Top 5 Mistakes in Restaurant Resumes
By Angela Rose, Hcareers.com
Whether you’re a culinary prodigy, wait staff wizard or dishwashing dynamo, it’s likely you will need a resume to land your next restaurant job—particularly if you plan to apply for open positions on a job board. Job boards are still the preferred tool for connecting qualified professionals with hiring managers. In fact, 77 percent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 29 use job boards according to a 2012 survey by Millennial Branding. The number is even higher for older job seekers. A whopping 82 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 47, and 87 percent of those between the ages of 48 and 67, rely on job boards for their job search.
While resume construction certainly isn’t rocket science—or even as difficult as a whipping up an impeccable hollandaise—many job seekers make mistakes. Some blunders prevent hiring managers from ever reviewing your resume. Other slipups land it in the trashcan after a single glance. If you want to maximize your chances of securing a restaurant dream job, take care to avoid these all too common mistakes.
Mistake 1: Skipping Proofing
You may cook perfect poached eggs every time, but submit a resume full of typos, poor spelling and off-kilter grammar and you’ll never make it through those swinging doors. This mistake is a deal breaker for more than 60 percent of hiring managers according to one career website survey.
Fortunately, a thorough proofread is often all it takes to ensure your resume doesn’t stumble. Rather than relying on Word’s grammar and spell check tool, ask at least two knowledgeable associates to look over your document. If writing is not your strong suit, consider hiring a professional—it may prove to be a worthwhile investment.
If you need a bit more help, check out this article on common grammar errors and this list of frequently misspelled words.
Mistake 2: Keeping it Generic
Imagine your resume is basic pancake batter and the hiring manager is a diner at your restaurant. If she orders blueberry pancakes, you have to add blueberries and maybe a little lemon zest. If she orders chocolate pancakes, an addition of cocoa is necessary. In both cases, plain pancakes are not acceptable—customization is required.
When it comes to your resume, this means changing the language in your objective or professional summary as well as rewording experience and skill descriptions to include relevant keywords from the job posting (more on that in a moment). If you have a lot of experience in various roles, you may want to be selective in what you include as well.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for a sous chef position at one restaurant and a bartender position at another. Your background includes experience in the kitchen as well as beverage jobs. You’ll need two resumes, customized accordingly, highlighting the skill set most appropriate to each opportunity.
Mistake 3: Overlooking Keywords
Busy restaurant employers often use applicant-tracking systems (ATS) to make the hiring process easier. These software programs scan the data in your resume and assign a relevance score based on evaluation. Keywords are one thing ATS always look for, so include them in your skill and experience descriptions. It sounds difficult, but identifying the right words to incorporate is actually quite simple. Just read the job description carefully.
For example, an employer may write, “Fast-casual restaurant seeking dynamic chef with background in Latin and Asian cuisines.” You’d want to include the keywords “dynamic,” “Latin cuisine,” “Asian cuisine,” and “chef” in your resume.
Mistake 4: Focusing on Tasks
Restaurants can be stressful environments. Hiring managers want employees who can prove that they perform well under these conditions. Your experience descriptions need to communicate your abilities using details and specifics. Numbers, dollar amounts and other quantifiable figures are more likely to attract favorable attention than a list of “responsible for” task statements.
For example, many professionals describing past wait staff experience might write, “Responsible for serving customers.” A better description would be, “Served more than 50 patrons daily and increased average guest ticket by 15 percent.”
Mistake 5: Fancy Formatting
While food needs to be beautiful, your resume does not. You won’t impress hiring managers with fancy fonts and graphics. In fact, anything more than conventional formatting may confuse the ATS, reducing your resume’s relevance score. For best results, keep it simple. This means placing your name and contact information at the top, labeling sections with standard terms such as “summary,” “employment history” and “education,” and using basic bullet points in lists.
Avoid these top five mistakes in your resume and improve your chances of landing a new job. For more insight into the hospitality industry, job search tips, and thousands of postings from restaurants around the nation, visit Hcareers.com.
Read more restaurant career tips. Find more restaurant jobs by visiting the career center.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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