Right, it’s time to get a job! Yes, you need to get a job. Even if you don’t need one financially, you need one mentally and socially. Jobs force us to interact and be human. It’s a good thing. 

I’m going to be honest here, your first job should be in the service industry, regardless of what career or education you desire in life. Ideally you should try and get this job while you in high-school, while learning and fucking up aren’t going to destroy your life. Sixteen or seventeen years old. Great age to get a job in the service industry. 

Why, you may ask? First, because if you are going to spend your life interacting with other people, and you are, then you need to know how other people really are. Nothing will teach you that better than serving someone coffee or a burger. Interacting with a hungry, grumpy person who you are supposed to be nice too – have to be nice to – that’s not just customer service, that’s a survival skill. That skill set will teach you to be calm under pressure, composed, considerate. It will teach you to multitask, to interpret, and to be efficient. What’s more, it’s an easy job to get. Food and beverage places are always hiring teenagers. Clothing and goods stores too. They love it. Easy to train, non-confrontational, mostly, and they don’t tend to care that you don’t have a resume. 

Second, if you start a part-time job when you’re in high-school, when you don’t really need it, it means that when you graduate high-school and actually need a job you’ll already have a head start, and a Resume, which makes getting a job easier. Sure, be a YouTube or Instagram star if you can. Go into tech and run code. Make all that money by Thirty. Do it. If you can. The rest of us, 85% of the population, will be over here trying to pay for rent and groceries. 

Right, so what is the difference between a Resume, and a CV, and an Application, and why does it matter, and what does it mean? 

Okay, first and foremost, when you fill out an Application you are basically repeating what is on your Resume in a formatted document. By the time I hit nineteen I would fill out my name and contact info on the application, answer the legal questions, and then when it came to job and education history, I’d write ‘see resume’ and add my resume to the stack. I’m not wasting my time writing by hand what is already more legibly printed. The Application document is paperwork. No one likes them or cares about them. They are part of a standardized system. Do yourself a favor and write a Resume. In lower grade jobs, like fast food, sometimes you’ll have you fill out the Application just to see if you can. 

Resume. OK. There are a couple of ways to do this well. First, let’s talk about a CV. A CV is a curriculum vitae, which means a history of academic achievement. A CV was originally created for the purpose of explaining your accomplishments in college as you applied for a graduate program. In the US we really don’t use CV’s for anything else. When we do use CV’s it’s because we’re applying for something in the $80,000 a year or higher range. A CV is first the format of a type of document, and second, an explanation of skills. A full CV is a list of all accomplishments, education, and work experience – for all time. A full CV can be ten pages long. A short, or standard CV, which is what they use in Europe and largely big-wig jobs in the US, is a page or two, and simply highlights skills, kinda like a bio page. It’s elegant, and in no way a list of job history. 

I’ve received a lot of short CV’s as Resumes for the service industry over the years. It always cracks me up because it’s clearly a very confused concept. It also tells me that you don’t really know what you are doing. Like you heard CV and thought it would make you sound smarter than Resume so you went with that, though you clearly didn’t understand the purpose. In the end, it tells me that you can’t research things or follow instructions. Not good.

In the US you want to give a job a Resume. Two pages long, max. The top should give your name, contact info (including any social media ya want to add) and availability. Keep in mind that what you put on the internet never dies and people will google you, maybe before they read your resume. Google yourself. Make sure what is findable shows you in a good light. You don’t want your first google image popup to be you taking shots. Not a good professional look. You are not required to give a home address. In fact don’t, not until you’ve been hired. No one needs to know where you live – same is true on an application. Give a city and state, if anything. 

Next, I’m fond of a short intro. This lists skill sets. Don’t be word fancy, just state what you can do: “Skill Set: FOH Bar and Floor, BOH Sous, Cuisine; Security, Admin, HR, Opts, Production.“ Done and done.

Next, work history. Now this gets tricky. How much is too much? What is the right amount? Keep in mind, two pages total. You are probably gonna have to leave stuff out. Typically you want to list any place you have worked in for over a year. People want to typically see a record of seven years, or as long as you have been working. Confusing, right? You have to be tactful. You have to consider what a snapshot of your work career looks like. Keep what matters and leave what doesn’t. If you are new to work your whole resume might be half a page. That is OKAY. Start with the most recent, and move backward. 

Now, the thing about a Resume is that it is just a grab. It’s a foot in the door. You’re not trying to explain all that you are, that’s what the interview is for. You are just trying to grab attention. You are trying to say, ‘look, I’m solid, dependable and capable.’ 

Easiest thing to do is write one document with your complete work history from beginning to end, all jobs and types, with exact hire and quit/fire dates, contact info, reference info and job description. This is for you. Write notes, so you don’t forget what happened at those jobs, like if you got fired, why. This is helpful if you need to deal with lawsuits, taxes, general forgetfulness, checking in, etc. 

Tribune Tavern – April 1st, 2017 – Dec 25th, 2017

Position: Bar Manager – Bar and Restaurant

Run bar, create seasonal cocktail program, bar prep (syrups/ shrubs, ect.)

