In the post pandemic or mass staff shortages a lot of hospitality professionals, especially chefs, have forgotten what a “buyers market” in jobs feels like. Well I’m going to stick my neck out a bit and predict that this huge undersupply in staff isn’t here to stay. The time to care about whether you make chef job hunting mistakes, unfortunately, is soon to be upon you. So now might be a good time to make sure you’re not one of the losers in the
coming recession (we’re not calling it a “reset”). The biggest mistake you can make is not noticing the turn when it arrives. So chefs, get ready for what’s ahead; what simmers is probably going to boil.
In spite of my naturally shy and retiring nature networking is something I’ve trained myself to embrace. As a member of chef recruiters community networking isn’t a choice, it’s a question of sink or swim. However before becoming a recruiter I was a chef and as a chef a surprising percentage of halfway decent jobs I’ve ever held was because I knew someone at the company who hired me. In fact most hires are made through networking.
A surprising amount of open positions are filled by employee recommendations before they are even advertised. When it comes to everything else we chef recruiters, this one anyway, make it our business to “know what’s coming up.”
Your search for a new position should begin with asking your friends-both online, and off, if they know anyone looking for someone with your skills and abilities. You needn’t be shy about contacting us either. If you ask people for help, you might be surprised at how eager they are to do so.
Spamming Your Curriculum Vitae
Sending your Curriculum Vitae to every job posting online is a waste of time for both for chefs on the lookout for a new job and for hiring managers. It’s more likely than you think that your application will be automatically tossed into the digital dustbin by whatever algorithm guards the hiring manager’s email box, or Applicant Tracking System (ATS), but even if it does make it through, playing the numbers game won’t get you the job worth getting. In any event you don’t want to become known as the chef who applies everywhere. It’s taken as a sign of desperation.
Putting together a generic Curriculum Vitae and cover letter isn’t likely to get you that job. It might well get you “a chef job” but it’s not going to put at the head of the line for the really good jobs.
If you’re about building a career as a chef you should certainly be optimistic but remember to retain your focus too. So go ahead, shoot your shot at positions that seem out of reach, but don’t send a generic Curriculum Vitae and cover letter. Be strategic about your Curriculum Vitae and cover letter and tweak them for each job you’re applying for. Don’t stray from what’s truthful though. There’s huge scope for positioning your application for the win without compromising on your ethics. However since you’re already on our site (glad you visited) don’t forget to take a look at our currently advertised chef jobs. If there’s nothing appealing for your there at the moment then be wise and send us your Curriculum Vitae (resume in certain parts of the world) and make sure to tell us what you’d like to do next.
You should have someone proofread your resume and other application materials to ensure there are no errors. This is especially important if you are applying for more detail-oriented kitchens. Rightly or wrongly sloppiness on the page can indicate to some a chef who might be sloppy on plating. Even if you are perfect for a position, a typo in your cover letter is unlikely to invalidate your entire career (but it does make you look unprofessional and sloppy). Prior to applying for jobs, ask a friend, one who is meticulous and a professional, to check for mistakes.
“Unruly” and Public Social Media Accounts
Social media accounts are often checked by employers to gauge who candidates are outside of work. You should make sure there is nothing objectionable on your LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. For “objectionable” think “controversial.”
As a general rule, that means no nude or lewd pictures, drunken scenes, or tirades which someone might interpret as racist or exclusionary.
You can leave everything up if you don’t want a company that cares about what you do when you’re not on the clock. That’s a valid way to filter out jobs that don’t match your interests. In any case, don’t let yourself be caught off guard.
Isn’t it interesting that the first to be hired are the ones who don’t need a job? It’s because being desperate is unattractive to potential romantic partners as well as employers. Those who say, “I’ll do anything for this job” don’t make potential employers think, “This person will be a loyal employee.” They think, “Really…maybe no?” So no matter how desperate you are, try not to appear desperate. See above on “Spamming Your Curriculum Vitae.”
Not Doing Your Homework
If you’re going for a chef job interview, you should have some knowledge of the company and be prepared to talk about what you can provide them and why you think you’d be a good fit. However, don’t forget that you’re interviewing them as well: Job interviews are the perfect time to see if this is the kind of place you’d like to work at, so don’t hesitate to ask questions about the position, company, and work environment. No good employer is ever put off when a candidate demonstrates genuine curiosity about their business.
Bonus 1: it gets them talking which take the heat off you for a while.
Bonus 2: There’s a lot of chef job interview tips here.
Taking it Personally
When you are job hunting, you may feel like you are constantly being rejected. Putting yourself out there only to have your hopes stamped on by people without the decency to send you a rejection email can be crushing. The feeling can be depersonalising, demoralising, and just awful. Don’t forget: It’s really not personal. There is a sense in which it is a numbers game (despite the advice you shouldn’t apply everywhere and everywhere), and you can’t know why hiring decisions are made. Since I don’t know you, I can’t tell for sure, but it’s probably not because you’re a problem.