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How to Write a Successful Hospitality Resume – Template Included
Deb Ward / JUNE 24 2021

The hospitality industry offers plenty of dynamic opportunities to start and grow your professional career. But, how can you stand out from the crowd of applicants to get the interview and the job offer? It starts with your application and your resume. Using these tips, you’ll be able to create a resume that’s strong and professional and will increase your chances of getting that great job.

  1. First, read the job description very carefully and possibly, more than once. Make sure you understand the duties and requirements of the position clearly so you can target your experience and skills specific to what the hiring manager is looking for. 
  2. Then, focus directly on highlighting your most important achievements and responsibilities, using bullet points. The recruiter will likely skim your resume, so make it easy for them to spot the important details.
  3. Remember to keep it short…. one page, if possible.  Even if you have extensive experience, most jobs don’t require a long description of duties. Many of them overlap, so just hit the highlights.
  4. Write a strong summary.  Here’s where you provide the “special sauce” of what makes you the best candidate for this job. In two or three sentences, share what skills you bring and how they apply to this job. It can be one of the hardest parts of the resume to write, but it’s important to be authentic and specific. an example of a summary is: “Experienced hospitality professional, with extraordinary interpersonal skills. Committed to excellent customer service. Refined leader and a team player. Up-to-date training in safety and cleaning procedures.”
  5. In the body of your resume, list your experiences in bullet points, and tailor this every time to the job you’re applying for. Be sure you refer to the specific duties listed in the job description and incorporate some of the keywords from the listing. If you are applying for a front desk agent position and the job description mentions problem-solving skills, make sure to include those two specific words and an example of how you problem-solved in a previous job.
  6. In the qualifications section, you’ll list your education, any certifications, and relevant courses you’ve taken. It could be something like a First Aid course or something regarding the “Responsible Service of Alcohol” webinar you attended online. AHLEI and ServSafe also have a slew of hospitality-related courses you can take to be certified for specific skills that relate to your career path.
  7. Finally, add the “personal touch” that shows your soft skills. These are often hard to document, but attitude and personality are critically important in hospitality when dealing with guests and your team. List some projects or volunteer work you’ve done that demonstrates your willingness and ability to work well with others.

Needless to say, ensure that your resume is free from any typos or grammatical mistakes and that it flows logically from one section to another. Save it to a .pdf as well as an editable format so you can tailor it later to other job opportunities.

Remember, your mission is to get the hiring manager interested enough to offer you an interview. It’s not enough to just list your skills…you need to demonstrate them with real examples. Even if you have minimal experience at this point, draw out as many transferrable skills as possible:  have you used a cash register or worked with the public in a retail environment?  Did you serve in a volunteer event where you provided attendees with great customer service? Show that you’re passionate about the hospitality industry and ready to learn. 

Here are some top hospitality skills that you should aim to acquire and highlight on your resume:

  • Communication: Number one on any hospitality skills list is the ability to actively listen and communicate clearly with guests. Everything you say must convey a positive, constructive message that enhances the customer experience. That goes for your team as well…communication makes or breaks whether your work goes smoothly.
  • Resilience/Adaptability: Hospitality is a very dynamic experience…every day is different and you have to be able to go with the flow. It can be stressful dealing with changing shifts, multitasking, and demanding customers and you have to maintain a professional image and continue to be effective.
  • Initiative: Employers want to know that you’re actively responding to a customer’s needs and always looking for ways to improve their experience. It’s a skill that impresses your guests and can favorably impact whether this guest becomes a repeat customer.
  • Attention to detail: This can be a critical skill especially in the restaurant business where an allergy concern can become a life or death issue for a guest. Good attention to detail will keep the service flowing smoothly and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Cultural awareness: This skill is vital in the hospitality industry. You will encounter people from all over the world who have different beliefs, values, and expectations and you’ll have to be adaptable and accommodating. 
  • Compliance training: No matter what area of the hospitality industry you choose, you’ll have to receive certain types of training to comply with local and national laws. You’ll find a variety of food hygiene and health and safety courses online here. It’s up to you to learn and apply these skills to your role.

Regardless of which sector of hospitality you’re pursuing, the bottom line skills that employers are seeking include customer service, attention to detail, teamwork, communication, and excellent people skills. Enthusiasm and leadership go a long way toward advancing your career and help you stand out from the competition.