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How to Craft your Resume for a Culinary Career
Use our templates and expert suggestions for these popular culinary professions as a guide for putting together your own resume, and moving up in your career.
Career Track: Chef
Focused on the nuts and bolts of preparing food, this career track offers ample opportunities to put your creativity and customer service to use. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 11% job growth for these positions by the year 2028, which makes this a profession with ample growth opportunities.
Cook $28,350 Median Salary
Resume Format: Functional
For this job, use a functional format that highlights your skill sets, such as, “knife-handling skills,” “kitchen maintenance” or “familiarity with industrial standards” as well as any training or qualifications you have in the culinary field (e.g., Certified Kitchen Cook).
Summary: In a few sentences, recap your top skills and career highlights thus far, making sure you address important abilities that are mentioned in the job description. For example, if the job calls for managing inventory and good communication, you could write: “Hard-working cook with experience collaborating with 10-person kitchen team and managing stock replenishment for 100-person restaurant.”
Skills to feature: Highlight your proficiency in technical areas, such as “menu planning” and “complying with nutrition standards,” as well as intangible skills like “ability to excel in fast-paced environment,” “adaptable” or “excellent communication skills.”
Get to the next level: Continue to develop your cooking skills, as well as gain experience coordinating with cooks, chefs and sous chefs. Also look to add the following activities:
- Greater collaboration with restaurant management, such as the head chef
- Taking the initiative to further showcase your cooking and staff supervision skills
- Look into opportunities to create new dishes and meals
- Complete a professional specialization course, such as in pastries or confessionaries.
Chef $47,390 Median Salary
Resume Format: Combination
If you have a few years of cooking experience, go for the combination format, which offers up a balance of your skills and work history. Determine your most relevant skills for the position, such as “fine-dining expertise,” “signature dish creation” and “operations management” and combine them with relevant work accomplishments (e.g., gaining recognition for specific cuisines).
Summary: Blend intangible skills like “management capabilities,” “an eye for detail” and “organization and leadership skills” with your achievements in a few to-the-point sentences. For example: “Experienced cook with an eye for detail, and proven organization and leadership skills.” Introduce both technical and soft skills in the summary to show you’re a good fit as a candidate.
Skills to feature: Choose a handful of skills that match the job description of the position you’re applying for. Include both technical and soft skills in equal proportion, such as “knowledge of ServSafe standards,” “inventory management” and “expertise in customer interactions.” Mention your field of cuisine specialization, such as Italian, Japanese or desserts.
Get to the next level: In addition to taking advanced courses in culinary sciences and related fields, focus on the following activities to further improve your profile:
- Emphasize contributions and roles that present you as a reliable leader
- Develop your specialties in the form of signature dishes
- Get more involved with customer service and feedback processes, using customer interactions to improve dishes
- Improve kitchen management and processes (e.g., coming up with a new stocking system, or better organizing kitchen areas for line cooks)
Executive Chef $69,625 Median Salary
Resume Format: Chronological
For this senior-level position, use the chronological format, which concentrates on career achievements, and your extensive experience. Highlight your most relevant skills (e.g., such as up-to-date knowledge of food industry and trends), while keeping the focus on your best accomplishments managing cooking teams and recognitions you’ve earned from critics and the public.
Summary: Present your top experiences, including your ability to take on more responsibilities. Blend in some soft and technical skills that emphasize your managerial and leadership qualities, along with your ability to create palette-pleasing dishes. For example: “Dedicated head chef experienced with Pan-Asian cuisine and managing 20+ member kitchen teams.”
Skills to feature: As executive chefs are required to have impeccable cooking abilities as well as leadership qualities, focus on skills and keywords that represent your skills as an expert manager and communicator, as well your creativity with particular culinary specialties.
Get to the next level: Continue taking on more responsibilities and managerial duties to advance further in your career, focusing on the following:
- Handling the kitchen staff with expertise
- Training new cooks and chefs to become successful, productive members of the kitchen team, handling tasks and instructions efficiently
- Using your leadership abilities and communication strategies to increase customer satisfaction (include stats to show the impact of your efforts, e.g. “handled kitchen staff and customer interactions, resulting in 20% increase in restaurant monthly business”)
- Using customer feedback on the service and menu to improve on both elements
Career Track: Restaurant Management
Restaurant management focuses on managing day-to-day restaurant activities, including creating and updating menus, overseeing kitchen stock and supplies, providing excellent customer service and managing restaurant staff. It’s common to see entry-level restaurant workers in this field rising to higher-level jobs; according to a National Restaurant Association survey, 9 out of 10 restaurant managers started in entry-level positions. Employment in restaurant management is projected to grow by 11 percent by 2028, making it one of the faster-growing sectors in terms of job creation.
Restaurant Assistant Manager $36,720 Median Salary
Resume Format: Functional
Use this format to highlight the skills you already have, as well as any training or qualifications, such as a food safety certification. Scan through the job description to pick out relevant soft and technical skills to feature, such as, “excellent communication skills,” “expert coordination with staff,” “inventory management and auditing” and “proactive approach.”
Summary: In a few sentences, describe your best qualifications and experiences, making sure they’re directed towards restaurant success and customer satisfaction. For example: “Proactive assistant restaurant manager dedicated to boosting revenues, and adept with food safety standards.”
