Back On Track With Your Resume: Making Sure All Work Experience is Relevant to Your Job Search
When you're looking for a new job in the hospitality industry, you should spend some time thinking about the best way to showcase your past experience to a potential new employer on your resume. Should you list your experiences by chronology, or do more to highlight your most relevant experience first, regardless of timeline? Here's what you should consider:
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.
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 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.
For example, 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.