Not every restaurant pays the same for their cooks – the top restaurants pay about twice the average and provide outstanding benefits – to get all that, you need a perfect cook resume.
There was a time that you could get a cook job with a generic job application. Today, the food industry job market is so competitive with more entry-level and part-time positions opening.
If your passion is cooking, you might be worrying about why your resume doesn’t convert – why you don’t get more interview calls. In this guide, we’ve given you a proven framework to create a resume that gets you the job.
We have also covered:
- How to select a resume format, layout, and a template for a cook resume
- Cook resume examples and a step-by-step guide to writing each section
- Pro resume writing tips to stand out from the rest of the applications
While reading the article, you can create your resume in a modern resume template chosen from our resume builder. Save hours spent on formatting – complete your resume in just 10 minutes.
Cook Resume Example
Dynamic cook with over 3 years of experience in a fast-paced restaurant environment at Grace Kitchen seek to join Mom’s cuisine to serve quality dishes. In my previous job, I served 40+ plates in rush hours with no compromise on the quality.
Aug 2019 to Present
Grace Kitchen, NC
- Worked closely with the head chef and helped manage a team of 12 kitchen staff
- Continuously improved the food quality achieving an increase in restaurant rating from 4.2 to 4.7 within a year
- Reduced the food ingredient waste by 12% by introducing a just-in-time procurement system
- Served over 200 main courses in Saturday night shifts
June 2018 to Aug 2019
- Carried out different kitchen responsibilities such as cooking meet – cutting vegetables – packing orders for dine-in and take-away
- Tested ingredients of different suppliers to pick the best
- Maintained a sanitary kitchen carrying out the scheduled and unscheduled cleanups
- Cooked meat – prepared hot and cold beverages – and salads
High school diploma
Somerset High School, 2013-2017
- Food preparation
- Knowledge of food safety standards
- Knowledge of 5-star recipes
- Ability to work under pressure
- Food creativity
Culinary school certification
If a cook resume is not what you’re looking for, here’s a list of resumes for jobs in restaurants:
Cook’s Salary & Employment Rates
The average cook’s salary is $11/ hour 💰 (Payscale.com).
Actual pay depends on the experience of the cook, the variety of the dishes they could cook, and the value they could create for the restaurant.
In addition to the base salary, most restaurants pay service charges and bonuses to their employees.
Further, jobs in restaurants typically come with free food, flexible time scheduling, overtime, and many other employment benefits.
How to Make a Cook Resume?
There were about 24,000 restaurants in New York City in 2019 – which was a 30% growth in 10 years according to the New York state comptroller report. Restaurant hiring managers are busy finding the right people to run the existing locations and expansions.
An average recruiter spends about 5 seconds reading a resume – in fact, they don’t read – they scan. Some recruiters use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to do the shortlisting.
These practices are sending warning messages to the applicants that the old ways of writing resumes are no longer going to work.
Writing your cook resume starts with defining a matching layout, selecting a great template, and picking the right format.
This pre-planning is essential to create a resume that aligns with the restaurant industry requirements – the information, look and feel, and the tone.
The layout of a cook’s Resume
The layout consists of the headings and subheadings on your resume. It defines each section and what information these sections should include.
We recommend the following layout for a cook resume:
- Header: name and contact information.
- Professional summary/ objective summary.
- Work experience.
- Additional sections (certificates, interests, and awards).
It’s important to arrange these sections on your resume in the right order. The arrangement of information also depends on the template you choose. Nevertheless, consider putting your experience section before the education section if you are an experienced candidate.
Resume Template for cooks
Choose a modern resume template that suits your personality – the template should also complement the industry you’re applying for – the restaurant industry in this case.
Restaurant hiring managers are tired of reading hundreds of boring theses-type resumes. Therefore, it is easy to stand out from the rest with a great template tailored to your profile.
