“You should never write your own resume, personal ad, or obituary. In all three cases it is better to show your humility by letting someone else lie for you.”
Every since picking up a copy of Peter’s Quotations in high school it has been a personal goal of mine to quote myself in something I wrote. I can now check that one of the bucket list. Contrary to the impression I give writing this blog, I am actually a pretty humble guy. I consider humility an attribute. In most cases it serves a person well. Writing a resume is not one of those cases.
Writing a successful resume requires the writer to place the most positive spin on their achievements possible. This does not mean lying, but rather fully accentuating the positive. There is no room for humility in resume writing. It is assumed by the reader that a resume contains a fair amount of exaggeration. If you do not include that exaggeration, your humility will be mistaken for it.
I recently was asked by a friend to take a look at her resume. She had a big interview coming up and wanted to have a fresh set of eyes to take a look over it. I determined at this point there are two types of people in this world: those who edit and those who write. I write, but am not so strong on the editing side (as many of you who read regularly have gathered). I returned to her what I consider a very strong server resume. She gave me permission to share parts of it with you and I think it can provide some inspiration for anyone writing their own.
The Objective: I have seen a wide variety of objectives on resumes. Most of them miss the point. The purpose of an objective is to inform the reader that your mindset matches theirs. This is not about talking about your life objectives. Instead it is to demonstrate that you want to make their business better, which is what they are hoping for in a new hire. Here is the revised objective that I copied directly from my resume:
“To utilize my extensive serving experience and leadership skills to improve the profitability and overall service level of an outstanding restaurant.”
Experience: This is where humility is a killer. You need to define the specific duties you performed at your previous jobs. Do not assume that a manager automatically understands the duties of a “closer” at your previous restaurant. This is your opportunity to accentuate where you feel you excelled at you former establishments. The layout here should be very concise and almost formulaic. I prefer to start each of these sentences with a verb. It keeps it crisp and concise. Also pay close attention to verb tenses. Here are the descriptions I used on her resume:
Provided exceptional service to guests in both a fine dining and cocktail environment.
Trained dining and cocktail servers to meet high standards of guest service.
Received numerous written guest compliments and commendations.
Delivered prompt and efficient service in a hectic and crowded environment.
Demonstrated above average leadership and support skills to co-workers in a high volume establishment.
Excelled in a highly structured fine dining establishment with rigorous standards.
Developed a balance between being able to follow leadership and providing it when needed.
Related Experience/Skills: Traditional resume formats fail servers when it comes to relating the actual skills you bring to a restaurant. Since there is no recognized degree to qualify you to be a server, an education section is far less necessary. I personally save that for the application. Instead take advantage of this space to talk about what you bring to the table as a server. This allows you to better inform the reader. While in the previous section I used verbs in the past tense, these should all be in present tense. If you have a significant number of previous employers, consider a second page that lists them in the same format as your resume, but without the job descriptions. In this resume, here are the related skills:
Learns all aspects of new menus and specialties and rapidly develop descriptions that sell them to guests.
Develops rapport and respect among coworkers based upon actions and work ethic.
Fosters lasting relationships with customers through a hospitality driven approach to serving.
Continues to expand on an already vast knowledge of cocktails, alcohol, and wine.
Leads by example and raises the standards of co-workers.
Desires the opportunity to take on new challenges and produce results.
Always keep in mind that a resume represents you. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Failing to adhere to the rules of resume writing will make the reader question your ability to follow their rules if given the job. Keep it simple, concise, and powerful. Take advantage of the opportunity to brag about you. If you cannot, let someone else do it for you.
Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comment section. Any hiring managers want a copy of my resume? Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can never have too many humble servers like myself around.
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