Successful CV Writing for Cooks
As a cook or hospitality industry worker, it can be challenging to find the ideal work environment. To increase your chances of success, it's essential to know where to look for job opportunities and to tailor your job application accordingly. While reaching out to restaurants seems like a no-brainer, there are numerous other settings where cooks are in demand, including cultural facilities, corporate offices, hospitals, and other institutions.
What's more, exploring alternative job settings outside of the typical restaurant environment can be an exciting opportunity to apply to organisations that align with your preferences or work culture. It's always a great idea to apply to organisations with the same values as you! By broadening your job search and exploring different opportunities, you can increase your chances of finding a job that not only matches your skill set but also offers an environment where you can thrive.
When writing your CV, it’s worth asking the following questions:
- What are my values? Does the organisation I’m applying to have similar values to me in a professional setting?
- Where do my strengths lie in a kitchen environment? How can I best communicate this in a CV?
- What are my weaknesses? Will this work environment challenge me to grow and improve my skills?
Here at cvapp.nz, our goal is to empower more Kiwi professionals and help them realise their full career potential. If you're looking to secure your next job as a cook, you've come to the right place! Keep reading for insider tips and tricks on how to succeed in your job search.
Personal statements: unleash your creativity
Personal statements are an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to potential employers. As a cook, showcasing your personality can help you stand out to employers who are looking for professionals that can use their creativity in the kitchen. While we recommend elaborating on more specific details in other sections of your CV, such as your employment history section, you can briefly mention any relevant educational or work experience, what you have to offer to the position, and any key details that can help you stand out. It’s important to keep it brief – usually 3-5 sentences is enough. Do you have any skills that might stand out to employers? Been working in the hospo industry for years? Use descriptive language to entice employers and highlight the professional value you have to offer to the role.
Friendly and self-motivated cook with several years experience in the hospitality industry. Catered a diverse range of events, including small, intimate gatherings to larger parties, Focused on serving healthy, delicious food to guests. Innovative, experimental and safety-conscious at all times.
Employment History: your professional story
The employment history on your CV should do more than just list previous job descriptions. You’ll want to highlight how your previous employment positions make you an ideal candidate for the role you’re applying for! Highlight your unique skills, achievements or experiences that showcase your strengths as a cook.
A great way to present your culinary career talents is to add bullet points with any relevant achievements you achieved in your previous roles. For example, if you found a way to save costs at your previous employer by 30% or received an outstanding award, include this info in your employment history section. Employment history should typically list your jobs from most recent to least recent, and you’ll also want to include the length of time you spent at each job, Remember to list bullet points of your professional achievements or important tasks you fulfilled. By doing this, you’ll present yourself as a hardworking candidate that is focused on growth and improvement.
Cook at The Crooked Kakapo, Queenstown
Jan 2016 — Feb 2019
- Managed food preparation and presentation for customers
- Kept inventory and stock of restaurant ingredients
- Devised weekly recipes and drafted ingredient lists
- Created meals, recipes and signature cocktails for restaurant menus
- Modified recipes for allergy-sensitive customers and made allergen-friendly alternatives
Bartender at Arrowhead Pub, Queenstown
May 2015 — Dec 2015
- Created signature drink menus and cocktails for patrons Served patrons drinks and bar food
- Ordered draft beers from overseas to be delivered to the Arrowhead Pub
- Ensured all food was prepared and stored safely and in accordance with New Zealand Health & Safety regulations
Education: share your shine with the world
Your education section is your opportunity to share any qualifications or certifications that may enhance your professional skill set and improve your chances of scoring your next job role. For example, if you received a Diploma in Cookery from the New Zealand School of Food and Wine, you’ll want to include this in your education section. For older professionals, it is less necessary to include educational qualifications you earned some time ago, e.g. academic qualifications from high school. It’s important to list the highest academic qualifications you have in this section. When you’ve finished, your education section should look a little like this:
NCEA Level 3 at Christchurch Girls' High School, Christchurch
- Achieved NCEA Level 3.
New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 3) at Southern Institute of Technology, Invercargill
Feb 2015 — Dec 2015
Skills: highlight your expertise
Finally, your skills section should highlight any relevant talents that can demonstrate your culinary skills and why you’re a great candidate for the role. For most CVs, we recommend including both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are more technical skills, and for cooks, these might include cooking techniques, presentation and knife handling skills. Soft skills are more personable skills and traits, such as communication skills and time management skills. Both hard and soft skills are essential to the smooth running of a kitchen! We recommend highlighting at least five skills in this section. With our AI-powered algorithms, you can also use our skills suggestion tool to help you if you get stuck.
- Effective Time Management
- Leadership and Teamwork
- Kitchen Management
- Creativity and Innovation
- Safe Food Handling and Sanitation
- Food Science