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Balancing a tray of cocktails, no problem. Memorizing orders and guest seating, you got that on lock. Keeping customers happy and coming back for more, that’s you in a nutshell.
This job’s been waiting for you!
But hang on a sec.
There are dozens of applicants for each wait staff position. For the restaurant, it’s like one of those all-you-can-eat buffets.
How can we make your waiter or waitress resume stand out to get you that interview?
Don’t worry! We’ll go through the recipe for success together, step by step, like a multi-course dinner. You’ll soon have a template for waiting resumes and cover letters that wins them over, as your personality always does.
This waiter/waitress resume guide will show you:
Here’s a sample waitressing resume made using our resume builder:
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Waiter Resume Example - See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
How to describe a waiter/waitress job on a resume?
If you're applying for a job completely unrelated to waiting, you need to pick the tasks that best fit the job you are pursuing, rather than the job you came from.
How to make waitressing sound good on a resume?
Waiting tables, like any job, needs to be described in a way that grabs the restaurant manager’s attention while giving them all the standard information: your contact details, heading statement, work experience, skills, education, and choice other sections.
Follow along on our complete waitress/waiter resume guide, and we’ll show you just how to make waitressing look good on a resume.
Bad news: the restaurant manager won’t read your whole resume at first.
It gets worse: they’ll take just 6 seconds to scan a resume. That’s 6 seconds to consider you for a waiting staff interview, initially.
What’s that mean for you?
Like a starving, impatient dining guest, you need to catch their attention. You need to do it quickly. And you need to not let go.
You need to show them you’ve got what it takes with the right waiter/waitress resume format.
Luckily, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Depending on your past work history, there are two ways to go about this.
Know how to be a waitress because you’ve been one before?
Great! You’ve got the advantage. The reverse-chronological format is best for your experienced wait staff resume.
This format emphasizes your waiting duties, dining floor experience, and restaurant work history.
You’ll list your most recent work positions first, and go back through past jobs in reverse-chronological order from there.
As the most standard format, it tends to be the easiest to read and scan - for hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) alike. More on the ATS later, though.
Before (or right after) deciding which format to choose for a waitress resume, make a resume outline to help you plan out the organization and resume layout to get it right. See this article for more: Resume Outline Examples: Complete How-To Guide With 15+ Tips
But, what if you have a waitress/waiter resume with no experience?
Well, here’s the thing: you might not have experience for this job, but you have experience relevant to the job.
On a first-time server resume, you’ll still list other jobs you’ve held in reverse-chronological order.
However, this time you won’t just talk about your professional waiting duties and responsibilities.
Rather, you’ll highlight relevant skills and achievements from past jobs in bullet points, neatly aligned like the daily specials on the menu board.
List them under relevant subheadings like: Communication Skills.
Pick and choose transferable skills to match the professional waiter resume job description from the ad.
Have no waiting work experience at all? Not to worry! Instead, the education section moves to the top, followed by other sections (e.g., volunteering, languages), which we’ll talk about more in just a moment.
Next, save your waiter resume as a PDF. The PDF format keeps the layout in shape.
Pro Tip: Check the job description for to make sure PDFs are OK. Some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can clog like your arteries after a lobster bisque on a PDF-formatted resume. The ATS scans for resume keywords, and if it can’t read your file, it’ll assume you can’t do anything right.
Not entirely sure about the right format for your waiter resume? See our guide: 3 Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One [Examples]
You want to catch their eye. You want to make an impression. You want them to love you the same way diners love your charismatic serving personality.
Remember that you have 6 seconds?
You’ll want to do this all quickly.
You need a resume objective or resume summary.
But which one?
Don’t worry! We’ll go over the two now, and you’ll be able to pick the best one to appeal to any restaurants looking for servers.
Have experience earning tips for waitressing before?
Great! Then opt for the resume summary:
Here is an example of a head waitress resume summary:
Personable head waitress with 4+ years expertise in a fast-paced Italian restaurant. Achieved region-best culinary satisfaction rating according to national food critic (98.16%). Seeking to advance my career by growing with the Bahari Restaurant team.
I have been a head waitress for the last 4 years. In addition to my knowledge of various front-of-house duties (e.g., taking orders, dispatching food), I am also familiar with kitchen appliances and gourmet food recipes from helping the BOH staff.
