As someone who has worked in the service industry since the age of 16, I'm a firm believer that everyone should have the experience of working in a bar or restaurant at some point in their life. I sometimes wonder if my part-time job experiences are something I should include on a resume, or at least mention in interviews. I say this not because I think my future employers in the PR world will be impressed with my skills at balancing four plates of food or mixing Alabama Slammers, but because I think working in the service industry says certain things about a person.
I've learned a lot about customer service and how to be patient in dealing with difficult people. My people skills definitely have benefited from waitressing and bartending, since these jobs require me to carry on conversations with and basically entertain complete strangers. In an industry like public relations, where I need to be comfortable and confident talking to strangers, I know my practice in part-time jobs will help me.
I've also learned to be professional and responsible. This kind of goes along with good people skills, but the service industry has taught me to always behave like a professional so as to represent the bar or restaurant I'm working for in a positive manner.
Lastly, I've learned time management. Balancing a full load of classes and two part-time jobs is hard work, but it helps me prioritize so I can get everything done. I stay motivated to finish my school work because I know I need to go to work (and I'm motivated to go to work so I can afford rent in NYC in 5 months!).
What do you think - are restaurant and bar jobs something important to include on a resume or in an interview?