How to Get a Serving Job

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Waiting tables may be a difficult job, but it's a good way to make money with a flexible schedule. Get in with a good restaurant and your tips can be substantial, and good tips can pay the bills. The basic steps to get a server job are good for a wide range of restaurants.

  • Access Internet sites that list server jobs in your area such as Craigslist, Monster or Indeed. In addition, look on restaurant websites. Do not limit your search to the Internet. Look in your local paper for server jobs listed under restaurant help and part-time help.

  • Make a list of all the restaurants where you would like to apply. Include on the list restaurants that do not advertise for server jobs. Make your list in order of most desirable to least desirable. Next to the restaurants, write down the hours of when they will accept applications. Hours will be listed in the help-wanted advertisements you have found. For restaurants that you have put on your list that do not advertise, plan to visit at off-peak hours, which are after the lunch rush and before the dinner rush.

  • Call the restaurants that indicate you should call them first. Ask to speak to the person who is listed in the advertisement. If there is no person listed, ask to speak to the manager. Indicate that you are interested in applying for a server job. Answer any preliminary questions honestly and be polite.

  • Prepare to visit the restaurants. Dress professionally, but do not over dress. For men, that may be a pair of khaki pants and a polo shirt. For women, that may be casual pants or a skirt and a blouse with sleeves. First impressions count as well when you apply for a server job at a restaurant. Study up on the restaurants before you visit them. The easiest way to learn about a restaurant is to visit its website if it has one.

  • Arrive 15 minutes early for your interview, if you have one. If you do not have an interview, arrive at the restaurant at the time indicated in the advertisement. If you are a walk-in, visit a restaurant between 2 and 3 p.m., which is a good off-peak time. When you arrive at the restaurant, ask to speak to the person who you have an interview with. If you do not have an interview, ask to speak to the person listed in the advertisement or ask to speak to the manager. Smile, look the person in the eyes and shake their hand.

  • Should you have an interview, you will probably be asked to fill out an application. If you do not have an interview, indicate that you are interested in a server job. If the restaurant has advertised, you will likely be handed an application to fill out. If the restaurant has not advertised for help, you will either be given an application or you may be told they are not hiring right now. If so, ask them if they will be hiring in the future and come back later.

  • Fill out the application with your resume or similar information next to you for reference. A restaurant manager typically does not want your resume in order to consider you for hire. However, you can bring your resume with you to help you complete your application. Typically, the manager will sit down with you and go over your resume. Be friendly and answer any questions that the manager may ask. He will ask for your availability. Be sure to give him an honest answer. Some managers will hire you on the spot. Others may say they will give you a call. If you have not heard back from a restaurant manager within a week of your visit, call and ask to speak to the person you had contact with. The squeaky wheel gets the grease in these situations. A restaurant receives a large number of applications. You need to do what you can to stick out from the pile.

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  • Photo Credit serving drinks image by John Keith from Fotolia.com
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