Back On Track With Your Resume: Making Sure All Work Experience is Relevant to Your Job Search
Paulette LeBlanc had always enjoyed cooking as well as interacting with people. When a job as a chef’s assistant and guest greeter at a boutique inn came up, she knew this was the position for her. Trouble was, LeBlanc’s experience was all over the map, from retailing in a clothing store to working in an airline ticket office and then being a stay-at-home mother in early retirement.
At first glance, a resume written in the traditional chronological style would seem unfocused for the position at the Little Shemogue Inn.
But LeBlanc’s experience was, in fact, ideal for the job posting. “I knew my experience was always working with the public, since I was a teenager,” she says. “I’m used to dealing with people and their complaints.” She simply needed a way to communicate on her resume in such a way that all of her work experience would be relevant to her hospitality job search.
Two types of resumes
There are two main formats for resumes, says recruiter Peter Shrive of Cambridge Management Planning:
1. The Chronological, Reverse Order Resume.
This traditional document lists your employers, activities and job experience from most to least current. The problem with this format is it makes job seekers with work gaps or seemingly irrelevant experience look scattered, unfocused, and ill-equipped to handle life in the hospitality industry.
2. The Functional Resume.
The focus in this resume is firmly on your accomplishments, achievements and significant developments in your career. The functional style also allows a job seeker, like Paulette LeBlanc, to highlight her talents, such as strong customer service skills, which cross many different disciplines.
Says Peter Shrive,“When it comes to the hospitality industry, it doesn’t matter if you’re a server, travel consultant, sommelier or front desk clerk. The bottom line is that you’re in the customer service or sales business. The mechanics of the responsibilities in these businesses can be readily learned.”
Functional resume structure
Here’s how a job seeker like LeBlanc might talk about her experience on her resume:
- Contact information at the top.
- List of successes, anecdotes with quantified examples.
- Then a brief recap of places where you’ve worked.
As Shrive says, “You might have worked for an airline. Let a prospective employer know you were a competent travel agent, similar to being a front desk clerk.”
- Number of guests welcomed in a shift.
- Number of guests handled in a day.
- Increase in sales generated.
- Size of the operation where you worked.
- Number and types of customer service “situations” defused on the job.
- Other examples of meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
- Number of people who reported to you.
- Increased experience supervising others.
- Work rosters developed for all staff.
- Handling of payroll.
- Helping recruit new employees.
This information should appear front and center on the first page of your resume, along with highlights of any relevant achievements, while your employment history should be listed briefly and simply on the second page.
For many careers in the hospitality industry, a breadth of experience across different industries need not be a door-closer. If you think of the hospitality industry in terms of sales and customer service, it will change your entire mindset when you structure your resume.