So you want to work in a restaurant .. or perhaps you already are working at one, but are looking for better opportunities. Have you taken a self-assessment to see how you would stack up against other candidates vying for the same job?
Restaurant jobs can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re not afraid of hard work, long hours and are willing to accept low pay. Whether you’re interested in working in the kitchen or serving food to the customers, a career in the hospitality industry can be a great opportunity.
According to the National Restaurant Association, there will be 1.9 million new restaurant jobs created by 2016, and one of them might be “the one”you’re looking for. But in order to be competitive with other applicants, you need to know how to present yourself during the application and interview process so that you stand out from everyone else.
It’s been said that you should consider your resume as an appetizer before the entree ” if it’s too big, you won’t be able to get to the main course, which is the interview. What this means is that you should keep your resume short and sweet. List all of your relevant culinary and work experience, but leave out the unrelated jobs, extracurricular activities and hobbies. If you’re applying for an entry-level job, stress your customer service and people skills in any of your past jobs. Keep your resume on one page. You want to tantalize the prospective employer to the point where you receive an invitation for a face-to-face interview.
Be prepared to showcase your talents and skills, not just talk about them. If you are interested in a position in the kitchen at a finer restaurant, as either a chef or sous-chef, you may be asked to prepare a meal as part of the selection process. Showing what you can do ” not just talking about it ” will convince the owner or manager whether or not you are a good fit for the job.
Be honest about your experience. It should be understood that you should never lie on a resume or when answering interview questions, but restaurant managers have reported that stretching the truth has become more frequent, especially as competition for key positions becomes more intense. So be prepared to back up any claims with documentation. This includes having at two or three solid references who are willing to attest to your skills.
Do research about whatever restaurant at which you are interested in working. Study their menu, understand their clientele and stop in for a meal, preferably during off-peak hours. This will give you a chance to chat with the staff or even the manager or executive chef. Sometimes showing interest is all you need to get your foot in the door.
Prepare answers for any questions that you might be asked. Some of the key questions they will likely throw at you include:
How much do you know about our restaurant?
Why do you want to work here?
What skills can you bring to the job?
Why did you leave your last job (or why do you want to leave your current job)?
What hours are you willing to work?
Restaurants are looking for bright, articulate and energetic individuals who understand the importance of customer service, whether you’re preparing the food or taking it to the table. If you fit the bill, then one of those 1.9 million available new jobs will be yours.
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