Resume' help, please

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by w.debord, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I'd like to update my resume and begin seriously looking for a job. BUT I have a whole in time to account for and I'm not sure how to do that.

    My history: quit job late last August. I was busy with pet illness and then her death, then 9/11 happened and I couldn't imagine sending out resumes when life seemed so unsure. Had to go thru medical testings and help Mother thru kidney transplant from Jan to March. Since March I've played around working at 2 tiny bakeries in the area, nothing serious, no one I'd really like to use as a reference. I've been painting the trim on my house, done alot of physical landscaping and decorating stuff....just sort of thinking... I was sort of having my mid-life crisis trying to deside what dirrections I wanted to take in life. Thru this time period I've gotten to know some local chefs networking (which is good), I've read ALOT and researched alot and I know I've actually learned a great deal about baking and cake decorating with-out having a "real job" to account for this.


    HOW in the world do I account for this last year on my resume? And remain attractive to a new job?

    Thanks in advance, any help would be GREAT!
     
  2. jim berman

    jim berman

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    Wendy,
    I may be naive, but I always find honesty is best. Explain that you had some illness in the family and spent some time on some items that were in need of attention. Doesn't everybody, at one point or another, take a little "me" time?
    Good luck to you!
    -Jim
     
  3. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I forgot to mention other details: like I researched and started to open my own cake business and hubby had 4 weeks of vacation he had to use between the time I quit (August) and Jan 1 2002. I wasn't about to look for a job and say "oh by the way I'll need 1 month off, imediately".


    Unforunately I don't understand how I title that on paper.

    August 2001 to Current:
    Personal time??????????

    I know this sounds silly but I just don't know how to phrase that?

    Thanks, I appreciate your help!
     
  4. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear Wendy,

    I don't think you need to detail on your resume about your down time in the industry.

    In most cases when I review resumes I do look closely at the amount of time a canidate spends at a job. Stability is important to me. With that said however,if there is a gap between jobs I simply ask them what they where doing.

    In most cases there is a legitimite reason for it.

    I am in a similar position with being out of work since June 6th, but I keep my personal issues short and sweet when I discuss them with a interested party.

    In your case I would not try to play around to much with your resume document. I would however include the stints you had at the two bakeries. This is work you performed after all.

    The questions (if an interviewer asks) about the lag time can then just be handled verbley.

    With what ever you do you will be excellent at it! and I wish you much success.
     
  5. anneke

    anneke

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    Wendy. Relax! Everything you described that you did during your down time sounds perfectly legitimate and productive. Doesn't sound like you had much time for Jerry Springer and Oprah. You actually do have something - lots, actually - to show for.

    On your resumé, just describe this period as having taken a sabbatical. My husband did the same thing. He took this time to hone his own professional skills. Make sure you start your resumé with your professional achievements, which your business definitely is.

    Good luck!
     
  6. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I have to agree. It is not necessary to fill in the gaps on your resume. If someone wants to know what you did, just tell 'em you were here at Cheftalk!;) No, but keep it short and sweet. Nobody needs or wants to hear a lot of personal/family details at an interview. Good luck!!:)
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Wendy, one time when I was interviewing for a kitchen position, I talked with a guy who exhibited all the personal attributes I wanted: willingness to learn, enthusiasm, intelligence, understanding. There was a gap of a couple of years on his resumé. Somehow, I didn't want to ask why -- I had an idea, but didn't want to put him on the spot. Nor did he volunteer the information. I hired him, and he was absolutely the best person I hired at that time. Later, when he was comfortable, he told me why the gap: he had been in prison. You know, I would have hired him even if he had told me in the interview, and I was always glad that I DID hire him. Because he could do the job. That was all that mattered.

    Not that your situation is quite like that. But leaving a time gap on your resumé is no big deal. If they notice (which they might not even do), they can always ask, and you can give them the quick précis of why you didn't have paying work then. But with all the other good stuff you'll list, and given when it occurred, the gap probably won't even be noticed.

    CC and momoreg are 100% correct. Don't even "mind the gap," as they say on the commuter trains. Just be honest and BRIEF if they ask you to explain.

    Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!! :D
     
  8. katbalou

    katbalou

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    dear wendy,
    when i did recruiting for a staffing agency, i would look for short and to the point resumes. you must grab the readers attention right away and don't use heavy descriptions. chances are that the person reading your resume is reading 50 others at the same time. anything too fluffy or long usually got sent to the circular file. it also helps to keep your resume on a disk so that you can gear it towards different positions - say towards corporate where you would highlight big hotels or bakeries you have worked for or small bakeries where you would highlight those jobs.
    also have a good cover letter that makes the person want to keep reading.
    don't worry about the gap, it's not that long, if they don't bring it up don't feel you have to volunteer the info, if it is brought up just be honest and tell them you had to help take care of your mom.
    and don't feel as if you have to put down every tiny job, you could list short ones together as consulting positions. if you have any questions pm me and i'll try my best to help you.
    kat
     
  9. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Wendy, i was in a very similar position when going back to work after my son's accident. I do believe honesty is the best policy, and I was forthright in explaining my hiatus, and also in putting my time limitations on the table right up front.

    I'd concentrate on the accomplishments you've made on your own, even tho you may not have 'formal' work experience to back them up. My experience has been (I'm totally self-taught) that my enthusiasm and ability to network/learn on my own mean a great deal to employers; it shows you have the 'get up and go' kind of attitude that may mean more than a fancy list of former employers!
     
