Resumes: What Employers look for I


You see, if you read the last piece, that you. As the last page pointed out, employers, not for you. This means you are writing what they want to read rather than what you want to write, and you are presenting it in a way which not only allows them to see what you did where and for how long at a glance without having to guess.

First off, they look for your information. Your name, where you live, your phone and your email address. If they like what they see, it won’t help them if they can’t reach you.
Otherwise, what they want to read, on the whole, is information, facts and some detail. That is, information as opposed to opinions.
They want to know the kind of place you worked at,  what kind of audience it had, what it served, its rhythm and reputation.  Of course if you are approaching a restaurant near yours or possibly if yours is renowned, the person who reads your paper may already know much, but you can’t assume that.

Anyone, however, in Texas reading about your career in New Jersey is not likely to know anything about your past employers, and even if they do, why take a chance on the assumption?

Remember, the employer wants to be able to see everything quickly. The cliché is the 20 second resume – If the employer doesn’t see what he is looking for in 20 seconds, someone else moves into the interview pile. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s absolutely in your interest to facilitate that first reading by providing what he wants where he can best see it.

If you think he will look it Google it or you can provide the rest at an interview, think again. It’s your task to get it under  his nose without making him work it, because he probably won’t, and someone else will do the interview.
This is what you have to tell future employers.

What are these details you  need to provide?

First, you need to tell him about the restaurant or hotel or wherever you worked:
What kind of restaurant was it? Casual? Formal? Did you have large events or offside catering? What kind of food was served? Was there a bar menu or small bites menu in addition to the main menu? Were there extra facets to the restaurant and your job? Nutritional analysis or seasonal or local elements? Ice carving? Buffets and huge brunches? Lithuanian beer pairings?
If it was a hotel, was it union or did you work in a restaurant type environment. Prix fixe or ala carte? Lunch and dinner or three meal?
What about the food? Small plate? Buffets? Spanish, French, Latvian fusion? Was there a bakery. (Pastry chefs: Did you do breads as well as pastries? What kind?)

There’s no finite list. Each restaurant has it’s own description, but you know this description as well as anyone. Select the things you feel are important. (There will be a separate one two three guide later)

Second, he knows what did you do there?  Your title is not sufficient. An Executive Chef at the Reno Convention Center has a vastly different set of responsibilities than an Executive Chef at Nicol’es Petite Bistro.  A sous chef can be about anything from the guy who cuts the fish to the woman who runs the kitchen when the chef is away.

So what were your responsibilities, what were your tasks. What did you do?
Purchasing, menu writing, made decisions regarding banquet menus, spoke with catering customers or off site contracts? Ice carving? Garde manger for events? Scheduling or training or hiring, or all three?

Do/Did you have extensive experience in specific areas like grilling, seafood or vegetarian, don’t let it go unsaid. The same goes for baking and pastry..if you did them a few years back, let it be known. Pastry or seafood knowledge can be a deciding factor in hiring.
What about food safety? Were you involved in any retail or take out product? Packaging? R&D? If you were responsible for purchasing, did you select the vendors? Farms?

Responsibilities translate as skills. You do better to show the reader where you used them than to tell her that you possess them.

This is especially important for those chefs in the middle – chefs de cuisine and executive sous chefs, who may in fact be the actual managers of the kitchen. Did you cook or were you in truth an executive who made decisions, set up and monitored systems, developed menus, but did not work the line?  People can’t  know these things, unless you tell them.

And there’s provenance. Aside from school, if you had any, why are you doing what you do and how did you start. Employers, hearts warm to see that someone started in a chain and worked into fine dining. It shows motivation. Most are less thrilled to see someone who appears to have sprung to the world a full blown sous chef or executive, which would indicate that they didn’t have time to learn the things a chef or a manager needs to know.  Show your beginnings. You can put them all on one line, but your future employer is much more likely to invite you for an interview if he sees you worked your way up. He won’t hold humble beginnings against you.

And quality and reputation of the kitchen. Without being too much of a show off, you need to tell the person reading the resume if your restaurant received particular recognition. You do this by stating the press coverage, not saying that it was the best restaurant in the region.
We will go into this in a bit more detail later. To summarize for now,  the employer wants to know where you did  and how long.
There’s a lot employers don’t want, but that can wait a bit, as can the question of numbers.

Next: What employers look for, 2: Data, Dates and Figures