Chef CV Writing Tips

Executive Chef

Editor’s note: Chef CV Writing Tips was most recently updated in May 2022.

One of the best tools you have to communicate your knowledge and skills to potential chef employers is your CV. Read on for our top chef CV writing tips.

A well formatted, short but detailed chef CV showing clear, accurate and relevant information regarding your experience and your qualifications is what you should be aiming to write.

Or if you have the money to invest you could hire a professional CV writer to write your chef CV for you.

Read: Chef CV Writing Expert

A good CV takes time and effort to put together and to ensure you present the best version of your work self. Here our some useful tips if you’re going to put it together yourself.

Chef CV writing tips – the format of your chef CV

Divide your chef CV into legible sections:

  • Contact Information
  • Personal Statement – not obligatory but highly recommended
  • Chef Skills Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Additional Information

Make section headings slightly larger than the rest of the contents.

Save your chef CV in PDF format to keep your formatting intact, and ensure it arrives over email or download exactly as you intended a hiring manager to see it.

Your personal statement

Keep it short. Highlight your level of chef experience, strongest skills and the personal and professional qualities that make you right for the job that you’ve got in your sights.

Remember we all have knowledge and skills to bring to a workplace. This isn’t meant to be an anxiety inducing exercise! It’s a short sales pitch designed to highlight the best of you and set out your professional goals to a future employer.

Read: Get Yourself an Elevator Pitch Chef

Chef skills summary

We recommend a short bulleted list of no more than eight chef skills you’d like to highlight. These need to be relevant to the chef job you’re going after. What you choose to prioritise is for you to decide, but keep in mind your career goals.

Chef CV writing tips – detailing your kitchen work experience

List your previous jobs in chronological order with the most recent employment first. You should include the title of your chef position, the name of your previous employer, and the dates of your employment.

  • Be factual.
  • Use positive language.
  • Focus on your strengths.
  • Prove you have what they want.
  • Highlight your achievements through clear examples.

Don’t forget voluntary or work experience also counts, and if you’ve worked with an industry name that’s well known be sure to include it on your chef CV.

Use effective titles

Like it or not, hiring managers usually make a judgment about a chef CV in 20 seconds or less. The quickest win you can score is listing clear, easy-to-read and easy to understand chef job titles on your CV. And underneath those titles showing a clear, concise but specific description of what that role involved and how you added value to the kitchen while in the job.

Quantify your achievements

For each work experience entry on your chef CV it’s great if you can show how you – specifically – added value to the work of the team and the business.

To get you thinking about how you did this in past roles ask yourself, what was the range of my contribution? On what scale did I add value? And how frequently?

Then describe successes using clear numbers, not vague statements. So rather than saying whilst managing the kitchen you increased covers, it would look better on your chef CV to say ‘increased covers from a daily average of 100 to 140.’

Be truthful and don’t be shy about how you added value in a chef job. Your competition will be doing the same. Don’t forget that this is also a great place to showcase any awards and commendations! They will catch a hiring manager’s attention and set you apart from the applicant pack. So it’s important to include them if you have them.

Chef CV keywords

Increasingly CVs are being scanned for keywords that exactly match those assigned to a specific job role. The importance of including them in your chef CV is on the rise.

Research how the job you’re going after is commonly described in job adverts. Check that your chef CV includes these commonly used words or phrases, and that they are featured a few times. Repetition makes it easier for them to be clearly picked up by software reading your CV or human reader.

It’s important not to make up skills or experience you don’t have just to match the job advert. That is not what this process is about. It’s about highlighting where you are a match in terms of your work history and current skills. Tailoring your CV for individual roles is time consuming, but it can make the difference between making the cut – or not – at the sift stage of reviewing CVs.

Read: Chef: What You Need to Know About CV Keywords

Education

The Education section of your chef CV gives the employer an overview of your education, studies and qualifications to date. Alongside the Work Experience section, it’s considered to be one of the most important parts of your CV.

Include any of the following in this part of your CV:

  • Academic degrees, diplomas and certificates
  • Technical and professional qualifications
  • Work and vocational training received.

It is important to list the month and year qualifications were obtained and the awarding body/institution and location. You should always describe the qualification obtained exactly as it appears on your certificate, so it’s clear what it is to all reading your CV.

Chef CV writing tips – additional information

For the record it is not necessary to list sensitive personal information like passport numbers, right to work numbers, age, sexual preference, religion, political affiliation, marital status etc. on your chef CV. Nor is it obligatory to include a professional headshot on your CV.

This is a section for you to share other useful information like language abilities, flexibility to travel or relocate, but again it’s entirely up to you if you think your chef CV needs it.

Be aware that protecting your personal data is important in the recruitment process.

Read: Avoid Chef Job Scams

Compass Chef Recruitment

Chef CV presentation

A CV should convey in clear language and formatting who you are and what you can do. As the applicant, it’s your job to make it as clear and easy as possible for the hiring manager to put your chef CV in the ‘Yes to Interview’ pile.

The presentation of your CV is as important as its content. Use a simple, clean font like Arial, Times Roman or Calibri to make it easy to read. Your font size should never be below 10 points. Do not use a coloured background.

Write your CV in plain language and only ever use abbreviations which are commonly known and understood in the hospitality industry. Try not to write long sections of prose. Stick to bullet points. The use of white space between blocks of text can greatly improve the legibility of your CV.

Remember you don’t have to say everything on your chef CV. You can elaborate on what’s summarised on your CV at an interview.

Cut CV excess

If your chef CV goes beyond two pages it needs editing. If you have had a lengthy culinary career then it’s more accepted that you could run to a three page CV.

But the golden rule of any CV is to keep it short, relevant and interesting to any potential hiring manager. CV length is a MAJOR contributor to keeping a recruiter engaged with your CV when they are shifting through a ‘must read thru before inviting to interview’ pile of chef CVs.

Chef CV writing tips – ensure your CV is accurate and true

It is important that your CV is a true, accurate summary of your skills and experience. Taking time out of your professional career through choice or circumstance isn’t a crime. Be open about the fact on your CV, if that is part of your chef work history, and give a clear, concise reason.

Read: Handling Chef CV Job Gaps

Take a Break – then check, check and triple check for CV errors and typos

Take a well earned break when you’ve completed your first draft! Then with fresh eyes do another CV read through. Run Spellchecker and check layout, as well as spacing and consistency of your chosen font size.

Once you’re happy with it, ask someone else to read through it as a belt and braces check, before signing it off for upload. Well done chef!

Your CV communicates your value as a chef to an employer

If the CV you upload looks more like a work in progress than the finished article, ask yourself how that will look to a hiring manager. If it’s clear that you’ve not valued your chef CV highly enough to invest in it, a potential employer might not get past that fact to actually read it.

You’re then out of the running before first round interviews.

Similarly remember that your chef CV is a dynamic log of your professional career, so don’t forget to regularly update it to reflect your progression – courses, training, supporting qualifications etc.

Keeping your CV regularly updated means that you’re always showcasing a best and complete work self to any potential employer. Likewise, don’t forget to keep updating your Only Chefs profile for the same reason.

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