Looking for a job in the culinary field? You’re in luck. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says food prep and service jobs will continue to grow through 2024. With this guide, we’ll provide tips on how to write a resume that helps you stand out from the competition and get a great job.
More culinary job titles
Current trends impacting culinary jobs
Food trucks; pop-ups; food halls; virtual restaurants, which are based on real restaurants but make food just for app-based ordering and delivery; and ghost kitchens, which create food for delivery service only, are on all the rise. That means new jobs. New dietary trends, such as plant-based diets, fermented foods, and CBD-infused food and drinks are in full swing, and it looks like they will be around for a while.
Restaurants especially are expected to see an increase in workers — 17 million in the next 10 years — along with a rise in sales totaling $1.2 trillion by 2030, according to the National Restaurant Association. This makes sense, considering the tremendous growth major restaurant chains saw in 2019, a trend analysts expect to continue.
See What People are Saying About Us
Average salaries and employment outlook
There are a number of culinary jobs to pick from, but entry- and mid-level jobs generally fall into the following categories:
Food preparation, cooking and baking
Fry and grill cooks, short-order and line cooks, bakers, pastry chefs, dessert makers and cake decorators — there are many roles in this category, each fulfilling orders for specific stations in a kitchen. They work in restaurants, fast food establishments, cafes, markets, cafeterias, diners, hotels, bakeries, schools and in fine dining under executive kitchen staff.
Job Outlook 2020–2028
Employment for cooks is expected to grow by 11% — an increase of 282,000 jobs through 2029.
Employment for bakers is projected to grow by 6% by 2028 — an increase of 11,100 jobs through 2029.
Food service and production
This category includes waitstaff, bussers, runners, hosts and counter staff. They work in fast food establishments, diners, cafes, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, often performing as a team to provide service to guests. They stock and set up kitchens and dining areas, greet customers, take orders, deliver food and drinks, process payments and clean tables.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
This category will see an employment increase of 4% — 97,6000 new jobs through 2029.
Food preparation workers
This category is a bit competitive, as it is projected to see a slight dip (-1%) in employment growth — a decrease of 9,500 jobs through 2029.
Operations and management
Some businesses hire hosts and hostesses to assist with operations. They greet and seat guests, answer phones and take reservations, handle take-out orders, make sure dining areas and bathrooms are clean, and manage table rotations for servers. Some food service managers work in kitchens where they inspect food quality, coordinate kitchen staff, and ensure safety and sanitation. Others schedule and supervise service staff, order supplies and manage finances.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
Food service managers
Employment for food service managers is expected to increase by 1% by 2029, with 2,200 new jobs projected.
Hosts and Hostesses
Employment for hosts and hostesses is expected to increase by 11%by 2029, with 423,380 new jobs projected.
6 of the top soft skills needed for culinary jobs
Every culinary position requires a mix of technical skills, which can be learned on the job, and soft skills — personal traits that characterize how a person might interact with others and their approach to life and work — that touch both the front of house, such as entry and dining areas, as well as the back of house, where food is prepared. As the National Business Education Association stresses, soft skills are vital to success in the workplace, and culinary workers apply a variety of them to work. They can be practiced and developed over time.
We’ve highlighted six of the most essential soft skills for people working in food service below. You will get employers’ attention if you can add at least three of the following to a resume:
Speaking and listeningThe ability to interact positively with others is critical in the culinary industry. After all, it’s the most direct, on-the-ground business where success depends on customer satisfaction, sales and teamwork. Employers value servers who can handle angry customers with compassion, patience and negotiation skills.
FlexibilityThings often don’t go as expected in the food business. Customers cancel at the last minute, large groups pop up at busy times, staff fail to show up, and workers are expected to work late nights, weekends and holidays or fill-in for a sick coworker. A flexible attitude will go a long way.
Time managementWhen management, front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff work together efficiently, they can help give guests a seamless experience. Let employers know you can make good use of time, and they’ll see you as an asset to their team.
Attention to detailIt’s possible to get decent food and service anywhere, but truly exceptional service is hard to come by. That’s why — whether it’s washing dishes, setting a table, greeting guests, chopping vegetables or frying a burger — doing the little things really well matter a lot in the culinary industry.
Problem-solvingCulinary employees are often faced with a variety of challenges, most of which are not anticipated, so it’s important that they can think on their feet. Food service workers who can anticipate and avoid difficult situations, recognize problems and figure out possible solutions have an advantage.
