I’ve got no experience – what should I do about my CV?

Some hospitality and catering jobs ask for experience from all applicants – but there are many positions that you shouldn't technically need prior experience to be able to do.

Many jobs will furnish you with full training once you've secured you – instantly upskilling you.

Still, when you don't have working experience that's a close match for a job you're applying for, it can be hard to think how to handle your CV or the interview at times.

Taking the example of waiting staff, here are a few pointers that might help you present the best possible side to what you do have to offer, rather than thinking that, because you've not waited before, you have nothing to offer!

What other jobs have you done?

If this isn't your first job, you're likely going to want to make the most of experience you do have.

Jobs that have a great direct link to waiting work include things like: bar work, working as a barista or kitchen work. All of these could be almost as useful to you in securing the job as having actual waiting work under your belt.

But there are other jobs that are linked to the world of waiting to some extent. Pretty much anything with a customer service aspect will help. so if you've helped out at a charity shop, worked in retail or even in a call centre, emphasise this. Have you dealt with difficult customers, for example? Or had to serve a lot of people when time was tight? Emphasise these experiences!

If your other work hasn't actually been directly linked to customer service, find examples of transferable skills that will still be useful – anything to do with people skills and time management, for example, can impress people looking for waiting staff.


A general passion for food is a great attribute in a waiter or waitress. And it's true that having previous direct experience could be a great way to prove you have this. But it's far from the only way. Even cooking at home could be something you can highlight to show you're going to be enthusiastic about cusine with customers.

You could do worse than describing your favourite dish with passion at interview – after all, if you can get your interviewer excited about something you like to cook, you'll be able to get customers interested in the things on a restaurant menu!

Being a great people person is also something people will be looking for in waiting staff – so don't be afraid to highlight things in your personal life that might demonstrate this in an appropriate way. Don't focus on your social life too much though, as not all your after-work activities will provide useful material for a potential employer to work with when deciding when to hire!

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.

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