The catering industry is one of the UK's largest and busiest industries, turning over billions every single year. It also benefits from having a huge range of career levels, from entry-level positions suitable for part-time work with no qualifications, to highly skilled professions like head chefs, to dietitians and more. If you're looking to work your way up, or you’re considering a career change, then take a look at some of our tips for helping your CV to stand out in this industry.
Let's take a look at the biggest and most important one first; qualifications. They're important in many industries, but they can often be overlooked when it comes to catering - often because people do frequently enter the industry at a base level and work their way up, rather than gaining outside qualifications and moving into the industry. If you're lucky, then employers might have helped by putting you on training courses, but sometimes, if you’re looking to take that next step, you'll need to use your own initiative. Fortunately, there are a lot of options out there.
Some of the most useful are the Level 1, 2 and 3 food hygiene courses. These courses are designed to give varying levels of knowledge in how to handle and produce food safely, and there are two big benefits. The first is that they’re recognised by a huge range of governing bodies and businesses, and the second is that they have no entry requirements. Consider the Level 2 course if you're looking to show employers you’re serious about food hygiene and understand concepts such as HACCP, or Level 3 if it's a supervisor position you're chasing. Take a look at Virtual College's food safety courses.
Jobs in catering and hospitality aren’t often nine to five, simply because there are always people looking to eat through every waking hour. Even very senior chefs may have to stay very late, or arrive very early to prepare their kitchen for the day ahead. If you’re looking to work in a restaurant or bar, then you’re going to need to do a good job of demonstrating your flexibility on your CV. Explain that you’re happy to work when required, and if possible, show that you understand the need to be timely.
If you're looking to progress your career in the catering industry, then picking up new skills in your current job is always a great idea. Qualifications aren't the only way of showing that you know how to do something. One of the best ways of doing this is putting yourself forward for taking on a new responsibility or trying something new in your job. If you’re working as an assistant cook in a kitchen, then always look for opportunities to be shown new techniques or foods to prepare. This will certainly help your CV, as employers like to know that they're hiring someone that not only has plenty to offer, but it also shows that they're willing to learn.
It's a cliche when it comes to writing CVs and preparing for interviews, but when it comes to the catering industry, this really is essential. There are very, very few jobs in this industry that won't require you to deal with people regularly, if not the entire time you're at work. If you're working in the kitchen, then constant communication is required with cooks, chefs and sous chefs, and of course the front of house staff. If you're front of house, then naturally you're going to be dealing with customers. As a result, your CV needs to do a good job of explaining to your potential employer that you're very aware of the communication demands of the role, and that you have the skills to effectively work with other people. If you're thinking of applying for some more senior chef roles, then remember that your skills in cookery are only half of the job - organising everyone else in the kitchen is the rest. Virtual College offers a range of CV boosting online courses across a variety of industries. Check out how we can help you land your dream job.