1234 5th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Reference: Rob Last Name                                                                                                 555.555.5555

(Note: Business closed beneath me with 3 days notice for tax evasion – did not receive severance or unemployment.) 

Urbano Latino March 22, 2015 – Dec 1st, 2016

Bartender / Mixologist – Bar and Restaurant

Run bar, mixology, and entice guests to come back any ol’ time; salsa!

678 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Reference: Sam Last Name                                                                                          ​        555.555.5555  

(Note: Fired, no reason given. Kinda pissed off boss because I told him he wasn’t training his staff well. Received Unemployment for 3 months. Use Jessica, floor manager, as a reference.)

And then edit it for Resume:

Tribune Tavern – 2017

Position: Bar Manager – Bar and Restaurant

Run bar, create seasonal cocktail program, bar prep (syrups/ shrubs, ect.)

1234 5th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Reference: Rob Last Name                                                                                                 555.555.5555

Urbano Latino – 2015 – 2017

Bartender / Mixologist – Bar and Restaurant

Run bar, mixology; salsa!

678 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Reference: Jessica Last Name                                                                                           555.555.5555  

Notice that I changed the reference person on Urbano Latino. You are only required to give a reference of someone higher on the food chain than you. That doesn’t mean the owner, or boss, per say. Could be manager or shift lead. Consider who will be favorable to you. 

I keep a personal document which has all the true and honest details in chronological order with exact dates and contacts for my personal reference. Then I craft a ‘public’ resume which contains most of the same information but in a cleaner format. Does whoever is hiring care that it took me almost three months to find a job between 2016-2017? Maybe. But should they? No. No they shouldn’t. It wasn’t their business. I might have been on medical leave (which you are legally not required to disclose or discuss at any time). It may have been a vacation, or under the table work. Maybe it was a job depression, and I actually couldn’t find work. Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I need a job, and I need the person hiring me to believe at a glance that I’ve been working full time since I was born. Why? Because America is corrupt and the job market sucks. I’m not saying to lie on a Resume. Thanks to the internet the truth will always come out. I’m saying that the Resume is a grab and should showcase your excellence. 

Which brings us to the Interview. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be asked if you’ve ever been fired or laid off or received unemployment. This is a great time to explain any discrepancies. Example, Tribune Tavern closed with three days notice. I was laid off. That’s not a conversation for a Resume. That’s a conversation for an Interview, that said, given the nature of the business’s failure, they weren’t able to give me unemployment. Now, with Urbano Latino I was fired, but I was able to get unemployment because it was ‘at will’ with no stated reason. Notice, I also upgraded my role from Bartender to Bar Manager when I moved to Tribune. That means that unemployment went towards finding me a better job. The fact the business was corrupt was outside of my control. All of that is interview conversation. Explained. I get the chance to be very honest about something that was very complicated in an Interview. No one wants to read all that on a Resume, and I don’t want to write it on a Resume to be misconstrued. Remember, because of the internet any lies can and likely will be found out on all sides. A potential employer can check to see if I’ve had unemployment. They can also check on the business history to see when Tribune closed. I pride myself on honesty – I also understand the nature of tact, and that an Interviewer has only so much time in their day. I try to make hiring me as simple as possible for them. The Resume is the skin, the Interview is the bones.

This concept here, what I’ve just written, this will be difficult for Baby-Boomers. This is directly contradictory to everything they have been raised and taught. The truth is, it’s an unfair doggy dog world out there. There are not enough well playing jobs. There is not enough space to be directly honest all the time. If you can be fully honest, you are lucky. For most, that’s not the case. Just remember, lies are hard to keep track of. You will slip up if you lie. It will come out and make your life harder. Try and stick to the truth as much as possible. 

Next think about what jobs matter and what jobs don’t. I would rather see time gaps in your Resume than read about your bullshit filler work. You worked in IT for three years at Gentech and then had a two year gap, and then worked IT for Salesforce. Awesome. Don’t tell me you worked in a coffee shop during that two year gap. It’s not relative. You are applying for an IT job. Give me IT job stuffs.

Me personally, I tend to work three jobs at once. That means I have a Bartenders Resume, A Fabrication Resume, and a Freelance Writers Resume. Yeah. You may have many Resumes and they may aid in different jobs. My Bar doesn’t care that I write for Travel Magazine. It’s not relative. If it is at all, after my job history I will list my education, and then my expanded skills, which might include fabrication and writing. Good talk. Just a mention. A talking point if the interviewer decides they cares.

Lastly is references. These are personal references and coworker references. Put phone number (with their permission) and email address. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, put their address. Do not give out peoples home addresses. It’s not 1950 when everything was mailed by hand with a stamp. 

Lastly comes the cover letter. This is less than a page, usually half a page, say three paragraphs. Something short enough that the reader won’t have to scroll. This is a personal greeting to the business. This shows that you know who you are talking to, have looked them up, and want to introduce yourself, briefly. 

“Dear Kitchen 314, 

Hope you’re hiring is going well. I have been working as a bartender for three years and before that spent ten years in the industry doing just about every position in every scale venue type: front, back and production. During that ten years I held primary focus as a Cuisine Chef, and I come to the table now with a wide breadth of knowledge in innovating flavors, designing experiences, and keeping mind on overall cost versus benefit ratios.

