The Complete Guide to writing Resumes
For Food and Beverage Professionals
Your resume, the page or two of your employment history you commit to paper, will probably be the first impression you give the next person you want to work for.
To make that impression a good one, you need to understand what purpose a resume serves, who will read it, and how it will be used. Fortunately, creating a great resume is not a difficult task. It takes a little time and thought, but since you already know the terminology of your part of the industry and know your own skills, history and potential better than anyone else, you are probably n a position to do just about everything yourself.
In a hurry? Try the template: you candownload a simple resume or a Microsoft Resume Merge Kit to complete with your own information. Just click on the link. These are both simple forms which are probably best suited for emergencies.
Take a few minutes to think about resumes in general. In order to write a resume that works you need to understand what a resume is:
- A clear and factual presentation of your experience, skills training.
- A selection tool and memory aid for the hiring authority who receives it.
- A record for the personnel files of the employer who hires you and a future reference and resource for the one who does not.
- Your advertising of yourself as a desirable addition to a firm, your best foot forward.
- A laundry list for a series of reference checks and employment confirmation calls.
To write an effective resume, you should understand who will be reading it:
- A resume sent to a small, freestanding restaurant or private residence will probably be seen and discussed informally by the owner or perhaps a manager.
- Large established restaurants may have their own human resource manager, or a general manager to screen and Decide on resumes.
- In small corporations and large restaurants the first person to see a resume is generally the General manager or owner, but some have administrative managers or human resource managers who Screen resumes for the positions.
- Hiring by hotels or corporations usually involves prescreening by human resource professionals along a set of specific guidelines before the resume is forwarded to the department head.
- Resumes sent to private clubs not only pass through managers' and perhaps human resource directors' hands, personnel offices, but may also be discussed by a board or committee.
- Resumes for most subordinate positions in single unit properties are read by the supervisor immediately, then screened by the manager, owner or an administrator.
To make your resume work, you need to consider the requirements and the concerns of these different recipients, so put you in their shoes, for a moment. What do they want? What do they need? What do they dislike?
Locals, for instance, need less information about what you are currently doing than a corporation in another state, and your plate painting awards will probably be wasted on the airline kitchen seeking a production manager.
Your resume may be about you, but it is for them. Directing it to their needs serves yours. Most of these people have - or rather lack -one thing in common: Time. Consideration of the lack may not get you a job, but failing to provide the information they are seeking, or worse, wasting their time with verbosity, cute self-promotion, heaps of unrelated stuff can exclude you from it.
Considering a potential employer's time limitations means deciding what he would like to know about you first. This usually means not what you believe you are - creative, a good communicator, an asset to any organization - but what you have done, where and how long.
Does he want to know if you have dealt with food cost, labor cost, projections, menus and wine lists? What about the size, volume, nature and rating of your previous places of employment, the product, your special skills, your banquet experience, marketing background, marketability, history of team oriented or structured management environments, product knowledge, language skills, and ethnic culinary experience.
Your challenge is to select the points a prospective resume reader will want to know about you and to present the information concisely and clearly. Effective resumes are clear and simple: Time tested adages for any important written information are KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and The Facts, Ma'm, Just the Facts. There is no set form for resumes, but the following tips will help you determine how to present yourself.
WHAT BELONGS IN A RESUME?
- Your Name, Address And Correct Telephone Number: Put this information on every page.
- A Short Complete Job Description For Every Position:
- The pertinent facts about the nature of your product, size of the restaurant, and responsibilities of your position.
- To whom you answered: directly to a general manager, to a director of food and beverage, to the pastry chef.
- Promotions within the organization with dates.
- Dates of employment including the months:
- Any particular skills you have which are relevant to your field. This might include the production of showpieces, ice carving, particular ethnic cuisines, pastry skills, languages, computer literacy, butchering, special knowledge of fish or wine.
- All Education And Training Relating to the Position you are Considering: State the location of the school, apprenticeship or training program and the organizations under which it is accredited or certified. If you are fortunate enough to have attended a high school training program, state that as well.
- Give any current certification courses and continuing education such as certification programs in food safety, labor law, OSHA, ACF certification classes or special courses in nutrition, accounting, or sugar pulling.
- References Whether you provide references on a separate sheet or suggest references at the end of each job description, stating them in the resume is a positive job hunt strategy. It shows that you are confident that people will speak well of you. If you decide not to provide references directly on the resume, have a sheet of them handy to send out on request.
