The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Formal Dining

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting a Job in a Restaurant: Resume

I was sure I was going to write about this sort of thing at some point in time, so it just made sense to me to do it now, especially seeing as I have just gotten a new job. I have had 14 different jobs in my life time, each and every one of them required at the least an application, some a resume, and all an interview. Some of these jobs required only one interview, some require two, one required an interview with 6 different people! These next few posts are going to be about getting started in the hospitality industry, from even before day 1. Today's topic is the resume. Some of this may be general knowledge, most of it is common sense...
There will be a post on choosing your employer shortly, but for now aim at something reasonable. If you have no experience don't expect an offer from the classy formal nightclub, and likewise if you're new to the job world don't overlook the dish washing positions.
I told my current employer I am leaving and as such they are trying to find a replacement for me. I gave two weeks notice, a standard and probably a topic for another day. They put an ad online almost immediately and asked if I would help in the process of hiring my replacement. Of course I will. Unfortunately for my employer the inquires and resumes coming in are just down right pitiful. The ad is for what we in the industry would call a banquet captain, someone who oversees all of the banquet functions. Typical duties include speaking with the events coordinator as to how to do things, setting up banquets, working banquets, recording hours, taking a head count, breaking down banquets, etc. As this is a role of a supervisor, some experience is necessary. I can't help but think that not very many people in the job market have formal banquet experience, but probably some kind of restaurant experience that will hopefully be valuable. Unfortunately any of those people with experience haven't applied yet. We had a handful of resumes sent in. One was an individual that worked as a daycare employee - not really experience we are looking for. One applicant had a master's degree, but it was in "art therapy" (whatever that means?). The one resume I read that takes the cake for least productive was someone that was "OSHA Certified Forklift Operation Instructor." Well, with that certification and a dollar fifty I can buy myself a Coke! The first lesson of writing a stellar resume is to tailor it AT LEAST to the industry if not to the specific employer. I do not care if you can operate a forklift or even teach me how to do it, I will NEVER need to do that as a banquet captain. Employers don't care if you can cross stitch, tap dance, juggle, play the flute, type 1,000 words per minute, recite Hamlet, invented the clip-on tie, have eleven toes, collect wheat pennies, or can skip a rock seven times across the Mississippi River. Everything MUST be relevant or at least brief. By brief I mean do not give me highlights on your ability to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics when you were a archaeologist intern, just mention the experience and move on. If you got a degree then great, but unfortunately most of us in the hospitality world still learn from on-the-job training. This is probably why there are so many bad managers out there, they just get promoted for not getting fired, but alas it's the truth. I don't really care if you spent four years studying psychology, sports medicine, costume design, or nursing. A single year of busing tables will probably trump your years of education. Even if you have a degree in Food and Beverage Management (or similar) be prepared to either A) intimidate the hiring manager (meaning you don't get hired) or B) look like a know-it-all-jerk to everyone else. If you have no work experience, are moonlighting, or switching careers a functional resume may be a better option, than if you are a seasoned restaurant employee, then a chronological resume is probably ideal. Any resume should contain RELEVANT highlights, like your home economics class in high school or your food handler's permit. If you are out of high school and have been for some time, stop writing about it. I do not care if you were the French Student of the year seven years ago, I want to know if you can box a table. Always include experience with customer service and satisfaction, as well as time management. Always include any restaurant experience. The nice thing about our industry is that the same grill used at a fast food restaurant is the same grill used at a five star place. The same thing applies with health codes. The cheapest place adheres to the same health rules as the finest restaurant in town. Busing dishes is busing dishes, etc. There are some things that any good hiring manager will expect to see, but then immediately dismiss because everyone writes them. This list includes: fast learner, good attitude, and friendly. Hopefully these things will all be true, and when you score an interview will prove to be accurate. Avoid using references, unless asked for. Everyone knows that a reference is just a friend that is going to make you look like a saint that works twice as hard as anyone they know. It should go without saying to double check your spelling and grammar (including the e-mail you send it with), some people have a great resume but the e-mail it is attached to looks like a drunk three-year-old wrote it while driving down the freeway. Common sense should prevail, but it has been my experience that people just don't know how to write a good resume.

No comments:

Post a Comment