We have put together awesome resume templates that are well suited for all restaurant industry jobs. Pick the right template for your cook resume and create it in 10 minutes.
You may also create your own resume template if you’re a pro Word user. Make sure you consider the fonts, margins, and color theme in designing it.
Consider the following while designing a resume template:
- Define the fonts, colors, and font sizes for all the headings and subheadings.
- Color theme should match the industry: you may also consider using the brand colors of the restaurant you’re applying for.
- Keep consistent margins from all sides of the document.
- Save the document in PDF and Text formats.
Cook Resume Format
The format is especially important when you write the resume experience and education sections – it defines the order in which you put the information.
There are three standard formats in use:
- The functional: Also called the skill-based format – the experience section is written based on the respective skills
- Reverse chronological format: The candidate’s most recent experience is listed first
- Hybrid (combination) format: A combined version of the functional and reverse chronological approaches
To write your cook resume, we suggest using the reverse-chronological format. In this, you should list your recent experience first. This provides the recruiter the essential information to make a hiring decision as they value the most recent experience of the candidate.
The reverse chronological resume format is a widely used format among candidates in many industries.
If you don’t possess previous cook experience, or you’re in a career transition, consider writing your experience section in a functional resume format.
Do your research
Your cook resume most likely will go through an applicant tracking system (ATS) for shortlisting. The system will check the relevant keywords on your resume and decide whether it is worth the look of a hiring manager.
Finding and including the right keywords on your resume is therefore extremely important.
Read the job advertisement carefully to pick the important words mentioned by the hiring manager about the job. Also, go to the company website and see their menu items, restaurant expansion plans, the type of customers they serve, and the culture they’re promoting.
Make a list of keywords and naturally include them throughout your resume.
How to Put “ Cook” on The Resume?: The Title
The Title is the first thing your hiring manager sees on your resume – the section that makes the first impression – a great first impression matters in any shortlisting decision, right?
What makes a great header?
Your resume header is a small section consisting of your name and contact information. Your name should be clearly visible with a bigger font and with an attractive color. Contact information should only include what is relevant.
Great resume headers are clean, simple, and communicate the right information.
Here’s what to include and what to leave out of your header 👇
A good & a bad header
32, main street, apt 12,
Consider the following points when writing your header:
- Write the first name ad the last name – make it attractive with a matching font and a color
- Include the job title for the position you’re applying for. The job title is an important keyword you should include on the resume
- Use your personal email instead of the office email
- A physical address is not required in the header
- Put the link to a professional social media account such as LinkedIn if you’re an active user
Demonstrate Your Culinary Experience
The experience section is the most important section of your cook resume. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who have cooked real meals in real restaurant environments. You can’t learn cooking in a book of course.
If you possess a good amount of relevant experience, the only obstruction between you and your dream cook job would be exceptional writing skills. Yes, just having the experience is not enough – you may be good at cooking, but you should be extraordinary at writing how good you’re at cooking.
Even if you’re an entry-level candidate, how you explain the limited experience you have, matters.
Almost all the time, the hiring manager’s favorite decision-making section is the experience section. We will show you the tips for writing a mind-blowing cook resume experience section that makes your resume stand out from the rest of the applications.
Follow these guidelines while writing this section:
- Find out the achievements and accomplishments in your current and previous jobs
- Get the numbers that demonstrate your achievements
- Keep each job position to 4-6 points
- Start each sentence with a power word. Eg: Developed, Created, Cooked
- Limit listing duties and responsibilities in your experience section
Example Work Experience Section for an experienced cook Resume
Spicy Nest, NY
- Head line cook
- Provided on the job training to new cooks
- Ingredient purchasing and stocking
- Cooked delicious food
- The main course got a lot of attention from the customers
- Reduced the food waste
Spicy Nest, NY
- Worked as the head line cook in a fusion restaurant cooking over 30 menu items
- Trained new cooks and restaurant supporting staff as part of their onboarding process
- Supervised the kitchen managing a kitchen staff of about 10
- Awarded the best line cook of the month 4 times in the last year
- Carried out food item and ingredient stocking-restocking procedures and procurement
- Taken into account the customer requests and allergies in making the dishes
- Achieved 94% customer satisfaction for the main course
Recruiters don’t read your resume – they scan them. Numbers make it easy for them to scan the resume in a couple of seconds. Talk to your current and previous restaurant managers to find out the numbers relevant to your achievements.
