Feb 282011

There are, of course, a whole lot of things which  can remove your resume from consideration, but here are a few you can control.

For anyone who has been reading these pieces, this is old news, but as the Swiss say, “A double sewn seam always holds better.”  While most resume variations are really of little importance, these are sure fire ways to sabotage your job application:

1)      Pictures. Clusters of grapes. Cute chefs. Toques.

2)      .txt format (Notepad).  It is assumed that grownups know how to write a resume in Word or RTF. (Rich Text).  (hint: Click file > Save As > Choose Rich Text Format.)

3)      Oddball formats of unique resume programs which cannot be opened on the recipient’s computer. Not everyone has ResumeGenius on their computer.  (see Nr 2).

4)      Jobs without dates.

5)      More than about ¼ page of introduction plus minimum information on  your previous employment, usually listed in as many lines as you have had jobs.

6)      Lyrical text or philosophy. “I believe my place in the Universe…”  “My commitment to my passion inspires the harmony of my plate.” People will also laugh at you.

7)      Bravado, Bragging, Posturing: “I am the chef for your job.” “My superb talent is exceeded only by my legendary presentation.”

8)      Missing information, innuendo, allusions. “Currently employed at one of the nation’s top locations” with no name.

9)      A lengthy, rambling, cliche ridden cover letter.

10)   Attempts to be cute or funny in any way. People will not laugh.

That’s it. Count ‘em, 10.

Jan 242011

Choosing the right job in the right kitchen:

Part One of Two

In your career, you are special. You have you’re a unique set of talents, aptitudes, strengths and weaknesses combined with a body of knowledge and set of skills formed during your working life. They may lean towards the systematic management of large numbers of people or towards the fine tuning of intricate flavor combinations.  There will be any number of people more or less similar to  you, but nobody exactly like you.

You are also special and unique in your goals and expectations. If you are young in the industry they  include developing your future and your skills. If you are seasoned, you want to put what you have learned to use. There are any number of people in some ways similar to you but nobody just like you in the labor market. You are one of a kind.

So are most jobs, from the job description itself to the nature of the clientele to location and demands of the physical space. Out of twenty jobs, there may be one for you, or none or three. If you are reading this, the short odds are that you are considering your career and a possible move. Another set of short odds says that in the process, you are not thinking about matching you to a kitchen or restaurant operation, but that you are sending out a dozen resumes to anything that looks like a possible match.

If you are already being selective, congratulations. You have figured out a lot more than most people.

Part of the motivation of changing jobs is always an improvement. Most people see this as increased compensation or title, but there should be more – companies where you can progress, managers from whom you can learn or challenges great enough to move you forward but not too great to put your success in question should be part of your career thinking.

Defining what you want and what will benefit you, not always the same thing,  is an important part of your job search.  You owe yourself the thought and time it takes.

As a special unique professional with specific goals you need to target your search and your choices, then to act on them. Stay tuned for more on you working in your own best interests.

 Stay tuned.

Oct 222010

Details that make you look unprofessional.

The job search process seems at times to cloud people’s minds.  Otherwise they would never  send me or an HR Director a resume, possibly showing a fabulous background, with an email like screamingchef@yahoo, ladiesdream@googleSexypastrygirl@hotmail, or BezirkerCanibal@msn.   The first thing we see in the presentation, before we see the resume or have a chance to become interested in their background, is an address which indicates that the person’s self image is that of a vamp, a sexual predator, or someone who could easily wield a meat cleaver for something less suitable than a pork chop. This, I am sorry to say, is very likely to prejudice us against you from the start. We might get past that, but it won’t make things any easier for you.

Not knowing very much about you, the HR director and I are bound to scrutinize every tiny clue you inadvertently provide us. We’re looking for signs of character, contradictions, indications of your level of detail and sense of order, all of which can often be deduced from details of   your submission – such as the way you choose to present yourself to us with your email nickname.   This means that if you want to be  hired in a professional restaurant,  you should approach them in a professional manner.

“How,” you may well query, “do that? Being professional, I mean.”

Well, stonedgeorge@aol.com, you should begin by not being frivolous.  Get yourself a professional or at least a fairly vanilla, grown up email address, such as  ChefGeorge@google or BrooklynchefJohn@yahoo – preferably something with your name to make it easier for the employer to find that wonderful resume in his in box.

If you really want to make an impression, you can purchase a dedicated email address with your own domain from services like Sherwood or Godaddy or Hostgator, so your address can be chefjohn@chefjohn.com, if you like. The domain registration is about $10 a year and your address is either free or low cost. Godaddy gives you a several free email addresses with a domain, but their spam policies in the past have tended to filter out important mail.

You can forward the mail  to your regular address, so you see when someone sends you interesting when  you are no longer checking mail.   Remember to reply, though, from your dedicated professional account.

Here are a few more arguments for a dedicated, professional address:

  • It will make your life easier at some point.
  • Your current employer’s address will not be in your book, so you won’t accidentally send him something you don’t want him to have, and he probably won’t receive a viral email with the addresses of all the job sites you have applied to and fifteen craigslist addresses, as is happening to many job seekers at the moment with a rampant virus.
  • You can send yourself copies of all the documents you need for your job search and store them or in the case of  Windows Live (Hotmail) or Google, you can access your documents from anywhere  and even edit them with full word processing software in separate online folders.
  • You will have a history  of your complete job search history in one place. Of course you delete nothing.  When you receive a response to an application and think you have heard the name somewhere, a quick search of your mail can show you that this was the HR director you hit it off with so well in an interview with another company three years ago.
  • Nobody in the family or elsewhere will be able to go in and mess something up while looking for Aunt Ruth’s Christmas letter.
  • You will not have to worry about spam if you use Hotmail, Yahoo or Google. They have wonderful filters.

You are not, of course, going to delete your regular address. Keep it and enjoy it. When people at work know you and love you, it doesn’t matter where they write you. It’s just the first impression that counts.