Working as a server (or waiter/waitress) can be both physically and mentally demanding, but it can also be very rewarding. Long shifts on your feet takes physical stamina, and working regularly with customers, remembering orders, and completing other responsibilities during your shift takes exceptional customer service, communication skills and teamwork.
On the other hand, working with other servers and staff, developing relationships with customers, and being in a fast-paced environment can be rewarding, exciting and even fun.
If you’re applying for a server position, knowing how to structure your resume and what you should list and call out, including education, skills and objectives, can help your resume get noticed and selected and an interview scheduled.
How to structure your server resume
When formatting your resume for a server position, you should include:
A summary/career objective
Relevant work history, including the company, dates worked, and brief description of the duties performed
Relevant skills for the role
Most serving positions don’t require formal education, so you likely don’t need to list that on your resume (unless the job description lists a formal education requirement, in which case you should include relevant education).
When creating your resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job description to ensure you include all relevant keywords, skills and experience that shows you are the best candidate. By tailoring your objective and resume to the job description, it’s more likely it will make it through any applicant tracking system software and to the desk of the hiring manager.
Server job description
Servers are responsible for serving food and drinks to customers and ensuring they have a positive and pleasant dining experience. Servers are often the primary point of contact for customers, and the majority of their role focuses on providing exceptional customer service.
However, taking care of customers is not a server’s only task. They also perform a number of other cleaning, organizing, stocking and management responsibilities.
Server roles can look different depending on the type of restaurant and company for which they work. Generally, the job description for a server can include duties such as:
Accurately take and record food and drink orders from customers
Enter orders into a point of sale (POS) or computer system for transmittance to kitchen or bar staff
Engage with customers in a friendly, positive manner
Ensure customers are enjoying their meals and resolve any customer complaints or problems throughout your shift
Prepare checks and process customer payments, including cash and credit cards
Help food preparation staff, hostesses, and bussing staff when necessary
Assist customers during their dining experience
Prepare and clean tables and maintain a sanitary and safe dining area
Restock items such as cups, napkins, straws, and silverware
Most serving roles don’t have a formal education requirement. Many restaurants will hire servers as long as they’ve completed some high school, though others may require a high school diploma or GED.
Some states, including Washington, Oregon, Honolulu, and Alaska, require certification for those who serve alcohol. If you live in one of these states, you should list this certification on your resume if you have it. Or, include it as “completion upon hire.”
You may want to outline your education on your resume like the following:
XYZ High School
High School Diploma
American Safety Council
Alcohol Server Training - Class 12
When listing your education, here are a few tips:
Consider leaving off the years you attended or your graduation date. Typically, that’s not as important unless you’re still pursuing your degree. In that case, be clear your education is in progress. For example,
High School Diploma; anticipated completion May 2022
List the order of your education with the highest level first. For example, if you have a Bachelor’s degree and high school diploma, list the Bachelor’s degree first, followed by your diploma.
If you have additional certifications or training other than mandatory alcohol training, list them in their section with the heading “Additional Certifications.” Include the organization that provided the certification, the title, and the date of completion or renewal.
Unless you’re a recent graduate or it’s a requirement for the role, you don’t need to include your high school education.
What to include on your resume for a server
Typically, a server resume will list the education or formal training you have that makes you most qualified for the role.
Then, in the work experience section, you’ll want to include duties related to the job description, such as:
Ensured quality service for up to X customers per shift
Provided menu training to other serving staff and bartenders
Resolved customer complaints and issues promptly to ensure satisfaction and return rates
Ensured inventory was stocked appropriately for each shift, and informed management when the stock was low
Assisted bar, kitchen, and host staff to help ensure smooth operations of the restaurant during busy times
The experience and skills you list should be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Try to go beyond simply listing duties you’ve performed, and instead show both duties and achievements with examples or numbers to support the statements.
Server skills and traits for a resume
There are many skills and traits you could list on your resume for a server position. Here are a few to choose from to get you started:
Foodservice and regulations knowledge
Alcohol beverage rules and regulations
Quality awareness and assurance
Most training and skills needed to be successful as a server comes through on-the-job experience. When working as a server, you learn how to perform the tasks you’re responsible for while also following employer policies and procedures.
If you have a previous serving or restaurant experience, be sure to list it on your resume. If you don’t, you can still highlight the experience and skills you may have that make you a great candidate for the position. Look at the experience (volunteer or employment) you have and determine which of the above skills were learned or improved upon, and list those on your resume.
Action verbs to include on a server resume
Should I include references in my server resume?
Your resume is a professional representation of your career qualifications and skills that make you an ideal candidate. As a general rule, avoid including references in your resume unless they are specifically asked for. This is information that tends to distract hiring managers from the information you want them to see, and it can take up valuable space on the page.
If references are requested, you can include them on your resume or as a separate document. Be sure to list the name, job title, company, email address, and phone number for each reference.
Server resume objectives
A career objective, also known as a resume objective or summary, is a brief statement toward the top of your resume that explains your professional goals and intentions for applying to a job. In 1 to 3 sentences, you should mention the job title, add a couple of key skills, and share what you’re hoping to achieve in the job.
Server with X years of experience taking care of customers and providing exceptional customer service seeking a position with XYZ company.
Highly-motivated individual looking for an entry-level server position to enable the use of outgoing personality, multitasking skills, and customer service with XYZ company.
Detail-oriented and passionate server with X years of experience looking for a position with XYZ company to provide excellent customer service and maintain high standards of care and cleanliness.
Friendly server with a lot of restaurant experience. Interested in opening for a server position at XYZ company.
Listing skills and traits that make you an excellent candidate are important but try to be more specific than “friendly” or other personality traits. Additionally, quantify your years of experience instead of saying things like “a lot” or “much.”
Hardworking server with experience taking care of customers.
This is another example where you should quantify your years of experience as a server. Additionally, build upon those traits and skills and list those that are most important and relevant to this role or company. Use this space to grab the attention of the hiring manager so they read your resume.
Individual with no experience seeking a position as a server for XYZ company, but willing to complete on-the-job training.
Not all server positions require prior experience, but you shouldn’t call out your lack of experience in the objective. Instead, throughout your resume, list out other roles and responsibilities at past jobs, volunteer work, or other tasks you’ve done that could be relatable to working as a server.