A few of our young waiters from previous years have sent some tips for any young waiters thinking of entering this year;

1. Do a draft Think about your answers before you submit your application. “Start writing your answers as early as possible and then keep revisiting them,” says Mitchell Jones, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “With more reflection comes a more considered and deeper response.”

2. Ask others Not sure what your strengths are? Speak to those who know you best. “For me, talking with the owners of the restaurant I work at gave me more confidence and clarity in my answers,” says Alexander Tuckett, 2012 Young Waiter Runner Up.

3. Be honest By all means big yourself up, but remember you’ll need to be able to back it up when sitting in front of the panel. “Don’t pretend to be more than you are,” says Hugh Holland, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “Humility is more admirable than arrogance.”

4. Use spell check Spelling errors and bad grammar look sloppy, so make sure you check your application form thoroughly. Get someone else to read it, too. Chances are, if they don’t know what you’re talking about, neither will our judges.

5. Give yourself time The application form is your chance to make an impression on some of the industry’s most influential people, so don’t leave it to the last minute. “Read it through first so you can anticipate how long it will take to fill in,” says Joshua Smith, 2010 Young Waiter Runner Up.

6. Do your homework If you’re lucky enough to be selected as a national finalist, you’ll take part in knowledge assessments and blind food and wine tasting… “ view this as a chance to gain more knowledge recommends James Audas, 2012 Young Waiter Winner.

7. Trust your instincts Participating in blind food and wine tasting at the national finals can be daunting, so be confident in your skills and knowledge. “Go with your gut,” says Danielle Doffay, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “Your first answer was probably the right one.”

8. Know your industry All national finalists have an informal interview with the judging panel, so this is your chance to really impress. Be aware of the latest trends, techniques and challenges in the industry. “Study the terminology and trends being used on menus in Melbourne and Sydney at the moment,” says Joshua Smith, 2010 Young Waiter Runner Up.

9. Be yourself When it comes to the judges, most past finalists agree that the trick is to be natural, friendly and confident. “Don’t freak out! The judges are not scary, they’re really quite nice and they’re there to support and guide,” says Mitchell Jones, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “They want you to succeed as much as you do.”

10. Don’t give up A number of our finalists and winners were successful on their second, or even third, attempt. “Have a go – there is nothing to lose,” says Louise Tamayo Australian Young Waiter 2009

Applications for young waiters close at 11:59pm on Sunday 12 April 2015

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