- Other Useful Information: Awards from salons, display or culinary competitions are often of interest to larger properties with banquets. You can also list culinary or business organizations to which you belong, but not unrelated activities or organizations at the end of the resume.
Some more complicated resume decisions:
Should you list employment prior to achieving a management position?
Don't hesitate to show that you gained your current position by working your way up. If you first jobs were inauspicious, don't worry.
If you have a long list of positions in a few early years, you can tryto summarize them in one block of print.
Short term contracts and consultancies:
If you only stayed for a short time at a number of jobs because you were hired for a specific, time limited task, You can list yourself as a consultant. Unfortunately, many people who cannot keep jobs for reasons ranging from substance abuse to just plain shiftlessness have all but ruined the term. Consultant, furthermore, is in some people's mind a term for "know it all", which works against real consultants.
If you have been a consultant, put references in your listing. If you have been working for a consulting firm, list it as your employer with the individual contracts
If you contracted independently to a series of restaurants, try listing them under a heading rather than as a row on individual positions.
An alternate term for "consultant" is "hired on short term/six month short term contract". Try "seasonal position", "temporary position", "on short term assignment".
Inclusions: Pictures, menus, articles.
A menu or a review of your current or recent restaurant can provide valuable information to the recipient, but be sparing with the material you send with your resume. If you have a great deal of information it is better to state in your resume that it is available and can be sent on request.
Never leave a position without a collection on ephemera - that is hard copy documentation of your employment. This will document your employment even if the earth swallows the restaurant and everyone who worked there. This includes at least one employment confirmation, menus, copies of checks, pictures, articles. Reference letters, if they are offered, should always be on letterhead stationary. Keeping information in a portfolio makes it handy if you need it for an interview, but don't overwhelm potential employers.
: Photographs are very entertaining, but, again, be cautious about overwhelming recipients and their mailboxes with a lot of large files. Stating that they are available is usually enough. If you have photographs, take a few with you on interviews.
Bad resume techniques
Long Bullet Lists of your qualities: A long bullet list of your qualifications and followed by a short list of your experience, forcing the reader to connect the dots is ineffective.
The hiring authority really wants to see in which of your positions, in what environment and for how long you executed tasks and responsibilities. Commercial resume writers tend to push this qualification based resume form, probably in the assumption that the potential employer will be impressed. Most, however, find connecting pages or paragraphs annoying.
Tooting your own horn: Let your experience speak for you. Leave it to others to tell Your potential employer that you are a dedicated and highly talented professional. Do not use Your resume to tell people what a great person you are. After all, anyone with enough gray matter for you to want to work for them will realize that you are probably the least objective person on that subject.
Name Dropping is simply tacky. That you cooked for President Clinton does not make you a better chef or cook. Famous people do not necessarily have better palates. Name-dropping is silly, it wastes space, and it doesn't work.
Lengthy, essay style paragraphs and fussy prose annoy. A resume is not an exercise in creative writing. Some resumes are just plain silly in their literary pretension. Stick to the simple facts, make them readable, and avoid the poetic or the baroque. .
Fibs, dissimulation, overstatement of position, fabrication or and puffery come down to lying. Just don't do it. Even if the person hiring is inexperienced enough not to check your statements, which you empower him to do by submitting your resume, later discover is grounds for the kind of dismissal from which few careers can recover.
The law in the United States prohibits hiring based on race, creed, nationality, age, sex, place of birth, marital status, financial status or health, and hiring authorities don't want to see them on the resume.
Jazzy presentation, cute pictures, flashing banners and odd fonts do now work on resumes, at least not with professional companies. It's not art. It's information.
Your resume does not require your photo. As a matter of fact, it is not legal for recruiting firms to retain photos of applicants in their files, and a few have been charged with racial discrimination for having them. This is only true for the United States. Many Asian and European firms require a picture.
Beyond The Basics
Tricks and Tweaks That Can Improve Your Resume
- List property ratings: (stars and diamonds, preferred properties, club of the year, etc.) This is especially important if you have worked for a hotel with varying properties, such as Hyatt or Hilton. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your resume reader will be familiar with the places you work, even if they are locally quite well known.