Skills to Feature: Include technical skills such as plating and presentation, auditing, and knowledge of cuisines, along with intangible skills such as hospitality service expertise, being self-motivated, excellent communication skills and being a team-oriented worker.
Get to the next level: To continue moving up in your restaurant management career, focus on developing these following skills and qualifications:
- Opportunities to take the initiative and manage cooking and diner service
- Honing your skills for providing direct support to kitchen and help staff during busy times
- Interacting with customers regularly, and using their feedback to improve on dishes and service
- Completing an advanced degree or certificate in customer service, finance, marketing or business administration
Restaurant Manager $45,279 Median Salary
Resume Format: Combination
For this higher-level position, look to use a combination resume format that features a blend of applicable skills and work experiences. It highlights the relevant skills and the positions where you expertly utilized them to bring in a positive impact in your previous organization.
Summary: Blend your skills with relevant work experience and achievements from previous jobs, keeping this section short, crisp and to-the-point. For example: “High-achieving restaurant manager experienced in driving sales by providing outstanding meals and service.”
Skills to feature: Include technical skills such as your expertise in specific culinary cuisines, being adept with sanitation and food safety standards, and inventory management, as well as intangible skills such as expert communication, being a proficient mediator and a proactive problem-solving approach.
Get to the next level: Focus on honing your interpersonal skills while taking on more managerial responsibilities:
- Gaining more experiences successfully managing kitchen staff, servers, hosts and waitstaff
- Collaborating with kitchen staff and chef to refine menus and increase diner satisfaction
- Completing an advanced degree or certification in customer service, finance or business management
Restaurant Owner$62,435 Median Salary
Resume Format: Chronological
For this position, use a chronological format that displays your progress through the industry, and the extensive experience you have in running successful restaurant businesses. Focus on achievements rather than standard tasks (e.g., “Ran restaurant that was voted ‘best in the neighborhood’ by local newspapers”).
Summary: Feature skills and accomplishments that highlight your ability to lead in a variety of areas (running a profitable business, creating a productive work environment, and ensuring good customer service), as well keywords that reveal your approach, such as being an expert communicator or a collaborative, team-first attitude.
Skills to feature: Feature a mix of practical skills, such as financial management, knowledge of safety standards, cooking experience and budget maintenance, along with soft skills such as a focus on customer satisfaction, multitasking abilities and superior employee management skills.
Get to the next level: Focus on improving your managerial as well as culinary skills to advance further in your career:
- Gain advanced training in specialized cuisines
- Continue to excel with business and human resource management, expertly handling employees and daily business activities
- Continue collaborating and supporting kitchen staff, including “rolling up the sleeves” and assisting when needed
- Continue to improve restaurant service and food quality, and increase customer satisfaction
Recommended Culinary Resume templates
As anyone in the culinary business knows, presentation counts for a lot. Make sure your resume has the right presentation by using these employer-ready templates:
This template features bold colors and fonts, with each section highlighted in a clutter-free layout. The title blocks ensure that important information stands out.
This vibrant design divides the resume into four quadrants, giving ample space for your summary, skills and work history to shine.
This professional layout goes for a minimalist look, using light shading for section headers. The work history section is divided into two columns for a crisp presentation.
Culinary Resume FAQs
1.How do you format your resume based on your career level?
Create an ideal resume for your particular situation based on your career experience and skills:
Functional format: Perfect for fresh graduates or first-time job seekers, this format highlights the skills and training you already have, rather than your lack of job experience.
Combination format: Appropriate for intermediate-level jobs, a combination format blends your skills with the work experience you have gathered from previous jobs. If you have already handled similar positions or roles, then focus on your most relevant skills and achievements in this format.
Chronological format: This format is ideal for candidates with an ample amount of experience in similar roles or the same industry. It focuses on your work history and accomplishments, and expertly portrays you as a candidate who has learned and accumulated many achievements from previous jobs.
2What are some qualities and skills you should emphasize to advance in a culinary career?
Whether you’re managing cooking or restaurant management, you should possess a variety of practical and intangible skills to get ahead. Some important abilities you can feature in your resume include:
- Adept in knife-handling techniques
- Verbal and written communication
- Organizational skills
- Ability to create signature dishes
- Culinary expertise
- Experienced and diverse taste palate
- A firm grasp on culinary trends and techniques
- Specialization in specific cuisines
- Time management
- Strategic planning
- Anticipate needs and requirements beforehand
- Quick thinking and proactive approach
- Quality and safety assurance
- Multitasking abilities
- Empathic and soft-spoken
- Ability to work under pressure
- Team spirit
- Deadline-friendly deliveries
- Adaptable to innovation
- Dedication towards work
- Capability of following instructions accurately
- Collaboration experts
3.What are some useful certifications and training for culinary jobs?
Most recruiters accept candidates with a high school diploma, or a degree in culinary sciences or any other equivalent course. Many schools like The Culinary Institute of America, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and Italian Culinary Academy offer various courses to help candidates build foundation in restaurant management and culinary specializations. Here are some examples:
- Professional cook’s certificate in food and wine
- Program in culinary arts
- Certificate in the professional cooking
- Hospitality and restaurant management
- Diploma in pastry and baking
- French pastry program
- Professional Thai culinary training
- Professional pastry and confections certificate course