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needing resume help!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm 21 years old, and graduating from culinary school in May. I've been trying to work on my resume to help me get a job once I graduate, but so far, I just can't make it work!

One problem is that I have absolutely no experience actually working in a restaurant kitchen. Of course I have the kitchen experience from school, and we even run a small restaurant at my school as part of one of my classes, but my actual work experience is all retail and hostess positions. So my first step in rebuilding my resume was to put my skills and qualifications first, and THEN my work experience. It's a good start, but even my skills and qualifications seem lacking. It's not that I don't have skills... but how do you convey good knife skills through a resume?? Or how do I say that I know exactly how to saute, broil, grill, steam, fry, bake, roast, etc etc..?? I've listed the classes I've taken ("Have completed course on soups, sauces, fish and seafood, meat fabrication......"), but now I'm wondering if this makes me sound too much like a student rather than a professional.. sadly though, my courses feel like the only things I have going for me.

I've noticed a lot of "resume tips" type things say you should include specific things you've done on your qualifications.. say "I organized a buffet for 50 people" rather than "Experience with buffets"... but I don't have anything like that. Ah! It's so frustrating for me to feel like my resume screams "inexperienced student."

I also feel like I'm at a disadvantage in interviews, not just on paper. Not with the interview questions or anything.. it's just that.. I'm a cute, skinny little white girl. I think it's hard for potential employers to see past that, because let's be honest, there just aren't many young white women in restaurant kitchens. When I come into an interview dressed in my best, they see a hostess, not a cook. Should I wear my best interview clothes, or should I come in dressed in my chef's coat?
post #2 of 4
"skilled in all areas of a professional kitchen".
"worked closely with the Chef in buffet setting".
"also have front of the house experience".

"cute, skinny little white girl, but willing to change".

You should also get a job while in school.
Any job is better than no job.
This will add to your experience and help with your resume.
Also, since you're saying you want this resume for AFTER you graduate, list "culinary graduate".
Don't list all of the courses.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #3 of 4
With all the people I've hired over the years, I've never cared about a resume.
Some of the worst employees are the guys that have worked everywhere and know it all.
Some of the best employees I've ever had simply walked in off the street with great desire and passion.

As an employer, I want to see what kind of employee you're GOING to be, not what kind you WERE.

I'd make a resume of what you will do FOR THEM.  What are the benefits to them for hiring you?
Forget about your experience, do something creative to catch their attention.

It's a little disconcerting that you're about to graduate from culinary school and have never worked in a restaurant kitchen.
Didn't they have an externship program?

Don't focus on YOU in looking for a job, focus on what will benefit THEM by you working there.
post #4 of 4
 My recommendation, start staging or trailing ASAP.

 In most cases, it is education + experience + contacts that keeps you employed.  Right now, you just have education.  However, you have access to contacts with your fellow students (stick to the ones that know what they are doing (in life and in school)), your instructors, and hopefully, your career services staff.  These people know people so now it's up to you to be proactive.

Every weekend or weeknight you have free, work on just getting in the door.  That means you will work for free just so they can see if you are any good and to see if you actually like it there in case they would consider taking you on.  It is usually just a shift or a few hours so it won't eat up a lot of your time.  

By the time you graduate in May, you could have up to 12 potential employers if you staged just once a week at a different restaurant every week.  

A graduate at our school was staging half way through his program and has been in the kitchen in some of well-respected kitchens and restaurants in Chicago.  His education gave him enough experience to get some skills and confidence but it was his willingness to learn and help out different businesses for free that gave him the opportunity.  

People like that find success.  They think more about what they can do for the employer than what the employer can do for them.  

Good luck and keep us posted on the job search.  
See the truth about the culinary education industry at www.culinaryschooladviser.com 
See the truth about the culinary education industry at www.culinaryschooladviser.com 
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