MultitaskingCulinary workers often have to juggle many things at once. For example, cooks have to pay attention to their order tickets while preparing meals for several guests at a time. Let employers know you can handle just about anything that comes your way, and you’ll be ahead of the pack.
Unless you are going for a position as a top chef at a five-star hotel or a wine expert at an upscale restaurant, most jobs in the culinary field do not require a college education. Usually a high school diploma or equivalent, work experience and on-the-job training are sufficient. However, most states require all food service employees to have a health certificate, sometimes called a food handler’s permit.
Food service managers and operations staff should be able to demonstrate knowledge of finances, fundamental business practices and food service operations.
Job certification can open doors for culinary workers who want to move up the ladder, earn more money or simply increase their chances of getting hired. The American Culinary Federation offers several certification programs.
Resume examples by experience level
When you’re ready to start writing your resume, a culinary resume example can help.
When choosing a sample, think about your work history and how much experience you have in the type of job you seek. This will help you determine the best resume format for your situation, and you can then find an example that suits your background. Use the following guidelines to help you choose.
Fast Food Restaurant Manager
Culinary Resume Examples
3 tips to stand out and get the job you want
Write a cover letter.A cover letter is “an opportunity to impress” employers, according to recruitment consultancy firm Michael Page. Not only will it give you the chance to show your personality to employers up front, it will allow you to expand on your resume and explain things like employment gaps. Not everyone attaches cover letters to their resumes, so if you do, you will have an automatic edge over the culinary competition.
Pay attention to resume design.Chances are, most culinary employers’ time is extremely limited, and they will only have about five minutes to scan your resume. They should be able to find your most important credentials quickly, so as Forbes contributor and founder of Vanderbloemen Search Group William Vanderbloemen notes, a simple design is best. Your resume should be consistent in style, layout and wording, use a standard font, bold headings, and make it easy for employers to contact you.
Be prepared for interviews.
Congratulations! You’ve found the right resume examples and the best template for your resume, and you’ve done the work. But you’re not finished yet. Now employers want to talk to you, so you’ve got to prepare. Here’s how:
Research. Learn everything you can about the industry, the business and current culinary trends. You’ll impress employers with your knowledge and enthusiasm.
Brush up on industry terminology and tools. It’s possible an employer will quiz you on your knowledge, especially if you have more than two years of experience — so make sure you know your stuff.
Reflect on your previous experience. You might be asked “behavioral questions” to get an idea of your personality, and to see if you really do have the soft skills you listed on your resume. For example, you might be asked to talk about a time you encountered a rude customer and how you handled it, or what “teamwork” means to you.
Compile questions. Your interviewers will expect you to ask questions, too. Prepare a list of five, and pick at least two to ask — you can ask more if you have time. Some questions you might ask are “Do you provide training?” and “Can you tell me more about your expectations about the job?”
4 easy steps to build an interview-winning culinary resume
Choose from more than a dozen eye-catching professional design templates that will help you create a unique resume employers will notice.
Find the right words
Writing your resume is a snap — just use our pre-written text bullet points to showcase your skills and accomplishments.
Get step-by-step advice
We’re there for you, every step of the way. Our professional resume tips and guidance will save you time and help your resume stand out from the competition!
Format your finished resume
Our simple editing tools make it easy to get exactly the resume you want. Download in your choice of formats, then print and send as many copies as you need.
How do I make a culinary resume?
Before you begin your culinary resume, make sure you’re clear on the basics of how to write a resume. After you’ve reviewed some of the culinary resume examples on this page, choose a Resume Now template that will best show your qualifications, and then use our free and easy resume builder to create your resume in under 15 minutes!
How do you get into the culinary industry?
Many culinary professionals start from the ground up, getting on-the-job training by washing dishes, shadowing wait staff and assisting cooks. Those who want to manage restaurant operations or staff sometimes get additional training and certifications.
What is the culinary industry?
The culinary industry involves preparing, serving and selling food in fast food chains, restaurants, food trucks, diners, bars, taverns, hospitals, hotels, schools, nursing homes — and anywhere else the public purchases prepared meals.
What is the highest culinary degree?
The highest culinary degree is a doctoral degree (PhD). Food industry workers who pursue a doctoral degree often work in higher-levels of the field, where competition is often fierce. Many work as executive chefs and high-tier restaurant managers; professors of culinary arts; and food scientists.