Where does my job flipping burgers fit on my resume?

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hamburger_and_fries-6478Tyler from the University of Texas at Austin asked:

I’ve worked at a burger place on a seasonal basis since I’ve been in college, but I don’t know how to make this worth the real estate on my resume for marketing and business consulting internships/jobs. I have a lot of other stuff to put on my resume, but I’ve heard that the fact that I finance most of my own education myself speaks volumes to employers about my work ethic.

So here’s the question: How can I phrase and leverage my experience of flipping burgers in a kitchen in a way that sounds worthwhile?

My responsibilities included cooking and constructing the burgers, preparing frying fries, and cleaning the restaurant. One nice thing about this burger place:  It was the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award 2010 Award Recipient in the Small Business Category; the only restaurant to have ever won the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. Is there something I can say about my time working there and helping them reach this milestone?

Hi Tyler –

I love your question!  YES – your job flipping burgers does have a place on your resume!  The big question is WHERE?

Your Burger Flipping Job says a lot of good things about you

It says you are CONSISTENT and DEPENDABLE.  You have worked for the same place, seasonally, throughout college.  That means you made a good enough impression that they kept inviting you back over and over again!

It also says you understand CUSTOMER SERVICE and HARD WORK.  There is nothing glamorous about working in a burger joint.  You did that well for a burger joint recognized for excellence by the Baldrige folks.  That’s impressive.

It says you UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR.  You weren’t working at this burger joint for grins and giggles; you were doing so to help pay your way through school.

While your precise job duties may not say a lot about what you are capable of doing in your post-college career, the fact that you went to school full-time and held down this job to help finance your education says volumes.

So, how do you tell that story?

Not all experience is created equal, so don’t treat it all equally

You can separate out experience on your resume into different section; a RELEVANT EXPERIENCE section and an ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCE SECTION.  See the example below:

resume 2413

The fact that you paid a lot of your own bills is also worth mentioning

You can add that information as a line under your education (see below) or mention it in your cover letters and interviews.

self financed

The Baldrige Award is more a reflection of the overall restaurant performance than it is a reflection of your performance at the restaurant.  I would probably recommend you save that for your cover letters and interviews, where it can have some real impact.

Hope you found this quick advice helpful.

I have to admit, I’m a little hungry for a hamburger right now!


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