- Show stability: List all positions worked for the same corporations as sub paragraphs under the same heading:
- Reasons for Leaving Positions: If a position was very short term due to a limited term contract or an unexpected change of management. Rather than leaving this for the end of the listing, you can often work it into your title or job description. If you lost your position for reasons beyond your control, you may want to give a very brief nod to the closing of the restaurant or the Union policies requiring you as the last hired to be the first laid off. You can simply write: "Reason for leaving: Closure" at the end of the paragraph describing the job.
- Replace clichés with more descriptive terms: "California Cuisine" has always been a vague term, description of what you did . "Creative" and "People person" are so over used that they sound silly, as are "nouvelle" and "innovative". You could try, for instance, "serving an Escoffier based cuisine with Italian and Hispanic influences."
- Show logical career progression: Especially if you took a management position directly after formal training but were qualified for the position by previous experience, show that experience in some manner on the resume. Working hard is held by most employers in high esteem, while instant success is viewed with justifiable skepticism. Experience and training are both important factors in most hiring decisions make use of both.
- Show promotions within the same company: If you were hired as a head waiter five years ago and have received one or more promotions and responsibility increases over the time, you want to show your progress and the trust your employers put in you.
- Cover letters may not be read, so be sure to put all important information on your resume. Hiring authorities reading resumes look for the 'nitty gritty', and browse the (usually form) letter attached. Letters written directly about specific positions get read more often than the "To whom it may concern" forms. If you have a name, use it.
- "Objective" paragraphs: Not every resume needs a stated objective, especially if it is being sent for a specific position. A summary of qualifications is frequently a better idea, since it gives a short rundown of what makes you good. You can use an objective paragraph best when you have a very specific objective such as a position in an operation developing meal solutions or a rural location.
- Summary of qualifications: While bragging is not particularly effective on resumes, stating your various qualifications and certifications is may provide the readers with information they right at the start. If you specialize in a particular food, have a specifically strong knowledge of organizational systems or have considerable expertise or experience specialized areas such as OSHA or FDA or chocolate sculpture, you might want to lead in with a short paragraph.
Solutions to Some Resume Problems
- Dealing with simultaneous positions: Sometimes you will have more than one job at once. How you deal with this depends on the jobs. Running a catering business after work, for instance, may not be viewed in a positive light by a manager concerned with the possibility of disappearing product or with your lack of focus on his job.
- Many positions - teaching a course or working for a charity kitchen, for instance - make an excellent impression if they are listed separately from the main job list as "Related Activities".
- Moonlighting - working part time at another property - may be impressive if the property is a location more prestigious than your own, but it is not necessary or useful to list most extra employment.
How long can it be? There is a one page resume rule, which does not apply universally. The true resume rule is that the reader should be able to assess your resume in less than a minute.
It is more important to present all pertinent information in clear and quickly readable form than it is to omit information in order to keep the size down. If you have had only two or three jobs, then one resume should suffice. Padding is neither necessary nor appreciated. If you have a long, complex career, you should keep the details down, but use whatever length you need to show the necessary information. With a long, complex career, you probably know what that is. A resume required details only of recent positions. Early jobs do not need much more than location, title and dates. Most resumes for seasoned professionals with varied experience are now two pages.
Smart Resume PoliciesProof Reading: Probably as many as one in ten resumes we receive contains an unintended mistake. Incorrect information on a resume never reflects well on you. If it is misspelled, then it is a bad comment on your attention to details and follow through. If the information provided is wrong, the reader may assume that you are dishonest. If the telephone number is wrong, you just won't hear from them.
You should check your resume thoroughly, then have it proofread by another person who knows the terms of the industry. This is especially important if you use a resume service, as these tend to rename positions according to a computerized spell checker, making garden managers out of garde mangers and creating the unintentionally ethnic position of Sioux Chef or the nouveau Latter Day Saints dish of "Beef Brigham Young".
Give special attention to the dates. Do this before you leave the service's office.
Keeping your resume updated: The best time to rewrite your resume is the week you begin a new job or get a promotion. Opportunities for wonderful jobs often come unexpectedly. If you have a current resume on hand, you will be able to respond to them at once.
Multiple resumes: You probably have a number of different skills which could be used differently in different situations. Instead of trying to hit a middle road, you may wish to write resumes highlighting those talents. If you know of a very special position, consider tailoring a resume for that position. If, for instance, you worked at one of the Asian style West Coast hotels and apply to a private club and to a restaurant, your restaurant resume should weigh the culinary creation and ala carte production more heavily than any banquet activities you exercised. The club, on the other hand, will be interested in the banquet. Another hotel might want to know that you have experience with labor unions B a fact that might not gain extra points in the restaurant or the club.