Example Work Experience for an Entry-Level Cook
The Fusion, NY
- Helped the line cooks to prepare food items
- Prepared delivery orders
- Cutting meat and vegetables
- Cooked side dishes in busy times
- Kept the kitchen clean and maintained the cooking equipment
- Knowledge of the restaurant’s menu
The Fusion, NY
- Helped the sous chef to prepare dishes according to the restaurant’s food safety guidelines and customer requests
- Worked with the in house and third-party delivery services to dispatch the orders on time and accurately
- Cut about 20 kilos of vegetables and meat daily
- Cooked side dishes at busy times under the supervision of the cook – frequently got praised by the customers
- Helped maintain a sanitary kitchen following the cleanliness guidelines
Even if you’re applying for your first job in a restaurant, do not keep your experience section empty. Write about previous cooking experience you’ve had at home, in an event, or in the school – talk about your previous job experience in a different industry aligning it to the responsibilities in a restaurant.
Unfold Your Formation in Gastronomy
Most restaurants don’t specify the level of education the candidates should have. However, a high school diploma is preferred.
If you’re looking for a part-time cook job to earn some extra money to support your education, mention the degree you’re reading for – recruiters like to work with educated candidates.
Include the name of the education program, institution name, years of graduation, and the key learning outcomes if relevant.
- Food science
- Culinary arts
- Applied science
Skills for a Cook Resume
The skills section is a principal part of your cook resume. Here, you should include a list of soft skills and hard skills relevant to the work.
Soft skills are the personality traits required to become successful in a work environment – this includes the ability to interact and communicate effectively with other team members.
Hard skills are the technical skills required to perform the job duties. You could reap hard skills through education programs and experience.
The keyword research you carried out at the beginning will help you pick the right skills for this section. Write about 4-7 highly valuable skills for a line cook resume.
- Interpersonal skills
- Willingness to learn
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work under pressure
- Decision making
- Preparing food
- Food packing
- Food service
- Kitchen equipment handling
- Knife skills
- BBQ grillwork
- Juice preparation
- Soup preparation
The professional summary is the first thing the recruiter’s eye stops at – make it the sales pitch of your resume to grab their attention. The right professional summary would make your resume noticed by the hiring manager – wanting them to meet you for an interview.
You don’t have to be a best-selling author to write a great professional summary. Most candidates give up on writing this section and copy something from the internet without realizing the potential importance of this section.
Use this guide to write a breathtaking professional summary for your professional profile – when you apply for different positions and companies, you can tailor the same to fit the context.
Follow these guidelines:
- Start with your experience and key skills.
- Explain your enthusiasm for joining the particular restaurant.
- In the second sentence, describe how your expertise helped the previous employer.
- Use numbers to add credibility to your statements.
Highlight the biggest achievement in your career – this could immediately qualify you for an interview.
If you are a candidate who is transitioning your career to become a line cook or applying for an entry-level cook job without having much experience, consider writing an objective summary – highlight your enthusiasm to join the restaurant and your passion to become a cook.
Professional summary for an experienced cook
Professional objective for an entry-level cook
Additional Sections for Your Cook Resume Sample
Additional sections are a prominent way to distinguish your resume from the rest of the applications.
Most candidates stop their resume with the basic resume sections, whereas these small sections that you could include on your resume have a substantial value in the eyes of the recruiter.
In fact, these sections are more visible as they are small sections with separate subheadings. Therefore, you should put the most important information here.
