Friday, June 15, 2007

Corporate Staffer Seeks Part-time Waitress Gig

I have a question about resumes. I currently work full time and need a part-time job as a food server or hostess. My resume looks good as far as full-time corporate work, but I do not have any long-term steady restaurant jobs. I have had many short-term ones over the years. How should I list this information on my resume? My objective is to get a part-time evening position in the service industry.

by Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage

You’re thinking along the right lines, Maryellen. The resume that serves you well in the corporate arena probably won’t impress the general manager at your local upscale bistro.

Here’s what I recommend: So that you don’t have to totally reinvent the wheel, take a copy of the corporate resume on your PC and do the easiest things first, starting at the bottom of the resume. Shrink the responsibilities and accomplishments for your professional jobs to just 2-3 lines each. For instance, an entry might read:

ABACUS EQUIPMENT, INC. – Troy, NY Jan. 2005-Present
Senior Account Executive
Grew institutional account territory throughout Upstate New York by 40% in 2 years, generating $300K in incremental revenues. Managed sales of sophisticated packaging equipment.

Moving up the page, insert a new category before your traditional corporate experience entitled “Professional Service Industry/Restaurant Experience.” (If your specialty/target is hotel restaurants, add the word hotel; if it’s in casinos, substitute casino for restaurant, and so forth.)

Now build an entry for each of the more recent positions you have held (I’ll address the summary up in your profile last). Because you mention having held many short-term positions, you might try grouping them by category and including a short descriptor, such as this:

Family Restaurants
Was competent member of wait staff at such Phoenix area restaurants as Chili’s (2 years), Outback (9 months), and TGIF (1.5 years).

Fine Dining Venues
Handled both ala carte dining and banquet service for several upscale restaurants along shoreline/Connecticut River area, including Copper Beech Inn (2 years), Water’s Edge (1 year), and CafĂ© Routier (1.5 years).

Now, for the final (and most important) part of your resume, go to your existing profile/qualifications summary section. Whatever you’ve used for the corporate world will need to be almost entirely replaced. Here is where you will describe your distinguishing characteristics as a professional server. Things to consider:
- Do you have a sparkling personality and highly adaptive style?
- Do you always deliver service above-and-beyond?
- Are your tips (for finer restaurants) generally in excess of 20 or 25%?
- Do you have regular customers who always request you as their server?
- Are you called by the restaurant on your days off to fill in for special events and parties—because you are reliable and “do the best job?”

If so, you can say in your profile such things as:

Professional server/wait staff member for more than 15 years at range of venues including both upscale, fine dining establishments and popular family restaurants. Earned reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service—frequently requested as a server by repeat customers. Highly flexible, dependable, and reliable. Signature strengths include:
• Ability to professionally manage large number of tables
• Equally skilled in menu and banquet service
• Regularly place in top 5% for promotions sold (from higher priced entree features, appetizers, and desserts to wine and after-dinner beverages)
• Distinguished for ability to exude grace under pressure while providing outstanding customer service
• Tapped to train new staff and provide shadowing to less-experienced servers

Good luck, Maryellen! As you know in this industry, it’s important to make a great impression in person – always deliver your resume face-to-face and be sure to let that sparkling “customer service” personality shine in the interview! This is the place for explaining that you’re seeking a part-time opportunity to augment your corporate day job. You know your enthusiasm and love for this work sets you above the rest of your competitors – so sell yourself with gusto!

Jan Melnik is a job-search coach and resume writer; she has operated her own practice, Absolute Advantage, for 24 years and works with clients coast-to-coast in the development of exceptional materials and strategies. She is the author of 7 books, including Executive’s Pocket Guide to ROI Resumes & Job Search.

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