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Real Restaurant Server Resume Critique | How to Fix Common Resume Mistakes

This is the first article in a Resume.com Career Center series that will critique common mistakes in real resumes. This article reviews and breaks down common weaknesses in restaurant server resumes. Learning how to spot, fix, and overcome realistic resume problems will help you write a better resume when you’re looking for a new job.

If you’re looking for a restaurant server resume sample and resume builder, click here. 

With restaurants accounting for nearly 10% of the US workforce, a massive number of job seekers will need to write a restaurant server resume sometime during our lives.  

Being able to spot common mistakes in a restaurant server resume, and knowing how to fix them in your own job application, will increase your chances of getting called back for an interview — whether you’re applying to work as a restaurant server, or to work in any other industry.

This article will critique a real restaurant server resume, show you its weaknesses, and teach you how to fix them so you can write the best server resume possible.

This restaurant server resume critique will cover:

    • Real flawed restaurant server resume critique
    • Common restaurant server resume weaknesses
    • Practical solutions to improve your restaurant server resume

After reading this guide, you will be equipped with the tools to review and edit your own restaurant server resume, so you can impress the next hiring manager that reads it.

Real Restaurant Server Resume Critique

Check out this real-life resume of a restaurant server that has 5 years of experience.

This resume might look great at first, but there are a few important mistakes that this job seeker has made that may cause them to lose out on the call for an interview.

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes…. Can you see where the resume weaknesses are?

flawed restaurant server resume example

How To Fix Common Mistakes In This Resume 

Let’s critique the mistakes in this resume down, section by section.

Common Mistakes In A Resume Header

One of the most important sections of a resume is the resume header. Most restaurant servers write their name, location, and address, but leave out a few key pieces of information.

A full and correct header contains your full name, job title, email address, phone number, city, state, and zip code. Leaving any of these out reduces your chance of getting past applicant tracking systems. Applicant tracking systems, also known as ATS, are automatic resume scanners that are built into online job application systems.

When writing your job title in the header, make sure the title aligns with the title of the job you are applying to. For example, if a job posting says ‘restaurant server’, put ‘restaurant server’ at the top of your resume. If a job posting says ‘sports bar server’, write ‘sports bar server’ at the top of your resume.

Always double-check your email address to make sure hiring managers will be able to contact you. Typically, if a hiring manager is interested, they will give you a call first and then follow up with an email.

For your address, it is extremely important to put your city, state, and zip code. Many states in the US have identical city names. You don’t want to leave a hiring manager wondering if you live in Orlando – Kentucky, Orlando – Oklahoma, Orlando – West Virginia, or Orlando – Florida. Yes, these are all real places!

Applicant tracking systems also use zip codes to flag your resume as within the correct geographic area.

Let’s check out our current resume header and an example of how to fix it.

Beforerestaurant server resume - common mistakes - weak resume header

Afterrestaurant server resume - common mistakes - strong resume header

Common Mistakes In A Resume Objective 

About five years ago, the objective section on a resume was replaced by a professional summary. In today’s job market, resume objectives are deemed unnecessary, because it is assumed you are interested in a company and role when you submit your application.

The resume objective was formerly used to explain the types of jobs you are interested in. Today, the professional summary section that is in its place provides an overview of who you are professionally, what you have done in the past, and what makes you different.

Your resume summary should be written in 3rd person, not 1st person. This means you should never use the words ‘my’, ‘I’, ‘us’ or ‘we’.

For restaurant servers, a professional summary should include:

    • An adjective to describe your personality or work style
    • Your job title
    • Your years of experience
    • The cuisines you are familiar with
    • The category of restaurants that you have worked in (fast food, fast-casual, casual, or fine dining)
    • Selling points about what makes you an amazing server

Let’s check out our old resume objective and then see how it can be written as a professional summary section.

Before

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - weak resume objective

After

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - strong resume objective resume summary

Common Resume Mistakes In Summary of Skills

The summary of skills section summarizes your unique abilities that are explained throughout your resume. Skills are either considered to be hard skills or soft skills by employers.