  10. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Thank-you! I now feel more confident and knowledgeable in handling this. Thank-you everyone! :)
     
  11. isa

    isa

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    Who says you have to put dates on a resume, there are different ways to make one. Check out books at the library.


    If you really want to put a date say you spend so many months developing plans for a coffee house that you own.


    When you have an interview then depending on how you feel about the interviewer you can mention the transplant and other personal things.


    Be warn though that some companies aren't incline to hire people who they perceived as ill or sick. I know you actually gave a kidney, which is an admirable selfless gesture, but some jerk may not see it that way.


    And remember, there are many way to phrase things, make sure you use one that makes you looks great. A great trick from head hunter....
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    Wendy
    I think if your going to update your resume this also includes bringing it up to date with the times. I'm reading more and more about the art of seeking employment in the hospitality industry, and the general concensus is, not so matter of fact resumes but resumes that focus on accomplishments.
    I agree with this theory. I really don't care about who you worked for 5 yrs ago but I'm certainly interested in what you accomplished there. If you entered a property and established SOP's, created a purchasing and receiving system, reduced inventory, increased quality and revenue in a certain outlet etc. Those are of interest to me.
    Now young newbies, I check previous employment to see if they can get to work on time and things of that nature.
    I owe you one big PM. Sorry
    again, just my 2 cents. I probably wouldn't hire me.
     
  13. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Thanks for the advice....lord knows I need it! I wasn't ever planning on telling anyone what all I disclosed to my friends here. I just couldn't figure out how to sumerize what I've been up to and not look like I've been un-employeed for the last year because no one wanted me. I'll take everyone's advice and not go into detail.

    I will take your advice Isa and change my format, I was taking the easy way out by not re-doing the lay out...your recomendation seems very wise.

    But Hey Jeff! I can't possibly follow your advice....I've never seen any figures on paper, can't prove anything about anything. I didn't even get to order my own ingredients, I was just another kitchen employee. EXCEPT, I have one of the nicest most generous letter of recomendation from my former manager. I also have a couple of my yearly reviews, my menus, plus a portfolio of my work. That's the best I can do....I can't prove numbers but I'm certain they ate more desserts from me then any other previous pastry chefs they've had, the manager would back me on that too.
     
  14. cwk

    cwk

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    Hi Wendy,
    I just wanted to jump in and add a few things.Isa made a good point about dates and I cant really see a potential
    employer demand full acounting for your time. I would like to suggest keeping more than one style(like 2 or 3) of resume that you can select according to the position you may be applying for.
    It's been my experience in the past that most employers (and I've done this also)
    usually glance at a resume looking for qualifications suitable to thier search that stand out. I have gone through alot of resumes in a very short time just looking at other resturants an applicant may have worked,this alone can tell a great deal depending on my needs.Don't fall for the "colored paper" trick either;not only will it get more scrutiny but it's just tacky.
    A light creme color paper at a medium weight looks and feels more professional. I really doubt you'll have any problem landing a nice gig as your
    attention to detiail shows.
    Bill
     
  15. panini

    panini

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    W,
    I would never say fabricate anything, but I know you accomplished great things at each place. It just takes a little creative memory to recall them. I just used numbers as an example. I know you're the type to revamp the system to your needs and creativity. I just can't believe you wouyld ever leave a place in the same shape as you found it. You think back and remember your covers when you started and when you left?
     
  16. anneke

    anneke

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    The best job I ever had in a restaurant, I landed BECAUSE I had paper that stood out. It was a thicker, recycled paper with a beigy hue; not tacky but it did stand out. The executive chef told me he never would have looked at it otherwise as he had a huge stack of cv's on white.

    It may be in bad taste, but so what if it works?
     
  17. panini

    panini

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    W,
    not disagreeing but I happen to agree with Anneka. This is a creative field and your an artist. A little something out of the ordinary I think is acceptable.
    'But Hey Jeff! I can't possibly follow your advice....I've never seen any figures on paper, can't prove anything about anything. I didn't even get to order my own ingredients, I was just another kitchen employee. '
    I would think that you don't want your resumee reflect this unless your looking for the same thing.
     
  18. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Well to tell you the truth, I think resumes are pretty much rediculous in the this field unless your an exec. A well written paper does show you can think but that's about it. I hate over-blown bs on resumes and cover letters.

    I'm a simple dirrect person and my resume reflexs that...with a little flair (I have colored diamonds graphicly placed under my name). My selling points are my work of which I enclose 2 glossy photo sheets of my work. THAT gets me phone calls! That sets me apart. Then they read my resume. And when I get to the interview and I can talk the talk and show a full body of highly skilled work, that speaks the best for me. My verbal skills and writing skills aren't my STRONGEST assets, and if that's what they want from me...then I'm applying for the wrong type of job. Breadster can attest to that!

    I'm confidient in my skills, I draw audiences at my buffets and plated desserts, I know the quality of my work is above average, I have a glowing referral from my previous employeer and I have so much love and excitment for this field, I think that comes across in my discussions. I'm not perfect by any means!, but I'll never try to lead anyone to thinking that I'm something that I'm not.

    I know that's NOT what your telling me to do!! But I think I need to be myself even on my resume and let the cards fall where they may, I see no other way to find a good fit in a job. Thanks!
     
  19. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Wendy, Absolutely be yourself in your resume; if you're not, your interview will be a disaster! I just had the experience of two people trying to 'redo' my resume for me, because they really wanted me on the job with them. All of their rewrites and suggestions were soooooo not me, I finally politely said thanks, but I'd rather do it myself!