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3 main resume formats for the hospitality industry

Posted by Joyce Lee on Sep 20, 2021 2:10:00 PM

As things are slowly returning to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s certainly no shortage of jobs available in the hospitality industry. But despite your hospitality skills being in high demand, it’s not always an easy task getting the job you want. Your first step? Ensure your resume is up-to-date!

So, brush off your pen and grab some paper, in this blog post we look at the three main resume formats you can choose from and the unique benefits of each.

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If you’re like many other hospitality professionals, your last two years of work experience are looking inconsistent or have gaps due to extensive layoffs in the industry. 

To get the job you want in 2021, you need to know how to write a hospitality resume that sells your strengths and downplays your setbacks. The best way to do this is by choosing the best resume format for you as a job seeker

1. The chronological resume

The chronological resume is the most commonly used resume format by hospitality workers and is generally seen as the “standard” resume format for any industry. 

Compared to a skills-based resume, a chronological resume focuses on your relevant professional experience and lists each position you’ve had according to the time that you had it, with your most recent experience at the top.

When to use a chronological resume: 

The chronological resume is generally preferred by recruiters because it provides a clear overview of your work history, which means they can assess your professional background with a quick glance at your resume. 

If you’ve been working in the hospitality industry for a while and have a traditional work history that includes consistent, relevant experience, then a chronological resume is the ideal format for you. 

For example, if you’re applying to a hotel manager position and have previously managed hotels, you can highlight the natural progression of your career path with a chronological resume. 

However, if there are aspects of your work history that you want to downplay, you’re better off going with a resume format that focuses less on your professional experience (which we’ll get to shortly).

How to write a chronological resume:

To write a standard resume, begin by placing your contact information at the top of the page so employers know how to reach you. Following your contact information, include a strong resume summary to give employers a snapshot of your skills and experience, emphasizing how they can be connected back to the job.

In your resume’s work experience section, list past hospitality jobs in reverse-chronological order, starting at the top with your most recently held position. 

In three to five bullet points, outline your primary responsibilities and contributions for each job. And in the skills section of your resume, list job-related hard and soft skills.

Use a chronological resume if:

  • You have relevant job experience
  • You want to showcase how far along you’ve come in the field

Do not use a chronological resume if:

  • You don’t have any hospitality experience
  • You have employment gaps or switch jobs often 
  • You’re applying to a different industry

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2. The functional/skills-based resume

Unlike the chronological resume, a “skills-based” or functional resume prioritizes your job-specific skills over professional experience. 

What this means is that your resume’s skills section will be much more detailed than what’s typical for a chronological resume. Rather than focusing on your work experience, a functional resume uses your experience in the skills section to demonstrate how you possess the skills employers are seeking. 

When to use a functional resume 

A functional resume is ideal if you don’t have consistent, professional experience in hospitality-related jobs. 

Whether you have a non-traditional work history with many temporary positions, employment gaps (due to COVID layoffs or travel), or you’re in the midst of switching to a different industry, a functional resume works great for reassuring employers you still have the right skill-set for the job. 

How to write a functional resume 

Take a closer look at the job posting to identify what skills the employer is specifically seeking, along with any job-specific keywords that you can use in your resume’s skills section. 

In the skills section of your resume, list both your hard and soft skills, and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated them in the past.

For example, if you’re applying to a hotel front desk position, some skills you could list are customer service skills, communication skills, and organizational skills. 

Under the “Customer service” skills category, you can talk about how you went above and beyond to ensure exceptional customer experiences at your last retail job and received an average customer satisfaction score of 94%.

When listing your work history in the work experience section, the bullet points are considered optional. However, you should include the company name, job title, and period of employment. 

Use a functional resume if:

  • You have a non-traditional work history, which includes employment gaps, temporary jobs, or switching jobs often
  • You’re applying to a new industry

Do not use a functional resume if:

  • You have relevant professional experience
  • You want to showcase the upward mobility of your hospitality career

3. The combination resume

A combination resume is a hybrid between the chronological resume and functional resume — emphasizing both your relevant skills and professional work experience simultaneously.

If you’re a veteran hotel manager with several certifications, job-specific skills, and plenty of experience, a combination resume is perfect for you. 

When to use a combination resume 

A combination resume is perfect for job-seekers who’ve been working in the hospitality industry for years and have acquired a highly specialized skill-set.

How to write a combination resume 

Include a resume summary, summing up your skills and experience in the hospitality industry while aligning your talents to the job description. 

In your resume’s skills section, create different “skills categories” to group together relevant hard and soft skills. List your specialized skills under each skills category. For example, you could list “Scheduling software” as a skills category, then provide a list of the software you’re proficient in.

In the work experience section, list your past jobs in reverse-chronological order. Under each job, use three to five bullet points to provide examples of your most impressive achievements.

Use a combination resume if:

  • You have a highly specialized skill-set in the field you’re applying to 
  • You have several relevant job experiences
  • You want to showcase both your skill-set and full work history

Do not use a combination resume if:

  • You have little to no relevant job experience
  • You don’t have job-specific skills
  • You’re switching industries or have several employment gaps




Joyce Lee is a staff writer at Resume Genius with a passion for helping people achieve their professional objectives. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English and Sociology. When she’s not writing, you can find her cooking up a storm in the kitchen.


Have a question? We’re always ready to talk.


You might also like:

7-tips-for-writing-a-hospitality-manager-resume7 Pro tips for writing a hospitality resume

how-to-write-a-hospitality-resume-that-will-get-you-that-jobHow to write a hospitality resume 

6-tips-to-write-your-cv-when-you-dont-have-hospitality-experience6 tips to write your CV without experience.


Topics: Hospitality career tips, Hospitality staff