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The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Food Service Resume

The food service industry is a fast-paced and dynamic one. It’s also been one of the industries hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, it has seen an increase in job openings and hirings in the first quarter of 2021. So if you’re looking for employment, don’t lose hope.

Like most industries, you need a well-written resume to get yourself hired. Generic and bland templates won’t cut it nowadays since many hopefuls are vying for similar opportunities. Since it’s such a competitive field, you have to be smart about making yourself stand out from other applicants.

Let your resume be the ticket to your culinary career success. We’ll show you the dos and don’ts of writing food service resumes for your job hunting.

Food Service: An Overview 

Before we get to the resume specifics, let’s go over food service a bit.

Food service refers to the activities and processes of preparing, serving, and selling food and beverages away from households. This industry isn’t a one-size-fits-all box when it comes to its jobs. It spans various lines of work, from serving, cooking, cleaning, and to management.

Since most jobs are in kitchen or restaurant settings, jobs are categorized into two divisions:

  1. Back-of-the-house. This division works in spaces that customers can’t see (e.g. kitchens). Chefs, line cooks, supervisors, and dishwashers are some people who do their jobs behind the scenes. Although they don’t serve guests directly, back-of-the-house employees are still food service workers since they’re considered employee support.
  2. Front-of-the-house. Employees under this division interact with guests and customers the most. These include servers, bussers, bartenders, baristas, and cashiers.

In recent times, back-of-the-house employees have begun interacting with guests. You’ll see this when chefs visit dining rooms and strike up conversations with diners. Customers even get to see glimpses of kitchens and other behind-the-scenes things. 

This change is a win for both diners and back-of-the-house employees: the former gets an extra special dining experience, while the latter receives some customer service training.

The Do’s of Writing a Food Service Resume

Before you step foot inside kitchens, you still have a resume to submit. Write one like a pro by following these tried and true tips and tricks:

1. Use a professional format

Your resumes should show how professional you are in a short period. Recruiters only take seven seconds of their time to look at food industry applications. 

Industry experts recommend job seekers consider career levels when choosing resume formats. If you’re in the entry-level bracket, you may want to start with functional resumes since it emphasizes your skills and strengths. You can use combination resumes if you’re working intermediate-level positions since your relevant experiences and skills are highlighted equally. For senior-level ranks, chronological resumes are your best bet because they show your achievements alongside your history.

2. Start with an objective

Think of your objective as a sales pitch — you’ve only got a few sentences to convince recruiters that you’re worthy of their consideration. Make it count by writing an objective that ticks all these boxes:

  • Relevant professional experiences
  • Industry-/job-related skillset
  • Possible team contributions
  • Desired position

Place your resume objective at the top of your document. You want it to be the first thing that recruiters see as soon as it lands on their hands.

3. Add action to your experiences

What good are your professional experiences if they don’t speak on your behalf? Stir recruiters’ curiosity even further by using action words in your work experience section. Not only does it make your credentials stand out, but it also makes you look more professional.

Add more credibility by quantifying your history (when necessary, of course). Numbers help hiring managers gauge your skills to see whether you fit their current talent pool.

4. Bring your hard skills to the forefront

There’s no denying that soft skills are essential in every workplace. You interact with people daily, even if you work at the back of the house. 

However, you should emphasize your hard skills. They are industry-specific, and they tell hiring managers how you fare in your chosen field. By putting them first, recruiters won’t have to determine if you should undergo training should you get hired.

5. Choose your design wisely

Restaurants aren’t one-size-fits-all joints. Some have casual and playful vibes, while others run things in formal settings. When designing your resume, be mindful of the establishment you’re applying for. Recruiters will appreciate you for thinking ahead.

RELATED: 14 Tips to Help You Create a Winning Resume Design

6. Don’t forget your cover letter

If you think that cover letters are irrelevant in 2021, we’d like to inform you that they very much still matter to recruiters. In fact, one study revealed that 56% of employers prefer resumes that have them attached.

Write a killer cover letter by following these foolproof tips:

  • Address your recipient appropriately.
  • Include a subject line.
  • Write a compelling body.
  • End on a good note.
  • Follow sending instructions.

Cover letters can cover things your resumes may overlook. They don’t have to be lengthy — a short, well-written one is enough to get you a job.

RELATED: Email Cover Letters: What It is and Why It’s Important

The Don’ts to Avoid in Your Food Service Resume

Now that we’ve covered the do’s, let’s get straight to the don’ts of food service resume writing. Watch out for these no-nos to avoid running into job hunting trouble.

1. Don’t use passive verbs

A weak impression is the last thing you want to leave on hiring managers and recruiters. Nip that in the bud by avoiding passive verbs. Instead of using phrases like “was in charge of” and “was responsible for,” you can opt to use statements like “led a team of chefs” and “assisted the head chef.” Using an active voice sounds more impactful and can turn the tides in your favor.

2. Exaggerations are bad

Lying — especially about your professional history — has consequences. Even the slightest exaggerations can be costly. You don’t want to catch heat from hiring managers and recruiters after they do their due diligence.

Avoid running into trouble by being as honest as possible, even if you don’t have all the experience in the world. Employers will highly appreciate you for telling the truth.

3. Avoid writing walls of text

We’ve mentioned that cover letters don’t need to be lengthy to state your case for your job application. The same principle applies to resume content itself. And like cover letters, recruiters only need seven seconds to take a good look at your application.

Since no one wants to read walls of text, keep your content digestible by including relevant information only. Make sentences clear and concise for maximum readability and impact.

Write a perfect food service resume now!

Now that we’ve covered everything, go ahead and start writing that resume! You can always go back to this entry if you’re having some trouble. Good luck!

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