There has always been some debate over whether or not waitressing is relevant for a business professional’s resume. While it’s not as relevant as many other experiences, my waitressing job has taught me enough that I would be happy to discuss it in any interview.
The first thing waitressing helped me to develop was my people skills. I’ve always been a people person I think, but being a waitress means you deal with a new type of person every night… The person that is on their phone through the whole meal. The couple that is actually in love and it’s cute. The dad that tries to joke with you (I’ve perfected my polite laugh). The family that actually vibes with you and you enjoy serving. The woman that complains about everything. The man that orders for his girlfriend (a salad) (gentleman here’s a tip for me: it’s only romantic if you’re ordering me a filet). The pre-teens that haven’t yet learned how to tip. I feel like I’ve met every type of person imaginable, and it’s fun to learn how to interact with each of them according to their personality. Sometimes my jokes don’t land, and I’ve learned to recover quickly from that. Meeting new people every night requires perfecting the art of small talk, which will be invaluable for me down the line.
I’ve also learned how to work with different types of managers. At the risk of one of my managers discovering this blog, I will refrain from going too much into detail here. But I will say it has been very interesting for me to work under three individual managers with very different (and very strong) personalities. Different not only from each other’s, but from my own personality as well.
Waitressing has also taught me about multi-tasking and time management. To be efficient, I have to be doing multiple things at once, and timing is everything. There is a method to the madness of serving 4 different tables 4 courses at the correct time. This will be helpful in an office setting, when I’m working on multiple projects for various clients.
I have also learned about flexibility and teamwork. My scheduling manager has been so flexible with me in regards to my school schedule, and in return I’ve tried to be flexible with their needs. If someone needs to trade a shift and I can make it work, I’ll do it. If my boss needs me to come in at a different time or get cut early, I’ll be understanding. Within the actual job as well, it is important to be a team player because everyone needs help at some point in the night. Because one table will order 3 side Caesar salads and a milkshake and you will not be able to do it all.
Lastly, I think I’ve really learned how to be gracious. Not graceful, don’t misread that, I’m still so clumsy. But gracious to coworkers who accidentally take the bread basket I just cut, or gracious to the customer who sends back their salmon for being “too fishy.” Patience has never been my strong suit, but this job is forcing me to roll with the punches and be more understanding.
This has been one of my favorite jobs, and while it isn’t featured on my resume, it is front and center on my Linkedin (due to the fact that for once in my college career it is the only job I’m working). I would happily convince any HR manager to hire based on my experience at Baratta’s Italian restaurant.