Dec 312012

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 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

  2 Responses to “Resume Chronology for Chefs, Managers, Directors and Anyone Else in the F&B Industry.”

Comments (2)
  1. Yes, you are right about references..That is on another post. The problem with offering resume advice is that it follows the adage, “There is no foolproof system because fools are so ingenious” – there are so many mistakes to make on resumes, that it is impossible to get them all in one swoop. Every time I think I can pack up and be done with it, something new blows in – as with the resume (Your CV) mentioned above, where a seasoned chef tries to use a little mix it up a bit.
    There are a lot of resume pieces here covering the philosophy, the practicalities and a few of the endless details of the process.
    I disagree, however, with your statement that it is important that your resume should stand out. Your resume is truly no more than a crib sheet (I needed to explain the term to a cooking school class recently, so let me explain, it is a list of main points you can refer to when making a speech or writing a test) for the hiring authority.
    Since so many candidates have been told by resume writers (They are all over Linked in) telling that flash is important and that they can get you to the top of the pile by making your resume “stand out”, nothing stands out any more (People who read resumes catch on to these tricks fairly quickly) except that the candidate writing the resume is trying to pull one over on you, which does not impress us, at least not in the intended manner.
    What needs to stand out is the real history and experience of the resume subject, which means that readers will be seeking several clues from commitment through stability to logical career tracking and quality career decision making – which in turn very handily answer your two well stated points.
    Thank you for responding.
    Noting a few differences between CV’s and resumes, I’d also be cautious with putting the qualifications first (that will be a blog fairly soon) – since you surely mean that you put down facts and Americans generally tend to put down extensive lists of what they see as their F&B scout badges (“Highly effective at cost control” “Known for exquisite cuisine.”).
    Any good HR person or employer can figure out what the person is about if they read the history. I prefer it left at that.

  2. Hi Jo Lynne-
    I would agree that current information is key- but I would always have qualifications first and a tailored work history 2nd. the reasons are simple-

    1- Is the person qualified to do the job?- is always the 1st question anyone should ask.
    2- has the person the experience necessary to do the job well, with the minimum of training?

    These days it is doubly important that a resume should stand out- your resume should reflect your qualifications and experience- in relation to the job you are applying for.
    The amount of CV’s that get thrown aside because there is too much, or cluttered information, is amazing.
    It is also unbelievable how many CV’s do not have even basic contact details correctly stated. There are often simple typo’s- which are easily sorted- but can still make their way onto a letter or CV- easily avoided, but can also be a black mark against you.

    I would also be reluctant to put referees on a CV- always put “References-on Request” as it happens frequently that prospective employers will check references without your permission- which can be embarrassing to say the least!

    So in my view- CV’s should have Qualifications first and a tailored work history 2nd!