Culinary Job Search - Helpful Tips to help you find the career you want
Culinary jobs are some of the most sought after jobs in the world today, and why not? After all, how many careers take you to the finest restaurants, resorts, and hotels in some of the most exotic and exciting locations around the world? Finding the culinary job that's right for you, however, can be easier said than done.
Here are some tips to help you focus your search and, hopefully, find the culinary position of your dreams.
Take Advantage of Your Culinary School's Career Placement Office
First, start with the obvious: your culinary school. Most culinary schools pride themselves on finding employment for their students and graduates and thus, strive to maintain good relationships with the top hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, and other prospective employers. After all, what better advertisement can a school have than to brag that its graduates now work for 5 star hotels or fine-dining establishments?
Some culinary arts schools, like those affiliated with the Le Cordon Bleu Program, are part of an even bigger culinary placement network and can put you in contact with prospective employers all over the world.
Even if you've been out of culinary school for a while, contact your alma mater's placement office as many of them now extend lifetime placement assistance to their alumni.
Turn Your Culinary School Externship into a Full Time Job
Since most culinary schools require you to complete an externship to qualify for graduation, explore all of the possibilities available at your temporary place of employment. If you like the work environment and the staff you work with, inquire about the possibilities of staying on after graduation in a paid position.
If that option doesn't suit your plans or is unavailable all together, ask around to see if anyone on the staff knows of a position that's open elsewhere. From industry to industry, "knowing someone who knows someone" is still one of the most reliable sources of getting a job. Chefs and sous chefs constantly move from property to property and after a few years, have a network of friends and associates that they keep in contact with across the country. They may be able to help you just by making a phone call.
At the very least, upon the completion of your externship get as many personal letters of recommendation as you can from your supervisors, managers, and employer. Presenting these letters to a prospective future employer may mean the difference between you or another applicant landing the job.
Search for Culinary Job Postings on the Internet
As in all industries, the internet has become the first stop for culinary job-hunting. Many of the leading job sites, such as Career Builder or Monster have entire sections dedicated to culinary and hospitality jobs.
Also, there are several sites such as Hcareers.com, and Hospitalityonline.com that list both hospitality and culinary job postings, as well as a few that are completely devoted to chef jobs (finediningjobs.com, ihirechefs.com, starchefsjobfinder.com)
Best of all, most sites like this are free and some will even email you if a job matching your criteria comes online.
In your search, don't forget to explore the HR sections of some of the major hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Kimpton Hotels, Hilton, Starwood, and others.
Go Head Hunting
Though not as popular as it used to be (thanks to the internet), enlisting the services of a "headhunter" or "chef recruiter" can be a great option to take, especially if you're currently employed and don't want to advertise that you're looking to change jobs.
Although headhunters primarily deal with Executive Chefs, some agencies may be willing to help out an up-and-comer as long as you have some experience under your belt. Search on the internet under "chef recruiters" or "culinary headhunters" for agencies that can potentially help you out.
You'll greatly increase the number of job opportunities if you're willing to look outside of your current location and relocate possibly even to a foreign country.
Many seasonal resorts, for example, offer fine dining to their guests during tourist season, but then close down for the remainder of the year. If you're the adventurous type who doesn't like to get tied down, and always likes to be "where the action is," these kinds of positions may be ideal for you. You could enjoy winter at a golf resort in Arizona and summer at a retreat in the Rockies. The possibilities here are almost endless.
Also, many resorts and hotels abroad are looking for American chefs who are willing to travel. If you're willing to pack your bags and move to another country for a position, you've already eliminated much of your competition from the job pool. You can search the internet for "chef jobs abroad" or similar topics to track down leads on these positions.
Hopefully, this brief article has given you some ideas that can help you focus your job search and put you on the fast track to a successful culinary career!