Holding back information for the interview: Too much information at once is overwhelming to anyone hiring. If you have a large portfolio of articles and pictures, save some for your meeting with the potential employer. This can provide a point of conversation, and is usually appreciated.
How Should It Look? People take cues for hiring decisions on a number of levels. Some are fairly subtle. Your resume not presents your qualifications, but presents a little of your personality. Whether the margins are straight may influence the reader. When your resume is written and printed you need to hold it arms length and see if it looks pleasant. Is it clean? Is the important information identifiable at a glance? Is it cluttered?
A resume should be easy to read. It will fit in a file. Odd shapes, fold out formats and complicated presentation is more likely to annoy than delight. You are presenting for a professional position, and a professional and straight forward statement of fact will be more beneficial that anything cute. If your qualifications don't get the hiring authority's attention, your origami resume won't do the trick.
The first resume anyone sees written in menu form first course through dessert is whimsical. After that they are just irritating.
How unique do you want to appear? Consider the suitability of your presentation to the job you want. The people hiring you will have to live with you for a long time. Someone whose paper screams: "Convention be hanged, I am special! I am ART", where "Art" is not a name, is probably not sending signals that he will be a team player.
Font: Your font should be a minimum of 11 points in Microsoft Applications, 12 in Corel. Remember that people need to be able to see what you have written to appreciate it. Don't make the mistake of putting your address and telephone number in teeny tiny letters in an adorable block in the upper right hand corner. When things are faxed, they are reduced in size. Make the letters big enough to read.
Be economical in your use of Italic or cursive fonts; they are harder to read and scan badly. Do not use underlining as an art form. You can make the best impression by blocked out paragraphs, reducing bullets to where they are needed, and using an easily readable font; Times New Roman and Ariel are the most widely used. Avoid wild fonts and bullets if you are sending to large companies. Many of them are now scanning, and current o.c.r. (optical character recognition) software balks at underlines and bullets.
Visual Balance: This may be the most difficult part of writing a truly effective resume. Fortunately the recent versions of most major word processors make alignment easier. Play with justified text, pushing dates to the far right border with right tabs, setting tabs for you entire document so that all text is perfectly aligned.
Part of the balance question is whether to use blank space for effect. If you have room, blank space can be impressive, but it should not be applied in lieu of content. Stand back and look at your first draft. If it shows a lot of empty paper and is too long, then you can work with the fields of type to get more information on the first page.
If your resume looks like a solid block of text with no resting places for the eye, then you should include some space, either by enlarging a margin or creating spaces between lines. If it looks like Japanese Art - elegant it its sparseness - you are offering too little content.
Do-Dads and Squiggles serve no purpose. They distract the eye from the important information your resume carries. Vertical lines separating dates from jobs interrupt the view of the resume. Sometimes, however, a well placed horizontal line between address and name or between the header and the information of the resume makes excellent sense. By moving your name to the left, for instance, and putting a line immediately below it, you can position your phone numbers across from your name and your address below it - saving space and creating a very attractive page.
Visual clarity: Your resume needs to be readable after it is faxed. Faxing not only diminishes the resume but blurs it. If you can fax directly from your computer, do so - the Recipients printer acts as yours and saves a blurring step. If not, make sure you have a few copies on flat, white paper printed at the highest possible quality (dpi) for the purpose of faxing. If you use your own fax, be sure to clean it occasionally. Laser copies make better faxes than ink-jet copies.
Paper: White is the only color for resume paper. Flocks, pastels or day glow are not appropriate.
For positions in the United States be sure to use letter size paper rather than the standard European A4 or other odd sizes, unless you want yours to be the one that messes up the pile.
Covers and folders: You want a reader to see your qualifications as soon as he lifts your resume from a stack. Fancy folders are impressive, but they keep the first page covered up. Clear covers are an improvement, but they make it harder to rifle through information and they do not fit in a stack of people being considered, so they may be moved aside for convenience and overlooked.
If your presentation is truly glorious, the reader may put it in a special place, where it will slip from his mind and never be found again. Folders, on the other hand, provide good carriers for press information. If you do enclose your resume, be sure that the resume part can be removed from the cover.
Delivery method: In the past five years the preferred resume delivery method has changed from mail to fax to e-mail.
GETTING IT WRITTEN
Resume writing services are expensive and not very effective.
