How to apply for a restaurant job.

April 14, 2010

We just did some hiring and I am surprised by the quality of some of the resumes and applicants. Here’s my advice on How to apply for a restaurant job:

1.  Please update your resume.  It doesn’t take but a minute.

2.  I would encourage restaurant employees to stick out their current job and all jobs for a least a year before moving on.  I do not spend a lot of time looking over employees that are not at their jobs at least that long.  If you have a difficult situation and you can not stand where you are, that’s ok, but be prepared to explain.

3.  Please include exact dates of employment down to the month.  When an applicant states that they worked at a place in 2006, my eyes start to glaze over.  See above.

4.  When applying for a line position or server’s position, please update the objective line on your resume and delete the references to leadership, creativity and general manager qualifications.  I’m not looking for that.  That’s my job.  I am reluctant to hire someone who is overqualified because 19 times out of 20, they will leave in a very short time.   If you are looking for a line position because you want to retrain yourself as I did many years ago and can honestly commit to a year, then be that should be your objective.

5.  Include and have ready professional references.  What I’m really looking for is the name and phone number of your most recent supervisors or their HR departments.  I will be calling the establishments, not the cell phone number of your friends.

6.  Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.  Dress nicely, though a suit is not necessarily appropriate for a restaurant kitchen job.  Bring a copy of your resume.  You may have emailed it already, but I probably did not print it.

7.  Do not lie about your salaries or wages at your previous jobs.  Sometimes a previous employer will give that information and the fact that you lied on your signed application is grounds for dismissal and a bad attitude by me.

8.  Don’t call the restaurant to see if they are hiring.  I will not chew you out, but it is unprofessional.  Just bring by a resume or even better…write me a cover letter and put it in the mail with your resume.  Remember the mail?  I will open it, read it and if I don’t have a position open now, I will file it.  If it comes in the form of email, it is very easy to delete.

9.  In the interview process, do not speak badly about a previous employer.  Most restaurant communities are very small and the owners know one another and generally like one another.

10.  Do not ask the interviewer out on a date.  This happened to my old Chef de Cuisine once and though she was very pretty and nice, she was extremely pissed off….and married.

******A postscript:  during the interview, don’t talk too much.

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