Will being a waitress help my career in public relations?

Like many of my readers are, or once have been, I am a waitress. I work at East Side Mario’s on Front Street approximately 20 hours a week while going to school obtaining a postgraduate degree. I love my job, and have been a waitress since I was in high school. Its a great way to make money, meet a lot of people and have a lot of fun.

When writing my resumes, I was trying to think of transferable skills from a serving job to a career in PR. Now, I can’t put this on a resume, but anyone who can handle serving tables in a busy restaurant I think is the best candidate for a job in public relations.

First, it’s all about the clients. It is my job first and foremost to make sure my tables are happy. I can advise them on what to order, make suggestions to increase the check (bigger bill generally means bigger tip), and ensure that they are looked after in every way possible. Now, I have to do this to four or five other tables at the same time. I have to remember who ordered what and which tables needs more salad. If a problem occurs, I break into crisis communication mode and try to resolve the problem without the table knowing. Its all about time management and the ability to multi-task. You have to be able to read people within a 30 second greeting and treat each table accordingly.

I work in a team of 20-30 people, communicating with cooks, hosts, bar staff and busers who all who together to create a effective and efficient work environment. We all get along and after a long day at work we often sit at the bar for a nice cold refreshing beverage.

So, in a part time job that really has nothing to do with public relations, I have learned skills that will help me better understand my clients. I had a hard time of coming up with transferable skills for a resume, but come watch me work and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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About ramsayramsay

I am a 24 year old public relations student at Centennial College and have a degree from Brock University in communications. I love to read, travel and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy writing am excited to share my thoughts on PR, social media and everyday life.

Posted on February 16, 2008, in careers, public relations and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. right now i am envisioning you at work, and i totally see what you’re talking about.

    haha omg megan i have no idea how to write a good comment (see above)
    in the future i’ll have something brilliant to say!
    ….and in the meantime:

    http://www.livejournal.com/users/xcrystallinex

    it’s only fair… shameless self promotion

  2. Hi:)…I trully like what you have written about link between your work experience and PR. I live in Leeds in the UK and I am doing my master in marketing at Leeds Met Uni. In this semestre I also have a pleasure to study PR as my optional module. I work about 20 hours per week as hotel service assistant and my job is all about delivering the best possible service to the customer. I often feel that my job make the difference…to the customers and also to the organisation I work for. Eventually, I understood that positive results in work highly depend on is communication skilss…which enable to achieve customer focus. We simply cannot satisfied or understand customers without conversation.

  3. Hello! I like what you had to say and I can see what you mean about transferable skills from one job (seemingly unrelated) to PR. I think it’s also useful to state it the way you have on a resume or an interview because you recognize the similarities and qualities needed as a PR practitioner and you will be likely to apply what you’ve learned as a waitress in your future PR career. I think an interviewer would be able to appreciate the comparisons.

  4. Server at an East Side Mario’s may not be gold-plated experience to get you a PR job, but the way you think will either get you a job or make you a star at your job, Megan.

    You’re thinking about this exactly the right way.

  5. Thanks Bob, I am truly touched by your comment.

    Joesph, I hope you are right. I have an interview next week and I plan on talking about many of the skills I have gained through my job as a server and how they make me an excellent candidate for their agency.

    Gary, I’m glad you continued this conversation and blogged about this topic. I agree that many students ask themselves similar questions regarding their meaningless part time jobs. I think if you can make it sound good, by all means put it in and talk it up.

  6. Wow ramsayramsay,

    I really enjoyed your writing skills and believe you quite effectively conveyed what you were trying to say.

    But really meg, I was reading through your blog and was surprised by how well spoken you are… I think you’ll do very very well in this whole PR world.

  7. There are many times when I have pondered over what counted as “experience” and what is better left off my make-it or break-it resume. I find the following to be extremely helpful: When in doubt, leave it out.

    I doubt when potential employers look at our resumes they will be interested in seeing jobs we’ve had in or since high school and college. This isn’t to say you should leave them out entirely. Instead of listing your jobs and side jobs on something you’ll hand over, prepare yourself with a mental (or small physical) list of every job you’ve ever held and the best skill you gained from it or utilized most in it. This way, when you’re in an interview, you’ll be able to answer questions bearing said skills in mind and reveal what a fabulous candidate for the position you really are!

  8. Hi Megan,
    I think you encapsulated the transferrable skills really well. As I mentioned to your class, when my agency is looking to fill an entry level PR position, we want to see communications skills as well as concrete examples which demonstrate that a person is a hard worker, proactive and resourceful. If you can explain why your waitress experience is relevant on a resume, say, in an edited version of what you wrote in this post, it would make me take notice.

  1. Pingback: A Class Act » Just how relevant are transferable skills?

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