6 tips for pastry chefs on how to find work
Nowadays, in a constantly evolving world finding a great new job is no easy feat and pastry chefs are no exception to this rule. The times when we used to show up in a pastry shop or restaurant, holding our CV in our hand while having a small chat with the owner are long gone.
Today, there are many more layers between you and the job of your dreams: a large, often global pool of candidates, recruiters, several interviews, HR specialists, aptitude, theoretical or practical tests and so on. It is not easy to navigate these complex waters.
This is why I would like to share my 6 personal tips on how to make your way through the recruitment world and how to be noticed by experts in the midst of the candidate jungle.
Nowadays a pastry chef can specialize in one or more disciplines and work environment, which makes him or her more suitable to work in one place than another. For example, as a skilled pastry chef, one might be more fitting in a kitchen specialized in viennoiseries and large leavened products, rather than a fine dining restaurant. That's why it is necessary to keep in mind what are your qualities and your desires for growth and look for the job that suits you the most.
PRESENTING YOURSELF TO EMPLOYERS
When looking for a job, there are some things you need to have for a proper introduction:
CV: use any template you like, as long as it is clear, with a formal photo (no selfies!), maximum of 2 A4 pages. Remember that those who evaluate CVs receive hundreds of them and often use programs to filter them based on certain keywords. If you can't impress the reader with just a few lines, you miss your chance.
PORTFOLIO: a picture often speaks more than a thousand words. You can demonstrate your work by putting together an appealing portfolio of your creations.
REFERENCE LETTER: Having a positive reference letter from your previous employer or supervisor, especially a famous chef, can encourage those who are hiring to take you into consideration.
COVER LETTER: it may seem a little sneaky, but I guarantee you it can make all the difference. Write a letter of up to 300 words describing who you are beyond your CV, what are your strengths and why the company you are applying to work for that specific company. Be honest and a bit emotional.
Remember: in large organisations, it is often not the chefs who review CVs first. Most likely, the first person to see and judge your CV will be someone from HR. These professionals are not familiar with our background or our world so a comprehensive, convincing file will help them to move you forward into the next step.
When I receive an interesting CV from the human resources office, the first thing I do is go and look at the candidate's social profiles, to get an idea of the person. It is obvious that, if I find only photos of high-spirited parties, posts about inappropriate subjects with often zero regards to grammar or manners, I will definitely move on to the next applicant. It is useless to fool ourselves; image and personality count in a team, and especially if you are supposed to be in front of customers.
Before starting to look for a job, a nice cleanup of Facebook and Instagram profiles is recommended, otherwise, make them private or invisible to strangers.
There are dozens of excellent websites and apps that you can download to find the right job in your favourite place. Of all these, I would recommend: Caterer, Indeed, Hosco, and LinkedIn. These usually have the most offers.
Keep in mind that big hotel chains recruit staff through their human resources offices, so the official company sites like Four Seasons, Marriott, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental etc. always have a Job Search section.
LinkedIn deserves a special mention, as it is one of the best platforms to find work, see the team and connect with HR, other chefs and your potential future boss. A complete profile, some photos, experiences, certificates and a good number of followers can help you get in touch with the best professionals in the world, and exponentially increase your chances of finding a great new role.
WORD OF MOUTH
It is still the most used method in our sector. We all have at least one mentor who has made us grow, who follows us during our professional growth, who advises us and helps us find the right places for the next steps of our career.
Facility managers, Maître d’hôtel, Restaurant managers, technicians and suppliers who are constantly in contact with customers, almost always know about vacancies in the city, those can also help by informing you about these vacancies.
We all know that our most important sponsor when looking for a job is our previous employer. This is why it is important to resign and leave the scene as neat as possible with a sufficient notice period depending on the importance of your role, working hard until the last minute. Even helping to find your replacement would be a nice move.
In today's world of many opportunities and huge competition, it might seem challenging to find and get the right role for you. But do not despair! Keep perfecting your applications, work on your online presence, and don't give up. Your new adventure might just be a click away.