Jul 212011

This chef resume just came in. I altered it (of course.) . This is nearly the entire resume. Let’s try a game: You  look at it and decide why it isn’t effective. Then scroll down



2000  to Present                       Multi Outlet property – USVI                                                             Sous Chef

Worked in Fine Dining, Quick Service, High Volume and Buffet restaurants throughout the Southern Comfort resort.

Created workloads to keep with budgeted hours.

Managed food costs to maximize profits and add value to menus.

Planned, implemented and executed a process for washing dishes for two high volume restaurants at an offsite location while the onsite dish room was completely rehabbed.

Assisted guests with special diets and allergies, an average of twenty per day.

Mentored several chef assistants to get to the Sous Chef level.

Upheld daily HACCP and sanitation standards to serve the safest possible food.

Held employees responsible for job performance and quality standards on a daily basis.

Developed the skills of the culinary team.

Upheld high standards of quality of the product being served.

Helped in keeping the moral up in the restaurant amongst co-workers.

Trained and educated students in the culinary field.

Regularly exceeded guests’ expectations.

Assisted with menu development and enhancement.

Had to make fast decisions in order to keep production moving smoothly.

Featured Big City Food and Wine Festival’s VIP reception 5 Years.

Featured “Master Chef” at the Food and Wine Festival  and performed cooking demonstrations for the guests

Taught the art of wine tasting to attendees at the “Physicians Congress” conference.

1995 to 2000                             National Chain / Family style                                                 Sous chef

Assisted executive chef with everyday operations.

Ordered seafood and produce.

Worked with employees’ schedules.

Developed culinary skills with new employees.

Helped in the opening of new stores in the area.

Kept food cost and labor down.

Kept kitchen operations flowing.

Covered for call-ins and no-shows.

Dealt with guest special requests, while dining at the restaurant.



Before you read the answer, what do you think about it? If you don’t see anything wrong, then you should read the rest carefully.

Answer: After forcing myself to read and pay attention to a massive lists of achievements, I still know very little about this candidate.

I already have a pretty good idea what a sous chef does in a multi outlet resort (think something like Sandals or a very large Club Med.) It helps to have five or even six points where he was most active, but even with that, I know absolutely nothing about this sous chef after I read the resume.

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before. It bears repeating. I can’t know anything about a candidate until I know more about the places s/he has worked and what s/he did at each of them.  I constantly seek career trajectories – how someone developed themselves on their chef track, as does every employer worth his or her salt. This candidate isn’t sharing this, and most employers aren’t going to be interested enough to ask. It appears, in fact, that he has simply  pasted his job description into the resume. This is not going to work well for him.

Here’s what I would need to know: If  he helped develop the menu, did he do it for one unit serving hamburgers and fries or for three or four units or for a fine dining outlet?  He says he worked at fine dining, QSR and volume outlets but what were they? What kind of food did they serve? How long did he work in the various outlets..six months in qsr and three years in fine dining, or the other way around?  Did he help develop the menus in the QSR outlet or fine dining or both? It makes a difference.

About half of what is printed here is fluff..understandable, because he wants to fill out the page. He doesn’t need to. He has had a notably stable career for the past ten plus years. Listing the units where he has worked, furthermore, would give  him enough material, although there is absolutely nothing wrong with stating what you did in less than a page. Terseness (saying more with fewer words) is generally welcome.

I frankly would prefer a couple of short paragraphs, since the sheer mass of statements pushes my off button almost immediately. While my own off button is not important, that of my clientele is, and looking at a half page list of duties and qualities is pretty likely to put them into a coma as well. Remember,  you are writing to people who have become  used to Facebook and Twitter. They prefer their information in digestible amounts.

I don’t know how long he was sous chef here, and I don’t know what kind of sous chef he was. There are many.  Did he spend nine of the ten plus years  as pantry cook? Was he sous chef all the time. Was he as sous chef in full charge of a unit (chef de cusine) or was he constantly the second man in the hierarchy? Sometimes a sous chef is really a chef. Sometimes a sous chef is really a cook. I  have no idea what this title means on this resume.

Did he do banquets? (He doesn’t say so, but I wonder if being a sous chef at a resort for that long your could not do banquets?)

What about provenance? How did  he get to be a sous chef? Did he go through the training program at the chain or did he work elsewhere before he was hired there?

I don’t have anything for him right now, but he looks like a decent sort, and if a suitable position comes up, there’s a chance I will contact him. With more information I might be inclined to contact him sooner.

There are some good points  here, by the way, like the fact that  he is apparently either HAACP certified or knowledgeable, and he understands food sensitivities,  but they are buried in the mass of job description. He could either list these skills in a summary or at the end of the resume.

There are other, minor nit picks here – “Dealt with guest special requests, while dining at the restaurant” ..confuses a bit, but we are not looking for English teachers or journalists. Anyway, of course, he dealt with special requests. Everyone does.

Your resume is not evaluated on the list of things you did or want me to think you did. It is evaluated on the actual information it includes. This one includes too little.