Do you see the differences?
Take the “Wrong” one: it’s great that you were able to handle the duties at both the front and the back of the restaurant. However - and no disrespect - but who cares? You’re just listing regular restaurant tasks as if they were server accomplishments, which they aren’t.
In the first example, we give evidence of your waitress resume skills, achievements, and experience.
Writer’s block? If you’re having trouble getting started on your wait staff resume, check out this guide: How to Start a Resume: A Complete Guide With Tips & 15+ Examples
Craving more advice and examples of summaries for waitress resumes? Check out our guide: How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See
Don’t have experience working in the server’s position you’re applying for?
That’s fine. Many service industry resumes are in the same gravy boat.
Go with the waiter/waitress resume objective:
Here’s an example of an objective on a food service resume for a waiter job with no experience:
Diligent sous chef with 5+ years experience with small Greek restaurant. Obtained highest grades in food safety (100%) and blind taste tests (97.3%). Seeking to further food service career by growing with the Eataly team as the new server.
I am a Greek sous chef eager to become a waiter. I don’t have experience in Italian cuisine, but people often say that I am a quick learner. I am highly motivated because I enjoy Italian food and culture.
See the differences here?
Eataly is taking a bigger chance by hiring someone without experience - in this case, a sous chef for a waiter role and a Greek cuisine expert moving to Italian cuisine. You’ll need to show them that you have what it takes.
In the first one, we used some transferable skills from the Greek restaurant and some proud achievements for the win. The second one doesn’t show enough to hold the hiring manager’s appetite.
Pro Tip: Personalize your waiter/waitress resume by dropping the restaurant’s name into your resume summary or objective.
Hungry for more advice and examples of resume objectives for waitress resumes? Check out our guide: 20+ Resume Objective Examples - Use Them On Your Resume (Tips)
“Wow. I’m so glad I chose this!”
That’s not only what you’d like your diners to say upon tasting the food you serve them - it’s the reaction you want from the hiring manager when they look at your professional waiter resume.
To get there, you’ll rave about the experience on your resume in a way which tingles their taste buds like a tart pickled relish.
Held one or more waiting jobs before?
Great! You’ve got a head start. Still, pick the best server responsibilities that match the restaurant’s interests.
Nope! It’s as easy as a TV dinner. Take a look at these creative waiter/waitress resume samples:
Head Waitress / Server
Key Waitressing Qualifications & Responsibilities
Key Waitress Achievements
Waitress / Server
January 2013 - December 2016
Yakitori Taisho Restaurant, New York, NY
Key Waiter Responsibilities
See the differences?
The “wrong” example seems fine, at first - we explained your waiting duties and tasks. However, that’s just it: those were your everyday waiter/waitress resume responsibilities.
In the “right” example, we itemized your duties of waitresses and waiters with more detail, and then included achievement(s) with quantifiable numbers for the win.
Trade Trifles & Trivia: Waitress or server? “Waiter” (or “waitress”) is another word for “server.” “Server” is a newer term, and gets rid of the gender differentiation, but many people prefer to use “waiter” or “waitress” still, as they don’t have the negative connotation that “serving” does.
Looking for advice on how to make a resume and cover letter for other food service jobs? Check out our guides on how to make a fast food resume, how to make a chef resume, and how to make a barista resume.
Never been a waiter or waitress before?
No problem. We just need to find a way to show the restaurant that you’re worth your salt.
See what we did here?
At first, having a resume for a barista doesn’t seem too similar to a job waiting tables. But, we played up those duties and achievements which translate well into a job description for a resume for wait staff - whether for Michelin 3-star restaurant job applications or for your local happy place.
Pro Tip: Take some time to think about your past jobs. Which areas relate best to having strong waiting skills and techniques? Pick those for your wait staff resume.
Tailoring your food service resume is an absolute MUST. Read our dedicated guide: 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description (Examples)
But what if you have no past waiting experience? Not to worry! See this guide: How to Write a Resume with No Work Experience [A Complete Guide]
The education section - a waste of space, like sitting a party of 2 at an 8-top, right?
You’d better think again.
