I just received a resume from an old friend in the industry. He is interested in one of my positions. I haven’t got a clue if I can hook him up or not for a very simple reason:
Like so many experienced chefs, that is, chefs with over twenty years under their belts, he has chosen to place what he feels is the most impressive information at the beginning of the resume and sort his previous positions accordingly.
This leaves me as an employer or recruiter with the job of figuring out the puzzle..in which direction has he guided his career, what is his current track record, etc.
None of us in the people industry really like playing connect the dots.
Therefor let’s do a snappy summary of the best practices for presenting your job history on paper.
1) State your most recent job on top. List previous positions historically going back in time.
2) If you are currently in your position and have been there for at least three years, you have no need to give the months, although I still prefer them. Shorter positions, however, should be presented with the months of employment. (10/04 – 9/06 for instance) This will usually work in your favor. Your job history is a history.
3) Positions going back more than seven years or so do not need months, with the exception of positions in prestigious or celebrity restaurants. These should always show exactly how long you worked there.
4) If you worked at different branches of the same company, you should list the entire time you worked for the company with the separate locations indented with months and years below.
5) You can (and should) also use this trick if you followed one chef mentor or restaurant owner through more than one property. The point you want to make is stability or commitment.
6) Simultaneous positions can be listed in succession with a mention that they were both at the same time.
7) If you interrupted an ongoing position to take a stage elsewhere or attend formal culinary training, there is no reason not to list the entire period of your employment there with a note that there was a six month interruption for whatever reason.
To summarize, my clients and I, or anyone who is hiring, is more interested in your current career trajectory than your illustrious distant past.
The best you can hope for if you try to put shine on your career by placing the cherries on top is mild exasperation. It is more likely that you will disqualify yourself for trying to get something past them. In other words, we don’t appreciate being messed with.
To quote a very smart client regarding this situation, “I don’t care where he was..I want to know what he did with it, what he is doing with it, and where he’s going now.” Let that guide you.
Jo Lynne Lockley