My experience in restaurants, bars, theaters, clubs, and festivals, gives me a unique perspective on what it means to work hard, be efficient and stay relaxed. I have also been trained in nonviolent communication and security, safeserv health regulations as they apply to local and extreme conditions, and local laws as they apply to business. I enjoy chatting with people about interesting trivia, telling stories, and overall connecting with my team, and guests. I’m looking to work hard, make some money, and share some laughs and soul with a good, light hearted, honest crew. I understand Kitchen 314 to have a reputation congruent with these ideals.

My goals are to find a good company to work with part time while I spend the next couple years working on my BA in Engineering. I would be happy to participate in an active environment creating a dining experience that excites the taste buds while serving the desires of the clientele.


Right, this one was a little long, but it does state what I’m good at, what I know about the company and how it relates to me, and what I am looking for. There are a ton of keywords in there too. Keep and mind, whoever is reading Resumes has read hundreds. They aren’t reading every word of this. They are scanning for keywords. I’ve put a metric ton in that cover letter. That’ll make them do a double take and read it moreover. Then they’ll scan my Resume. Good. I was also polite, congenial, and honest. Given the job is hospitality, that’s super relative to my job. If I were applying for a tech job I’d be more technical in my voice, especially if I was in coding or hardware construction.  

Okay, so you’ve made your Resume and hopefully you’ve had someone read it over and edit it. Please do. Spelling and grammar mistakes are a dumb way to not get a job. Google edit does not count. Computers can’t edit for idioms and savvy. Now for applying: 

There are about a thousand websites: Craigslist, Indeed, Linkedin, etc. Specific companies almost always have a hiring address or a contact address. Here’s the thing. It’s called many eggs in many baskets. Send your Resume out to everyone. Send it out to jobs you don’t want. Send out Resumes every day, at least three. Ideally five. Pollute the hiring pool until you’ve applied for everything you are qualified for. Check daily for more. Do this because the greater the area you span the more likely you’re going to ping something unexpected that you like. You also need to go to as many interviews as possible. Not because you want the job, but because you need to practice selling yourself, and talking about yourself, and answering questions. You need to get used to what people ask in interviews, that way when you get a ping for the dream job you really want you’re calm, cool and relaxed, which is what they want to see. If you’re a nervous bumbling idiot because you thought you were too good for your skills to be questioned, then you are going to fail. Most people aren’t hiring for skills alone. They are hiring for accountability, communication skills, ethics, and compatibility.  

That’s the kicker. None of us are good at things until we practice. Even if you’re a freaky protege who can pick everything up at a dime, it does not mean you know what you are doing. It means you think you know what you are doing, which is dangerous because you likely haven’t proven it to be true. 

Go. On. Interviews. 

You are going to have failures and successes. You are going to have embarrassments. Doesn’t matter. There is always another job out there, another interview.

Here’s the last thing, you are not the only person being interviewed at an interview. You are also interviewing the business, to see if you want to hire them to pay you for your skills and time. People forget that, because they become desperate to make a paycheck. No. Look the company up. Ask them questions. Demand them to explain themselves. Are they union? Hows their equal pay? Time off? Paid sick leave? Hows the working environment? How does management work? What are you willing to put up with? Are they asking you to do something illegal? There has to be tact in asking these questions, if it’s a job you potentially want. If you don’t care about getting the job then this is just fun data collection. It usually throws the interviewer off as well, as they are expecting the timid or over confident. 

Lastly, dress for the job you want. That doesn’t mean go out and spend a ton, but go to goodwill or a thrift and assemble an interview outfit that meets the job you want to be doing. No shoulders, cleavage, hips or knees exposed. Closed two shoes. Some jobs might want you to remove piercings or cover tattoos. It’s up to you if you will. Me, I won’t work for a company that wants me to change my appearance. Mohawk, stretched ears and tattoos. That’s me. That said, I can also put on a nice blouse, a pencil skirt or slacks and heels, and look very elegant. If you wear blue jeans please be sure they don’t have holes in them. I get it’s a style, but honestly… not at work, unless the job your applying for is indicative of that style. Be clean, comb your hair. Dress to show you care. 

One last thing I have to mention because it’s relative to the times. White men are hired more than people of color or women combined; also at higher rates despite education or experience. It has to be said. Keep that in mind as you go out to get a job. Be prepared, if you are not a white man, to have to work harder to get that job, and maybe keep that job. It’s not right by any stretch of the imagination, and the civil rights movement is still something we are fighting for in 2019. It’s a fucked up world that I have to say this, but I do. You need to realize that you may not be hired for skin color or gender. Don’t let that get you down. Keep trying. For every asshole that does not hire you for racism or bigotry, there is a good person out there who will reward you for your perseverance and strength. 

If you’re the boss or hiring entity, reading this as a curious review, I urge you to consider your hiring practices. You’ve either willfully overlooked the truth of this statement, or you are keenly aware of it and don’t care. Just something to consider. 

Good luck out there kids! You can do this!