Four Keys to Describing Your Jobs

Most of your résumés are brutal. Sorry, but it’s true. And that’s OK. You’re the expert at filling hotels, designing the menu, or exceeding guest expectations.

Here are four simple ways to describe your experience so the reader of your résumé will understand your role and the impact you make as a leader:

1. Description

Don’t assume the reader knows the employer. Describing the place of business is the first step in painting the picture of your experience. This is generally done in two different ways: either weaving the description into the first bullet-point or as a sub-header for each employer.

Weaving It In

If your résumé is comprised of mostly household name companies, then you may need to describe only one employer. In this case, creatively weave a description within one of the descriptive points. Here are a few examples:

For a culinary position at a regional multi-concept operator:

  • Oversee a staff of two sous chefs, pastry chefs, and 24 back-of-house employees in this upscale seafood restaurant with $6 Million in annual revenues and a per-person average of $72.50

For a hotel sales position at an independently-owned hotel:

  • Grew overall room, convention, and social sales 32% in the first two years at this AAA Four Diamond 220-room golf resort with 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a reputation for “the perfect wedding weekend”

For a culinary innovation position at a lesser-known food processor:

  • Accountable for all client-focused consultation, research, and development for this manufacturer with two processing facilities and annual production of 3,500,000 pounds of soups, sauces, vegetables, and sides


Many executive resumes contain descriptions of the employer or division in italics immediately below the header containing the title, company, and date.

Regional Vice President, Operations
XYZ Corporation, Dallas, TX
January 2010-Present
One of the largest privately-held hotel franchisees in the Northwestern US, XYZ Corporation operates 125 full-service hotels with aggregate 2013 ADR of $118 and RevPAR of $87

2. Leadership

You need to paint the picture of your team, and how you achieve through people. Answering some of these questions will help you assemble your “leadership” phrases:

  • How many direct and dotted-line reports?
  • Is your team is deep and wide? If so, perhaps list the important management reports without making the list too long (Example: …staff of 250 including six regional managers, 15 area directors, four regional chefs and a regional controller…).
  • What are your major accomplishments (that couldn’t possibly have been done without a substantial team effort)?
  • What performance metrics did your team achieve?
  • What awards did your team or division win?
  • Did you assemble the team? If so, how?
  • Did you promote from within and/or create a talent development pipeline?
  • How did you groom or mentor talent? What did they deliver? What did they go on to do in your division or another?
  • What are your turnover statistics?

 3. Financial

You have to know your numbers at every level, and you demonstrate this by using industry-specific data without divulging confidential information. Usually, employers do not want their financial information such as sales figures, costs of goods sold, expenses, and profits disclosed. However, it is common to show impact through percentages.

For example: If you reduced the labor cost in a restaurant from $500,000 per year to $450,000 per year, take the $50,000 reduction and divide it by the original amount to get the percentage of the reduction ($50,000 / $500,000 = .10 or 10%).

Some key financial metrics for certain industries and segments:

Restaurantper-person average, food cost, labor cost, beverage cost, # seats, # turns, revenue per seat
Hotel/Resortoccupancy %, # rooms, average daily rate (ADR), revenue per average room (RevPAR), square feet of meeting space, # outlets, annual F&B revenue
Foodservice# customers (employees for B&I, students for education, beds for healthcare, etc.), # outlets, annual catering revenue, operating budget (for fee accounts)
Food Processing# pounds of finished product per year, % of profit margin, # of new product launches, % of increased market share, # successful line extensions

4. Creativity

The best companies need creative talent at every position and every level. You have to be able to lead through economic, competitive, marketplace, technology, and innovation changes throughout your career. To show the reader that you can be trusted to lead such change in the future, show how you have led change in the past.

Answering some of these questions will help you assemble your “creativity” phrases:

  • What products, processes, or services did you invent or co-invent?
  • What products, processes, or services did you revise or improve?
  • What suggestions did you make to your superiors that were implemented unit or system-wide?
  • How did you innovate, and how can you quantify such innovation? (Example: “Revised and re-engineered menu to reflect local preferences and trends, resulting in a 12% increase in food sales”)
  • What resources do you use to stay on-trend?
  • What awards or competitions with a creativity component did you win?

There is nothing worse than getting a résumé with the exact same description under several jobs. It makes you look lazy and uninspired. Remember to keep each job description unique.

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.

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