In addition, some of this information could be used as valuable filler to your resume in the event that you do not have much to write.
Following are some sections you could include in a cook resume👇
I know what you think. Why would a line cook need computer skills?
Most restaurants currently operate on computerized systems and applications. As a cook, you will have to work with those systems and you will be given instructions and training to use them. Your basic computer literacy would be valuable when learning these systems.
Some job descriptions or advertisements mention the trade certifications and professional certifications they expect.
These are highly valuable skill certifications for cook professionals. Following are some of the certifications you can look into.
- Certificates in food safety and sanitation
- Culinary arts certifications
- Supervisory management
- Food nutrition certifications
- Certified sous chef
- Certified chef de cuisine
- Certified executive chef
- Certified master chef
- Certified fundamental pastry chef
There’re many professional bodies and institutions providing different certifications for cooks. Check out this article by Escoffier to learn more about cook certifications.
If you are fluent in a couple of languages, you could mention the level of fluency on your resume. Cooks get to serve customers speaking different languages. Your multi-language skills would come in handy in a restaurant environment.
We have designed a stunning set of ready-to-fill resume templates that include additional sections in an appealing way. This drag-and-drop resume builder saves you the hassle of dealing with Microsoft Office documents.
Hobbies and Interests
The hobbies and interests section is a good resume filler for an entry-level resume. Make sure you include the relevant hobbies and interests that add value to a great cook resume.
If you have ever been involved in volunteering work, you can include them as well under this section.
Some hobbies and interests could get you jobs that education couldn’t.
Tips for Honing Your Cook Resume
The following pro tips will help you improve your professional resume:
- Read the job advertisements and pick the keywords the recruiters have mentioned. If you don’t possess a demanding skill or a certification, see whether you can acquire them before applying.
- Pick a modern resume template that suits your personal profile and the restaurant industry – this will change the overall look and feel of your resume.
- Use a tool such as Grammarly to make sure your resume is error-free.
- Start the resume with your name and contact information.
- Include a professional summary if you’re an experienced cook – write a resume objective summary if you are an entry-level cook.
- Showcase your achievements and accomplishments as much as possible on your resume – do not re-state the job roles and responsibilities.
- Use a consistent format to write your education section.
- Include a list of 4-7 skills – a mix of soft and hard skills is preferred.
- Add a pleasant surprise to the hiring manager with a couple of additional sections.
Complement Your resume with a Cover letter
In certain job advertisements, the recruiter mentions the requirement of a cover letter – even if they don’t, including a cover letter would be a valuable addition to your employment application.
Some online application portals ask you to upload your resume and cover letter. If you’re not allowed to upload a second document, check whether there’s a space where you can send a message to the hiring manager – that’s where you should write the cover letter.
The cover letter is often very important to candidates applying for entry-level positions. In fact, this is where you get to express your interest in the particular restaurant.
Keep your cover letter to about half a page – with 3-4 short paragraphs.
The cover letter is often very important to candidates applying for entry-level positions. In fact, this is where you get to express your interest to the particular restaurant.
You can check out some perfect cover letter examples here for further inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the duties and responsibilities of a cook?
Cook duties and responsibilities vary based on the restaurant and the market they serve. In general, the main cook will have the responsibility of managing the work of the other line cooks and delivering the orders fast – at the highest restaurant standard to the customers. In addition, the cook has to prepare salads, pastries, sandwiches, pizzas, and other menu items on demand.
Some restaurants take up more complex tasks such as food catering services for large crowds. On such occasions, the cook will have to involve in purchasing ingredients, budgeting the food requirements, and also taking part in live cooking events.
Does the cook resume different from other kitchen staff resumes?
There’s not much difference between a resume of a cook and the resume of a kitchen staff or a restaurant customer service resume. The basic resume structure and the format are the same. However, there will be differences in the content – cook’s roles and responsibilities – the skills required for a cook will differ.