, AZ | Server | Feb 2016 – Present

  • Promptly input orders using POS system, courteously deliver food and beverages, and remove finished dishes efficiently
  • Anticipate guest needs and service preferences leading to an average of 19% charge tip percentage
  • Memorize food and drink menu with a keen capability to recommend food and wine pairings leading to 10% more wine sales than restaurant average
  • Regularly chosen to help with onboarding incoming staff, trained over 20 new servers.

No!

Pisa Lisa | Sedona, AZ | Server | Feb 2016 – Present

  • Input orders, deliver food/beverages and remove dishes
  • Ask about guest needs and service preferences
  • Memorize food and drink menu
  • Train new staff

The first example uses persuasive and varied speech to describe the job tasks the candidate completed while providing impressive quantifiable results.

The second example lists the same job tasks as the first without any descriptive language or additional details that could separate the candidate from others.

PRO TIP: Make sure that each bullet point either quantifies or qualifies your previous work. Use specific keywords and power words to qualify tasks that you include – instead of saying you “took orders,” say you “memorized” them. Instead of saying you trained new staff, tell us how many people you have trained. These details set you apart from the crowd and make your descriptions more impactful.

(If you lack work experience, see below for a helpful section.)

More About Bots

It is a common and under-discussed assumption that when you hand in a resume to a company and someone reviews it, that they will be a person in charge of the hiring process in some regard.

However, if you have heard the term Applicant Tracking System (ATS), or bot, you might know that this assumption isn’t always accurate.

ATSs, or bots, are programs designed to review and sort through resumes before a hiring manager takes a look.

Bots will flag resumes they “see” as having “good-candidate potential.”

As for the rest?

Those resumes typically make up the stuffing for the waste paper basket.

So if you are applying to a restaurant and it’s possible your server resume will have to face the dreaded bots, what can you do to make it past them?

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to make sure that you include descriptive keywords or power words in your resume.

Power words are action verbs that will highlight your skills and abilities as a server.

Bots are programmed to judge resumes based on the use of these keywords.

Some resume experts believe that writing your job descriptions in paragraph format will allow you to pack in more keywords, while others feel this is still possible with bullet points.

Let’s look at the visual difference between these two styles.

Standard bullet point format:

Junipine Resort | Sedona, AZ | Server | Oct 2014 – Jan 2016

  • Implemented new menu introduction strategy that was utilized in the training of new staff members and led to an increase in daily special sales by 15%
  • Recognized and assisted with nearby table sections when necessary or requested by other team members or managing staff
  • Complete knowledge of all menu items and common allergy-related ingredients, prices, and preparation methods
  • Memorized food and drink orders and provided timely and courteous service for over 25 patrons (5-6 tables) of a high-end restaurant at once

Paragraph format:

Junipine Resort | Sedona, AZ | Server | Oct 2014 – Jan 2016

Implemented a new menu introduction strategy that was utilized in the training of new staff members and led to an increase in daily special sales by 15%. Recognized and assisted with nearby table sections when necessary or requested by other team members or managing staff. Complete knowledge of all menu items and common allergy-related ingredients, prices, and preparation methods. Memorized food and drink orders and provided timely and courteous service for over 25 patrons (5-6 tables) of a high-end restaurant at once.

Paragraph format w/ bullet points:

Junipine Resort | Sedona, AZ | Server | Oct 2014 – Jan 2016
Implemented a new menu introduction strategy that was utilized in the training of new staff members and led to an increase in daily special sales by 15%. Recognized and assisted with nearby table sections when necessary or requested by other team members or managing staff. Complete knowledge of all menu items and common allergy-related ingredients, prices, and preparation methods. Memorized food and drink orders and provided timely and courteous service for over 25 patrons (5-6 tables) of a high-end restaurant at once.

  • Employee of the Month (voted 5 times)
  • High-end Dining Service

When deciding what style is right for you, consider the fact that once a resume makes it through a bot, it still has to impress a hiring manager.

Bullet points tend to capture the attention of humans better due to their visual spacing and separation between sentences.

At Big Interview, we believe sticking with a bullet point format will impress most hiring managers over a paragraph format.

This format doesn’t hinder you in getting past a bot either.

As long as you are intentional about including various keywords and power words, you should be all set.

Writing Your Education Section

While you might not feel like most formal educations pertain to food service, this section is still often necessary to include in your server resume.

For this section, list your degrees or achievements in order of recency and impressiveness.

If you have received a college degree, then there is no need to include your high school education on your resume.

Example:

High School Diploma
Saguaro High School | Scottsdale, AZ
Class of 2011

Include any additional certifications in your education section as well.

Example:

Food Handlers Card – ServSafe

Possible Sections to Include

If you have more qualifications or achievements that you feel should be mentioned, it is acceptable to include additional sections.

Some additional sections to consider including are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What If You Have No Experience?

A common concern that people have when filling out resumes is that if they are just starting out, they have no work experience to speak of.

If you fall into this category, start by moving your education section below your summary so that it is more visible.

If you have absolutely no work experience, your education section should become the most important element of your resume.

Try to improve upon this section by including as many impressive details as you can.

A high GPA, honors and awards, or extracurricular activities can show off that you are hard-working and ambitious.

If you have completed any internships or done volunteer work, those details are great to include in separate sections as well.

Above all, stay positive and persistent and you will land a job with the right company.

Server Resume Points to Remember

Short and simple

This might all sound like a lot, but it is important to keep it simple and to the point. Make sure that your resume fits completely on one page and doesn’t go onto the second. A two-page resume is never something a busy restaurant manager wants to see.

Keep things fresh

As you write your resume summary and job descriptions pay attention to your use of words. Make sure that you aren’t reusing the same keywords and that each bullet point starts with a new power word.

Special order

Make sure that you are either reviewing a job posting or reading up on the restaurant you are applying to before you write your server resume. If there is a job posting, look for specific skills and keywords that they use and make sure to include them in your own resume to show what a great fit you are.

Try to Avoid

Don’t tap out

You wrote your server resume, time to hand it in, right? Wrong. Make sure that you are either getting someone else to look over it for you or that you are taking the time to read it out loud to yourself to catch any mistakes. You don’t want a silly typo or awkward phrase to stand between you and your next paycheck.

No filler foods

Write your resume with strong and descriptive details, but make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Every bullet point should present new information that will set you apart from other candidates. Make sure you aren’t just trying to fill up a page with information that isn’t helpful or necessary.

Make a proper introduction

It sounds silly to point out, but make sure that you aren’t leaving out your name and contact information at the top of the page. It is easy to get caught up in the details and leave the most important things out.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested power words.)

Helpful Tools

Server Resume Power Words

  • Administered
  • Founded
  • Adept
  • Formulated
  • Built
  • Implemented
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Consolidated
  • Initiated
  • Coordinated
  • Launched
  • Developed
  • Pioneered
  • Designed
  • Organized

 Server Resume Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Jonas SystemPunctual
Bilingual (Spanish/English)Energetic
POS SystemCustomer Service
Food Safety and SanitationMulti-tasking
Basic Math SkillsMemorization