Writing a resume can be difficult and time-consuming, even for culinary professionals who have exceptional communication skills and a solid understanding of what a resume needs to contain to be successful. For the uninitiated, creating this key job search document can become overwhelming. The first thing to keep in mind when writing a resume is that it must be tailored for a certain industry and it must target a specific position. A resume for an executive chef will be different than one for a line cook. Here are a few tips on resume writing just for executive chefs.
Before we begin reviewing the specific parts of a resume, we must first cover the three main strategies for resume writing: chronological, functional, and hybrid.
When discussing the different types of resume strategies, it’s important to note that the particular format you choose to employ depends entirely upon your unique situation. The more traditional chronological format is the best option for the majority of job seekers; however, if you are changing careers, have significant gaps in your employment history, performed many of the same duties in each of your prior roles, or have held a number of short-term positions throughout your career, you may want to use the functional or hybrid strategy. No matter what format you decide to utilize, your resume needs to contain the following sections
Title, Summary & Core Competencies Sections:
Simply put, the purpose of the title, summary, and core competencies sections is to grab the reader’s attention as soon as possible and inspire them to continue reading the rest of the resume. This area of the document is “prime real estate,” and must be used to your advantage. Include your career target as the resume’s title (for instance: “Executive Chef”), immediately after your name and contact information. Next, you should create a hard-hitting and concise 3–5 sentence summary paragraph that touts your skills and highlights the amount of experience you have to offer a potential employer. For example:
Talented, versatile, and award-winning Chef with extensive experience leading high-volume culinary operations with multiple outlets, controlling food and labor costs, and enhancing quality and guest satisfaction. Broad background in food and beverage (F&B) management at luxury resorts and private golf clubs. Proven abilities in HR functions including hiring/recruiting and training, coaching, and supervision of front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) staff. Exceptional financial acumen with strengths in purchasing, strategic planning, and business development. Impressive track record of exceeding sales/revenue goals and improving profit margins.
Following the summary paragraph, there should be a strong keyword, or core competencies, section. This is a critical area on any resume because it serves more than one purpose. First, it helps to round out the skills mentioned in the summary paragraph and provides the reader with a snapshot of your areas of expertise. Second, it will help your resume get past the applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that many employers and recruiters use nowadays. It’s important to note that you should not overload this area. Pick 10–15 key capabilities and format them in a way that the hiring manager examining your resume will be able to review them quickly. If you include too many skills or organize them in a way that is not attractive to the eye, this section may satisfy the ATS but it will not impress the human reader. For instance, you could present your keyword list as follows:
Inventory & Cost Control ■ P&L Management ■ Leadership & Teambuilding ■ Vendor Relations
Catering & Event Planning ■ Budget Administration ■ Sanitation & Food Safety
Customer Service ■ Performance Evaluation ■ Menu Creation/Development
It goes without saying that a well-written professional experience section is vital to making it past the resume review stage and being called in for interviews. This section is the real meat of the resume and it’s where your career history (and your writing skills) needs to shine. All of those skills and abilities mentioned in the summary paragraph and core competencies section must be backed up by detailed examples and achievements in your professional experience section. However, it’s essential that you keep the reader in mind and make this part of the resume short and sweet (just like the other sections). The best way to organize each of your positions is as follows: 1) employer name and location, 2) job title (on a separate line), 3) dates of employment, 4) short paragraph discussing job duties and responsibilities, and 5) list of bulleted achievements. To give you a better idea of how this looks on the page:
The ABC Club | City, State 2004–2008
Enlisted by previous supervisor (General Manager of DEF Club) to oversee 2 restaurants serving private 800-condominum community, 123 Fine Dining and The 456 Bar and Grill. Supervised FOH and BOH staff of as many as 20 employees. Handled ordering/receiving, inventory control, menu design, costing, and budget administration. Directed planning and food production for banquets with up to 500 guests.
As mentioned above, there are three different strategies for organizing a resume. The example shows the chronological format, so the structure would be different for a functional or hybrid resume. Please feel free to view more sample resumes for chefs on iHireChefs.com.
Education, Certifications & Training:
Your resume would be incomplete without a section covering your educational background along with other applicable information such as certifications, additional training, affiliations, and/or community involvement (if relevant). Construct this section to present these uncomplicated (but vital) details in a straightforward manner:
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
AOS in Culinary Arts, Culinary Academy, City, State
American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Culinarian
ServSafe Certified Food Protection Manager
Member – ACF