To land work in the hospitality industry, try these CV tips.

2020 was a challenge for us all. However, if you work in customer service, the pandemic may have hit you especially hard. In March 2020, more than 800,000 Brits unceremoniously lost their jobs, according to the BBC; the report suggests that the hospitality sector was one of the worst affected. Going from a busy schedule of shift-work to zilch is a difficult transition. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

With the British economy slowly but surely reopening, the hospitality jobs market is set to recover. Last month, Pizza Express announced that they would be creating 1,000 more jobs in the near future. Restaurants have opened up, and if all goes to plan, all social distancing restrictions will be eased as of 21 June.

So, are you looking for a new job? Ahead of these important milestones, you might want to start applying for hospitality roles. If you're ready to dust off your CV and give it a whirl, we've got you covered. Follow our advice on how to create a winning hospitality application.

1. Read the job posting closely

Not all hospitality jobs are created equal. Working in Costa may be quite a different experience (and require a different skill set) from working in a local cafe. Before you put figurative pen to paper and start writing your CV, you need to make sure you read the job posting closely. Look out for specific skills that the employer highlights and consider how your professional experience complements them. It may help to make notes whilst reading the job posting so you can refer to them when writing your CV.

Then, try using the exact phrases that you find in the job posting. For example, if the advert asks for a 'team player', use that phrase precisely, rather than saying that you're 'good at teamwork'. It's a small difference. However, if the employer is using an applicant tracking system, which uses keywords to filter applicants, this change could help you get past it. Put simply, that means you will have a better chance of landing that all-important interview.

2. Show some personality in your personal statement

Hospitality is all about personality. Therefore, showing that you're a people person on your CV is a smart way to stand out from the crowd. Luckily, you can use the personal statement towards the top of the document to do just that.

There are plenty of ways to slide in some personality and show a potential employer that you are the right person for the job. For example, you might want to include an interesting fact about your customer service experience or even a quote from a previous boss. Taking the time to make this statement creative ‒ rather than simply following a standard template ‒ could help you attract all the right attention.

3. Highlight hospitality-centric skills

Next up, let's take a moment to talk about the hospitality-centric skills you need to include on your CV. To give yourself the best chance of getting ahead, you should ensure that your skills section is peppered with all the traits a hospitality employer is looking for. Whilst these may vary from role to role, there are some core talents that you want to include, such as:

  • Teamwork: A huge part of working in hospitality is being part of a team. Whether you're a waiter, barista or chef, you need to show that you have what it takes to be a team player and support your fellow co-workers well.
  • Customer service: The customer is always right, or so the age-old saying goes. Show an employer that you're going to treat their customers with care and respect by listing this in your skills section.
  • Cleaning and maintenance: In many hospitality jobs, you will be charged with cleaning up as you go. If you have prior experience of this skill, listing it on your CV helps an employer know they can trust you to be Mrs. Hinch.
  • Attention to detail: It's all about the details when you work in this sector. Customers need to know that they can trust you to deliver the best possible level of service and never miss a trick.
  • Organisation: Whatever job role you're working in, you will need to be as organised as possible. This skill shows that you can take care of a multitude of tasks without getting overwhelmed.
  • Leadership: Have you got your eye on a management position? If so, make sure that you note your leadership skills on your CV. Showing off this trait could help you get places.

4. Mix and match hard and soft skills

Whilst we're on the topic of writing the skills section of your CV, there's an important thing to remember: You should highlight both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are learned proficiencies that apply directly to the role at hand. They can include cleaning, organisation, table service and cooking. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more about your personality. These can include your leadership qualities, customer service style, being a 'people person' and having the motivation to work hard on every shift. It's important to strike a balance between these types of skills on your CV because they are all important.

5. Include experience (and explain gaps)

Of course, you will need to include your professional experience on your CV. Chances are, if you're a hospitality worker, you may have been on furlough or unemployed over the last year. That's completely understandable. 2020 was a year like no other, and potential employers will be expecting to see gaps in CVs when they are hiring again. Be sure to include all of your previous experience and employment up until that point. Additionally, you can include information on how you maintained your skill set whilst off the job.

For example, if you spent some of last year learning a new skill online, include that on your CV. Or, you may have spent some time volunteering in a local charity shop and bolstered your customer service skills. Alternatively, you could have completed a short course on promotions that you can bring to the table when you return to working in hospitality.

These extra details show potential employees that you are serious about your chosen career.

Bonus tip: Ask the important COVID-safety question

Of course, COVID-19 has changed the way that many of us view work and, indeed, socialising. The hospitality industry brings those two things together neatly. So, putting your safety first as you get back to work is crucial. With that in mind, when you start making conversation with a potential employer, don't be afraid to ask that burning question: 'How are you planning to protect both customers and staff?' The answer you get will give you a good idea of whether the role will be the right fit for you.

For more information on the current hospitality safety guidance, check out the government website here.


Ready to get into the hospitality industry? With things opening up all across the UK, it's a good time to start applying. As always, when writing your CV, make sure that you tailor it to each individual job posting and follow our advice here. Creating an application that turns employers' heads is the first step towards getting your next big job.

Be sure you show your best on your hospitality CV. Get a free CV critique for expert feedback.

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