Another important function of your summary of skills section is to help you get past those applicant tracking systems. When applicant tracking systems scan through your resume, they are looking for specific keywords. Although the keywords are different for every job posting, they are generally the top skills that a hiring manager is looking for.

To make sure your resume gets flagged as qualified, you need to make sure your summary of skills section is written as an easy-to-scan list of keywords, rather than in sentence form. You can learn more about how to list skills in your resume here

Let’s review our current summary of skills section and see how it can be improved to get past those applicant tracking systems.

Before

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - weak skills

After

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - strong skills

Employment History – Restaurant Server Resume Mistakes

Lack of Restaurant Descriptions

For restaurant server resumes, each position in your employment history section should with a description of the type of restaurant you worked in. The size, cuisine, and style of restaurants vary greatly and hiring managers will give preference to servers who are already comfortable with their type of service.

When describing the restaurants you have worked in, include:

    • The size of the restaurant (# of seats)
    • The style of service (fast food, fast-casual, casual, or fine dining)
    • The type of cuisine served
    • The type of alcohol provided (beer & wine or full bar)

Our current resume has no restaurant descriptions. To fix this, let’s go through and add restaurant descriptions in.

Passive Voice

For each bullet point in your position description, use an active voice to help hiring managers envision you performing the job.

For example, instead of writing ‘work with co-workers and supervisors’, you would write ‘working with co-workers and supervisors’. Writing with an active voice makes your bullet points sound like actions, rather than like a job description.

As you can see in our current resume, the writer uses a combination of active and passive voice. To correct this, we need to go through and make sure all verbs end in -ing.

Inconsistent Writing

When writing a restaurant server resume, consistency is key. Make sure to write each bullet point in the same format, starting with an action verb for each.

As you can see in our current resume, the writer varies between active and passive voice and between past tense and present tense. To correct this, we need to go through and make sure the writing is consistent.

Inconsistent Formatting

Consistency is just as important for formatting as it is for writing.

In our current resume, we can see that some bullet points start with a capital letter, while others don’t. We can also see that some bullet points end in a period, while others don’t have one. To fix this, let’s go through and make sure each bullet point starts with a capital letter and that we remove the periods at the end of our sentences.  

Lack of Evidence

One of the most common mistakes in a restaurant server resume is the lack of evidence, which should usually be in the form of numbers or metrics. Hiring managers need to know how many guests you serve per shift to know if you can handle the volume in their restaurant.

As you can see in our current resume, we don’t have any metrics in our position descriptions. To fix this, let’s go through and add metrics and numbers for the number of customers, number of co-workers, and number of employees we have trained.

First-Person Writing

Just like for our professional summary, the rest of our resume should also be written in third-person. This means we never use the words ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘my’, or ‘us’.

Our current resume starts with ‘I’ for a few bullet points. To fix this, let’s go through and make sure everything is written in 3rd person.

Before

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - weak employment history

After

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - strong employment history

Education Mistakes In Server Resumes

For restaurant server resumes, it is important to include your major in your education section. If you graduated within the past 2 years, it is also important to add your GPA (if you did well in school).

A general rule of thumb is to include your G.P.A. if it is a 3.0 or higher. Anything below a 3.0, you can leave off.

As you can see in our current resume, we don’t include our major or our G.P.A. Let’s go through and add those in.

Before

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - weak education

After

restaurant server resume - common mistakes - strong education

Server Resume Formatting Problems

When crafting your restaurant server resume, take advantage of the completed restaurant server resume sample and create a free resume using the ‘blue skies’ or ‘van deco’ resume templates. The strong header and professional summary sections allow your resume to be easily scanned by applicant tracking systems.

The beautiful thing about using these templates is that you only need to worry about the content. The formatting is already done for you.

Improved Restaurant Server Resume (Complete)

Let’s take a peek at our new and improved restaurant server resume built using the ‘blue skies’ template. Here is the improved restaurant server example, after all our changes:
restaurant server resume - common mistakes - improved finished server resumeStart writing your new resume with the free restaurant server resume sample and template here!

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