Apr 202011

And they are fun. They can be very useful in your job search process.

Photos are rarely the final reason that a chef is hired, although in truth, I hired at least one chef based on his pictures. It was when I was young and stupid, but it worked. He ran one of the hottest restaurants in San Francisco and eventually became the Executive Chef of the Palace Hotel.

I was fortunate with that placement,  since what he didn’t have in experience he possessed in intelligence and knowledge.  That approach to hiring rarely worked two decades ago, and it doesn’t work at all now.

You probably already have a collection. If you don’t, you probably should. You can take excellent pictures with any digital pocket camera  these days. You don’t need a food photographer, and you don’t need a $540 Nikon.  The question, however, is what do you do with them?

First, here’s what you don’t do: Send about three gigabytes of pictures with your resume. Have mercy. Everyone’s mailbox has some limits, as does everyone’s time. As a matter of fact, don’t send any pictures at all when you apply to a job.  An employer wants to see where you have been and what you did there before he dedicates time to photos.

So what then?

There are numerous possibilities. The most obvious is taking them with you on an interview and offering them if a moment arises. It probably will, and the person you are speaking with will probably be interested. (If not, it’s a good thing you didn’t send them in advance.)  In addition to the time honored scrap book approach, smart phones and Ipads provide easy transportation and viewing. Netbooks are less elegant due to the fuss of opening the program and pulling up the pictures.

You can carry your photos on a thumb drive, although if the interviewer is not sitting in front of a computer, you may  no’t be able to show them.  In fact, you should also carry a copy of your resume and anything else you think would be helpful on a keychain thumb drive when  you interview.

There is also “the cloud” – online storage space which can be accessed from any WiFi or hard wired Internet connection. At some point you will be using this daily, but for now connectivity fails often enough to make it a less attractive choice for interview show and tell.  It’s a good way, however, to make material available to interested employers during the course of a job discussion process after or before the interview.   A note on a cover letter that images of the food are available if the reader is interested is preferable to instructions to “see my pictures here”, by the way.

A few of cautions:

1)      Videos are iffy. They take more time to view. They carry subliminal message about the character of the person who films herself, which may not be appreciated.  They demand time from someone who may not have it.

2)      Your pictures should be good ones. I have received images of food I would not eat. They should also be of YOUR food.

3)      The art of presentation is in the selection. Fewer pictures is better.  Don’t overwhelm the interviewer. You want no more than fifteen or so.  Choose a good selection of the best.

4)      The pictures should  be pertinent to you and your skills and not your private life. Celebrity shots with Donald Trump or President Clinton don’t tell anyone anything about you except that you had a moment for a photo shot.

5)      Offer them, don’t force them on potential employers. “Would you like to see some of the food we served?” is nearly irresistible. Please look at my pictures” isn’t.

6)       Pictures in a scrap book should be protected and not dog eared and dirty.