The education section is a valuable part of the perfect resume for servers. In the case of those without experience, the education section becomes the most important.
So, how should we put your education on your full- or part-time waitress/waiter resume?
Here’s how to include your degree on your server resume:
2008 Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Hospitality
Institute of Culinary Education, New York, NY
But what if you are still completing your university degree?
Here’s how to list a degree that is still in progress:
Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Hospitality
Institute of Culinary Education, New York, NY
Expected Graduation in 2020
And what if all you have is your high school diploma?
Not to worry!
List your high school, styling it like this:
Townsend Harris High School, Flushing, NY
Graduated in 2004
If you’ve completed a degree, skip listing your high school.
Pro Tip: On your waiter/waitress resume, when applicable, only include your GPA if it is as close to 4.0 as possible. Too low will hurt instead of help. We don’t want that!
Would you like some more ways on how you can make the best use of education on your waitress or waiter resume? Then check out: How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary or any other section. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.
Inside Uptowork's resume tool you will find tips and examples for your resume.
Two things make a restaurant manager sit right up: a five-star review from the local critic and . . .
A great wait staff resume.
So far, you’ve done a good job, but how can you make it great?
Let’s play up your hosting and serving skills and include the perfect ones for the best waiter resume.
A skills section on your resume for waiters or waitresses is like the garnish you add to dishes just before serving them - important, but only the right ones. You wouldn’t add basil sprigs around the side of a tiramisu, would you? Also, not too much and not too little.
How do we add just the right amount to describe your job experience?
First, make a list of some generic hard and soft skills to put on a resume for waitresses.
Hard skills are specific abilities and know-how (e.g., Drink Dispenser 5000). Soft skills are self-developed, life-learned attributes (e.g., people skills, adaptability).
Here are basic waiter/waitress resume skills examples:
|List of Skills for Waitressing & Waiting|
Waiting Resume Hard Skills
Wait Staff Resume Soft Skills
POS (Point of Sale) Systems
Cash & Credit Transactions
Dining Room Setup & Layout
Drink Dispenser 5000 Maintenance & Use
Restaurant Intercom Operation
Food Safety Consciousness
However! These are good skills for a resume - for average server resume examples.
You’re not average, right?
Don’t let your waiter resume be average, either. To make your resume unique, don’t just list these generic skills relevant to wait staff. Replace that weak sauce with something tangier.
It’s time to browse the wait staff job listing like the specials board, but instead of finding a deal on the dish you desire, you’ll underline resume keywords that match the restaurant manager’s appetite.
Pro Tip: Type a bunch of your skills for waiter resume(s) into an Excel column, with a number (1-10) of importance and restaurant relevance in the adjacent column. Then, filter the worst ones down like a fine colander until you have the best 5 or 6.
Ugh! So many waitress resume rules! Don’t worry, we’ve simplified them here: Resume Dos and Don'ts: 50+ Tips & Advice on Building Great Resumes
Server / Hostess / (Lower East Side)
FOH: Old Monk is a contemporary Indian Soul food restaurant located at East Village. We are seeking enthusiastic team players with knowledge of food, wines, beers, and spirits. Candidates must be passionate about hospitality and thrive in a fast-paced environment. We're looking for outgoing professionals with a desire to help us create a strong team and an enjoyable restaurant for both guests and staff alike. Basic knowledge of Indian cuisine  is preferred. Will train.
Qualifications (Waitress / Server)
TO APPLY, please reply via email with your resume file attached (PDF, DOCX, or DOC) and cover letter in the body of the email. Please do not copy and paste resume. Thanks!
See the skills on this server and host duties resume job description? Let me show you a few examples:
See the differences between the two?
In the second one, your laziness is obvious - you just googled “what to put on a resume for waitressing skills” and stuck the results in.
Bland as a tough, unseasoned steak.
In the first one, you look like the perfect dish - just the one the restaurant manager was looking to serve dining guests.
Don’t have the right skills, and you could miss out on your ideal job opportunity. See our guide: 30+ Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)
Contact info, got it. Experience, check. Education, Objective, Skills - yes, yes, and yes.
You’ve got all the primary ingredients, but it’s missing a certain something.
Let’s add in a dash of our secret ingredient: extra resume sections.
