Do You Have a Culinary Resume?
You never know when opportunity will knock, so having a professional-looking, current resume is critical.
If you need to brush up your resume, here are some suggestions to get you going.
- Get your facts in order. Make a list of all applicable experience and education. If you’re just starting out, this may require some creativity. Have you helped a friend cater a party? Volunteered in a soup kitchen? Jot down the dates of each project and the skills you used to complete it. Think about culinary skills but also general skills, like customer service, time management, budgeting, purchasing, etc.
- Before you write, determine your objective. Are you looking for full-time employment as a chef, or are you looking for gigs? Do you want catering or personal chef assignments? You don’t need to state your objective on the resume (that’s passé and can take up valuable space on your page), just remember to gear your resume towards the appropriate audience. A family looking to hire a personal chef wants different information than a restaurant hiring a sous-chef. And yes…if you have more than one objective, you may need more than one resume.
- Ask yourself, “What is the single most compelling reason someone would hire me, as opposed to someone else?” The answer to this question is your differentiator—what makes you stand out. Your differentiator should be featured on your resume. Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience but you graduated from a well-known culinary school. Maybe you don’t have the chef’s credential, but you’re known for creative cooking on a budget, great presentation, or some specialty, like wood-fire grilling or gluten free desserts. You can use your differentiator in a summary statement about yourself, or you can build your resume around it. See #4.
- Find a template online. (It’s easy—Google “chef resume templates” or similar- you’ll find many free template sources.) The appearance of your resume—font, page setup, organization—is really important. It gives an overall impression and helps the reader process the information contained in your resume. Unless you’re very good at word processing and/or desktop publishing, use a template to make sure your resume looks professional. Choose the template based on your education, experience and differentiator—you want a template that allows you to place the most impressive information at the top of the document.
- Get a proofreader. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread for you. Even if your spelling and grammar are impeccable, another set of eyes will find things you missed. If possible, get a recruiter (or someone who hires for whatever position you’re seeking) to give you some feedback, too.
Remember, a resume is always evolving, because it represents you—and you’re always gaining skills and experience. Update your resume regularly so you’re always ready to impress.