Careers advice

How do I write a hospitality CV? The skills to include (+ free template)

New Zealand’s hospitality sector has a lot to offer, but you’ll need a great CV to crack this competitive job market.

What you’ll learn:

  • The key general skills to include on your hospitality CV.
  • CV skills for bar staff and baristas.
  • CV skills for chefs.
  • CV skills for housekeeping staff.
  • CV skills for receptionists.

The hospitality and tourism sector in New Zealand is competitive.

However, there’s also a huge demand for staff – meaning the opportunities are there, you just need your application to shine – and that starts with your CV.

Here we’ll give you the tools to make yourself the candidate equivalent of a double shot espresso – hard to forget.

To make your life even easier, we have free downloadable CV templates you can use in your hospitality application. This range of templates come with a variety of styles, and do all of the tiresome formatting work for you.

Listen to a Kiwi hospitality employer tell you what he looks for in his staff.

Key soft skills for a hospo CV

Soft skills are personal qualities that will help you in just about any job. For hospitality, the following are must-haves:

1. Communication and teamwork

You’ll find yourself talking, a lot. And remember, many of the people you serve won’t speak English as their first language, so being clear and understandable is essential.

Even if you’re behind the scenes, you’ll have to work closely with other team members to ensure your customers are happy. The aim in hospo is getting guests to come back … and bring their families, friends, dogs and the dogs’ friends.

2. Customer service and problem solving

On that note, you’ll need first rate customer service skills if you’re going to succeed in hopso. While communication is massive here, great customer service also means always bringing a positive attitude, looking and acting professionally and thinking ahead to exceed customer expectations.

Problem solving and patience are also vital. No matter how great a job you do, you’re bound to encounter unhappy punters from time to time. Resolving their issues will require a cool head, plus the ability to think quickly and find a solution.

3. Work ethic and punctuality

Hospo environments are great – you’ll learn a lot and probably find yourself really bonding with your teammates. However, be prepared to graft. You’ll work long hours, mostly on your feet, while never losing your customer service smile.

Getting stuck into any task is the best way to get ahead in hospitality, and you’ll also need to be punctual. Employers in this sector famously have little time for staff who show up late.

Providing consistently great customer service is the mark of a great hospo employee.

4. Attention to detail

The smallest things can make or break a guest’s experience, and be the difference between return custom and a one time visit (and you getting a tip).

Eagle eyes that can spot a dirty piece of cutlery, a double booked room or a wrongly calculated bill will help you stand out from other staff.

5. Multitasking

‘Clear Table Three, take Table Two’s drinks order, find out what’s happened to Table Seven’s mains’.

Especially during the busy summer season, hospitality jobs in New Zealand are often hectic, so being able to multitask and work under pressure are vital attributes to bring to the table.

CV skills for bar staff and baristas

1. Confidence

Humans are a curious bunch, and we often like watching people making fancy coffees, mixing cocktails or even pouring a pint – so be prepared for gawpers.

Bar staff also need to watch for customers who are enjoying NZ’s famous wine and beer selection more than they should. It’s not easy telling a total stranger it’s time to go on the waters, but looking after clients is hugely important (and a legal requirement).

2. Numeracy

You don’t have to do algebra on the spot, but being able to give customers the correct change without relying on your till will speed things up, and employers like fast workers.

3. Prioritisation

You’ve had a rush of customers – do you just work through their checks in order, or could there be a better way? Obviously, you don’t want to leave anyone waiting too long, but if some orders are could be done as a batch, that might be quicker.

Making these calls, and managing your time well, are signs of a good barista or bar worker.

Making coffees or working behind a bar? Be prepared to be on show.

CV skills for chefs

BREAKING: there's more to being a chef than knowing how to cook.

1. Organisation

As well as ensuring all orders go out in good time, chefs are responsible for keeping their kitchens stocked.

This is a balancing act involving doing daily checks, and staying on top of orders and deliveries. You never want to run out of key ingredients for your signature dish, but equally the boss won’t be happy if stock goes off.

2. Leadership

Most kitchens have a strict hierarchy, with the head chef running the show. However, even if you’re only a junior, expect front of house staff to look to you for direction.

‘Does this dish contain nuts?’, ‘is this ready to go?’, ‘where can I find the sauces?’. You’ll need the answers to these questions, and more.

3. Creativity and quality control

Delicious, well-presented dishes are what make the customers come back for more. As chef, you own the menu, and its quality.. What’s more, you’re also responsible for refreshing it with new, and exciting meals when you think it’s time for a change.

4. Hygiene and safety

New Zealand has rigorous food hygiene standards, and it’s on you to ensure your kitchen is always up to scratch. The owner will not be pleased if they’re slapped with a fine, or even forced closure because you failed an inspection.

On top of this, ovens, knives and hot food make kitchens hazardous places. While everyone is responsible for looking out for each other, chefs need to be particularly aware of the dangers.

Chef CVs should show that you’re more than just a great cook.

CV skills for housekeeping staff

The work ethic and attention to detail we mentioned before are particularly crucial for housekeepers. As are:

1. The ability to work independently

Whether you’re cleaning rooms in a big Auckland hotel, or small holiday cottages in Akaroa, chances are you’ll be doing it without supervision.

This means you’ll have to be your own boss and be sure you’re happy with your work before moving on. You’ll also have to keep yourself motivated, and ensure everything is done on time

2. Reliability and trustworthiness

Your boss needs to feel comfortable leaving you alone in their property, so if you’ve ever had experience that requires honesty (e.g. cash handling) this could help your CV stand out.

CV skills for receptionists

Receptionists are the first people guests see as they enter the hotel, so you need to make them welcome. You should also have:

1. IT smarts

You’ll live inside the hotel’s booking system. This doesn’t mean you should already know how their software works, but confidence with computers will certainly come in handy.

2. Organisational and admin skills

Outside the booking software, hotels usually have strict policies and processes in place to ensure everything runs smoothly.

You’ll spend a lot of time answering phone calls, writing emails, preparing bills and assigning customers to rooms when they arrive. You may also be in charge of directing housekeeping staff to empty rooms to ensure they’re ready for the next guests.

Hotel receptionists need to be warm, welcoming and knowledgeable.

3. Good local knowledge

As well as info about the hotel and individual bookings, expect questions on where to eat, what to do and how to get around the area.

Being able to pick up, and hold onto this information will help you provide great service to these patrons.

With these hospitality CV writing tips in mind, you’re ready to get cracking. To make things even easier for yourself, you can use your Trade Me Job Profile to make a CV template – simply input all your skills, experience and education, and the platform will auto generate a CV for you to download.