For one thing they don't know the vocabulary of the food and beverage industry and tend to correct things incorrectly. With all of the computer templates available today, there is no reason not to write your own. Have it proof read by a friend. Once you have written one, you should let it rest overnight and read it with fresh eyes at least a day later.
If you are absolutely computer illiterate, you can write out your resume by hand and take it to a secretarial service to be word-processed. If you do this, you need to get a guarantee that any changes will be corrected without charge for at least a month and get a copy of your resume on a floppy. Don't give your money to any service which will not provide you with an electronic copy of your resume. Insist that the document not be password protected so that you can update it anywhere by anyone in the future. With the resume on disk you can have copies printed out at copy shops anywhere.
IF YOU ARE TERRIFIED OF WRITING A RESUME:
Whether you write your own resume or have someone else compose it, try listing your positions and dates from the most recent job back.
Use the writer's trick of using a separate sheet of paper of index card for each one. Use more cards for your summary, education and, if you have a place for them, awards paragraphs. List the particulars of each job on its card, fist the restaurant particulars then your job description. Complete the information on the cards for education, summary, special skills, and awards, honors and special events, if you use one.
If you use a typing or resume writing service, you simply need to take the cards down, explain them to the writer and leave them as crib sheets. If you are doing your own, which will only take a few more minutes, you just need to put the cards in order and fill in the spaces.
If you worked at Cafe Bonjour, a mid sized French restaurant in 1979 as night sous chef, for instance, your card might look like this:
CAFE BONJOUR - Seattle - 206 555 5555/Claude Bonjour ExCH, Owner 1/9-12/89 Day sous chef ..200 seat - French and Continental - seasonal menu - ..lunch production/help chef with menu/supervise mise en place, grill, sauté line/weekly inventory/receive, store produce.
The final entry could like thisCAFE BONJOUR, Seattle, WA 1/89 to 12/89
Day Sous Chef in 200 seat upscale restaurant serving French and continental cuisine. Seasonal menu change. Responsible for lunch production, supervised set up, grill and sauté cooks, product receiving and storage and weekly inventory.
Contact: Pierre Bonjour 206 555 5555
If you keep in mind that you are presenting the person who will read your resume with as much information as possible in an attractive and easily readable form, you cannot write a bad resume.
Words fail you: If you have some problems with the initial wording try the THE ONE FROM COLUMN A, ONE FROM COLUMN B METHOD FOR THE RESUME CHALLENGED- a simple template for a culinary resume. Choose the appropriate terms or add your own, following the general pattern for a very acceptable resume.
Alternative Resume Styles
Skill focused resumes: These are useful for people reentering field or changing fields. They emphasize the candidate's skills which would transfer to the field at which they are directed. Although a number of resume books promote them, they are not much use for anyone in an experience-based job in the hospitality industry.
Electronic directed resumes: These seemed like a good idea once - the resume crammed full of every key word in the industry. They weren't.
The terms for various positions change from country to country and from time to time and location to location. One restaurant's executive chef is another's kitchen manager. The United States has no centralized training and certification authority and therefore different schools tell graduates that they have different titles, different size properties apply the same title to very different jobs. We have put together a list of the most common job titles and their generally accepted meanings which you can refer to. Remember that the title does not confer the skills, so the position of sous chef supervising a staff of three in a well staffed kitchen serving sixty covers a night does not mean that you will be able to handle a staff of thirty in a very busy restaurant.
American Resumes for EuropeansEuropeans deal in curriculum Vitae rather than resumes. The differences are mostly cosmetic, but if you are a European considering coming to the United States, you here are some of the main rules:
SUMMARY AND SOME SIMPLE PHILOSOPHY
Your resume will not get you the job. At best it gets you the interview, but your experience and you, the person, get the job. Your resume says about you only where you worked and what you worked at B it tells the employer whether your skills and job background are in line with what he is seeking. There is no way in which paper could convey that highly individual quality which is the sum of your background and your mind set and your skills, talent and interactive personality. Resumes aren't art, they aren't you, they are simply a business tool. Writing your resume, however, can tell you a lot about who you are and where you stand in your plan for your life. It is a thoroughly self centered task, in that its process and outcome is your reflection on your achievements and your aspirations, your history and your future. It should be enlightening, and it should be fun. It is one of the few tasks of adult life which permits you to focus on nobody but yourself. Savor it.