Some years ago, I read an article that really stuck with me. The name of the article was, “A Portfolio Beats a Resume Any Day,” written by Bob Weinstein from Tech Watch after his interview with John Sullivan, who at the time was a consultant to Fortune 500 Firms. The article began by quoting John Sullivan:
“I’ve never understood why HR people totally rely on a resume as an accurate indicator of a candidate’s competence. If they really want to find out about a candidate, they should go beyond the resume, and ask for a professional portfolio.”
The article I read was in reference to the Tech Industry; however, the same principles apply to candidates seeking an Executive Chef Position. The thrust of the article is not that a resume should be discounted, but creating a portfolio of your work gives the perspective employer more information, and it showcases you and your actual work. The article went on to say that there are seven reasons why a resume alone doesn’t cut it.
- Resumes are shallow and dull to read.
- They are full of words, yet give few details because of their one to two page length.
- They are one-dimensional and can’t demonstrate knowledge or presentation.
- They are focused on the past and not on what the candidate can do in the future.
- Word descriptions are often a poor way of demonstrating what a candidate can produce.
- They are often filled with mistruths and omissions.
- They are often written by others.
Even though Sullivan basically trashes resumes in his article, he doesn’t advise doing away with them entirely. Instead, he suggests incorporating your resume into a portfolio.
Why a portfolio?
- It allows interviewers to review actual work.
- Portfolios can demonstrate how candidates with meager experience on their resume may actually have capabilities beyond their years.
- They focus on what a candidate can and cannot do.
Sullivan acknowledged that Portfolios require effort; but doing one will often separate the individual from others. Here are a few things to consider in developing your personal Portfolio. It should include:
- For a cover page we suggest a photo image of you in Whites & Toque (look professional)
- A personal mission and goal statement and/or a Bio incorporating your experiences and vision.
- A list of major accomplishments with a two-sentence description expressing evidence of quality and results.
- A diverse representation of menu programming; recent and past including a la carte, banquet prospectus and special event BEO’s and Wine Dinner (always omit reference to an individual employer you have worked for.)
- Pictures of buffet setups organized by category (starters, entrees, dessert, etc.) theme events, photographs of your team or action photos of you teaching or coaching are all encouraged
- Recent industry awards, achievements and professional development certifications.
- A link to your personal Web page/Blog and a Critical Media Page highlighting what can be found about you in the public domain of the WWW.
- Images/prints of projects accomplished showing goals, steps and results.
- A one-page summary of your training and education, including awards and related accomplishments.
The interviewing manager does not know you and often the current or previous environments you have worked at. Hiring Managers always ask us, “What does their food look like and what is their menu programming?” As they say a picture is worth a thousand words and having a professional portfolio will address many of these questions getting your foot in the door. We work with many Chef’s and have templates that can help you get started building your own Portfolio. Never hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Indeed … it takes some effort to stand out above your competition, but the reward for your extra effort could be an exceptional job. After all, it is about making your best first impression.