Why is that? Extra sections make resumes for restaurant servers more unique. Everybody puts their name, experience, and skills. This is where you’ll list relevant things that you’re proud of.
See what’s wrong here?
You have every right to be proud of these accomplishments - hell, I would be. However, they’re just not relevant for a server resume.
But which ones are right?
I’ll go over some of the most popular additional sections for your resume for waitressing or waiting jobs now, along with some better, more relevant examples.
Volunteering on a resume looks great.
Helped reconstruct damaged homes after Typhoon Tammy swept through? You are a hero and a saint! However, it isn’t relevant for your restaurant server resume. Check out a better example:
Like the perfect wine, here are interests and hobbies that would pair well with a resume for waiters or waitresses:
Team sports show that you function well on a team, an important trait for the fast environment of a popular eating establishment. The food blogging and restaurant reviewing show that you are knowledgeable about foods and what makes an eatery great.
Voted “employee with most-hipsterish beard” three years in a row? Impressive! But not as relevant as:
Professional certifications are proof you have the knowledge and skills to do the waiter job right. Don’t list them the right way, and you can kiss your chances goodbye. See this article for more: How to List Certifications on a Resume: Guide (+20 Examples)
Know another language? That could be very helpful on a waitress or waiter resume, and maybe a necessity. Knowing another language is like understanding the ins and outs of both French cuisine and Japanese.
Pro Tip: Don’t add too many extra sections on your resume for servers. Add only enough extra sections to fill the rest of the current resume page - not more that it spills over onto a new one.
Extra sections are great, but you can’t just add all of them. Read our guide to choose the best ones for your waiter or waitress job: 20+ Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests To Put on a Resume (5 Tips)
Would you serve a surf-and-turf without one of those little lobster crackers to get inside that claw?
A food industry resume without its cover letter is the same thing - not ready to serve.
45% of recruiters say they will reject a resume without a cover letter. That’s about HALF.
You’ve taken your time on your wait staff resume garnishing the entree, adding the sides, and constructing a nice presentation.
Now we have to order up a great wait staff cover letter before serving it all to the restaurant manager.
Here are a few flavorful tips to deliver a cover letter for restaurant servers they’ll just eat up:
When your fancy dinner is ready, would you want them to call out, “Hey you!”?
Of course not.
Neither do restaurant managers.
Do like a 5-star restaurant with VIP guests and address them by name in the waiter or waitress cover letter.
Mention something about the restaurant that you relate to. You dropped their name and caught their attention - now seal the deal with this next personalization.
Be witty. Be charming. Be clever.
Positively grab their attention - it will mean more than degrees and certifications you list in your food and beverage resume template.
Pro Tip: Research the restaurant online and mention something in particular that stands out to you. This is something your server resume can’t include and will really catch their eye!
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it might look like:
See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.
Whether you’re a career waitress or pursuing a waiter career, if you’ve followed this guide, you should have a food service or fine dining resume that is the crème de la crème.
Personalize, Personalize, Personalize. The restaurant will be accepting applications by the baker’s dozen. Address them by name in your waitress or waiter cover letter. Mention the restaurant in the heading. Make yours stand out.
You want to join them, so make them need you. You’re eager to take this server job, so be all in. Garnish it with action verbs and impressive achievements to wow them. Paint the best picture of yourself.
Double- and triple-check. Spend an extra few minutes making sure that your FOH resume and cover letter are up to par. Did they ask you to include a particular phrase in the email subject line? Are your email and restaurant cover letter addressed to the right manager or partner?
You now should have a great resume for wait staff jobs that’s ready to be served to even the most discerning hiring managers. Time to attach the final cover letter and resume to an email and send it off.
Have any culinary questions on how to write a waitress resume? Not sure how to describe your waiter skills or achievements? Get at us in the comments below and we’ll answer your restaurant questions. Thanks for reading!
"Career advice, I've researched and read it, Then I try to write it better than anyone's said it, Once I am finished with all of my edits, You'll have a job, and I'll take some of the credit." Hey there! I'm Christian, a New Yorker and a writer of career advice at Uptowork. As an avid traveler and amateur poet, I also write for a travel website and dabble in doggerel in my spare time.