Resumes for Chefs
While chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers arrange a large assortment of foods in a variety of restaurants and establishments; there are some basic rules they can all follow to create a successful resume.
In this article, we're going to start with a discussion of the three most common resume formats in use today, and how they apply to chefs and cooks. Then, we're going to outline the unique skills and knowledge that individuals in the culinary arts may want to include on their resumes. Finally, we're going to discuss what we believe is the perfect resume for a chef, how it should be structured, and even a link to a sample that can be downloaded for free.
Resume Styles for Chefs and Cooks
One of the nice things about working as a cook or chef is that nearly everyone can claim some level of expertise. The word chef has its origins from the French phrase "chef de cuisine" or head of the kitchen. This means that even short order cooks could be considered chefs. While some individuals might attend a school of culinary arts to learn their trade, others may have worked through an apprentice program; improving their skills through the years.
These are important points to consider when selecting the right resume format to use. Generally, there are three universally-accepted styles:
- Chronological: provides a historical account of where someone has worked in the past, and the roles they've played in each kitchen. The emphasis of this style is on work experience or history.
- Functional: a good choice for cooks with less experience, since the functional resume emphasizes what is known more than where the individual has worked.
- Combination: the most marketable of all styles, chronological resumes start with a functional format and ends with a chronological style.
The example provided at the end of this article will be in the combination style, since it contains all of the important elements of a great resume. But first, we're going to look at some of the unique features common to resumes for chefs or cooks.
Working as a Chef or Line Cook
Overall, the job market for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers is quite good. In general, chefs, cooks, as well as line cooks will measure, mix, and cook ingredients according to established recipes. They will use a variety of cookware including pots, pans, cutlery, and other equipment, including ovens, broilers, grills, slicers, grinders, and blenders.
This is an important point when putting together a resume, because as individuals become more skilled in the culinary arts, they will be exposed to a larger range of responsibilities. It's important that readers of the document understand the exact qualifications of the chef or cook.
Culinary Skills / Knowledge
The functional and combination styles each contain a section dedicated to highlighting the skills and knowledge that a chef or cook possesses. This is the one place where a potential employer can quickly see if the job applicant is qualified to work in their restaurant or kitchen.
The following is an example of some of the skills and experience that might appear in a bulleted list in this section:
- Certified Master Chef (an indicator of status)
- Hiring and Training of Staff (management experience)
- Planning and Organizing a Restaurant (organization skills)
- Wines and Spirits Management (knowledge)
- Nutritional Cooking (expertise)
While this section will obviously appeal to individuals with more experience, even inexperienced line cooks can benefit from using this format. It is better that a potential employer clearly understands the level of kitchen experience and skills possessed. By showing this information towards the beginning of the resume, the employer can quickly determine if the candidate is qualified for their job opening.
The resume provided is written in the combination style. It's a good example of a resume that would be assembled by someone that is looking for a more experienced position in the culinary profession. Users can download the example here: Sample Chef Resume.
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