Updated: Jun 24
By Sophie Braker
A few weeks ago, when Jensen Cummings (founder of Best Served and Chief Why Officer at Angry Olive) and I were discussing the topics for our series, Tableside (industry roundtable discussions with line level restaurant workers), he went on a rant about resumes. I listened and nodded and as he got more animated about his hatred for them, I started to wonder what he had thought of my resume. When he finished, I asked him.
“What did you think of my resume?”
Jensen paused thinking then said, “I never looked at your resume. I looked at your blog.”
I’d forgotten I put my blog into the email I sent him. It was a last-minute addition, something else to show that I could write (mostly about food, culinary, bakeries and restaurants) and knew Wordpress. I’ve put it on job applications before but I’m pretty sure the only person who has consistently read my posts was my mom.
“Yeah, I read a few posts about you visiting bakeries. You put yourself out there and you seemed like a good fit.”
I laughed to hide my confusion and embarrassment.
I still can’t believe that a blog that I started when I was eighteen to document a trip to Japan, got me a job! When I look back at my writing, I can see how much I’ve grown but I can also see why Jensen thought I would make a good fit. The posts that Jensen read were about visiting different bakeries on trips across the US. He didn’t need to read my resume to see that I had an interest in baking, restaurants, and traveling. He didn’t need to see my resume to see that I was organized because of the layout of my posts. My blog also told him things that weren’t on my resume like I am a food adventurer (someone who will try new things) and I am funny (I don’t take myself too seriously).
Resumes are built for hard skills – proficiency in Microsoft Word or experience in enriched doughs. While these skills are important, soft skills are equally valuable. I would rather train someone who has never used any of the podcast software we use but whose heart is in the right place and is willing to learn, than someone who has the technical skills but who is disrespectful of me and my time. The difference in attitude isn’t found on a resume. That is one reason to have another creative outlet that shows your skills and more importantly, your personality.
Blogs are pretty common in today’s media market. These aren’t the boom online written diaries like the early 2000s. Vlogs and podcasts are the new trend. When people think about starting a blog or a podcast, they get overwhelmed with the number of other people who are also creating content. Yes, podcasts and blogs can get buried by the flood of voices on the Internet. I think the most popular post on my site only got 150 reads (but I was so proud of that). At the end of the day, only one read was important, the one that got me a job. There are many bite sized ways to create content now too. Tik Tok and Instagram videos are faster to make than full YouTube videos. Our Best Served Read blog is always looking for new articles too.
It’s pretty scary to break out of the mold that everyone has been taught to follow, resumes with standard formatting, specific margins, and stereotypical buzzwords. For anybody in the restaurant industry, be it an employer or an employee, it’s time to understand that a piece of paper can to define a good fit, and that other creative ways to express individuality and proficiency and passion are now easier than ever (and more crucial) to communicate. A restaurant worker using a Tik Tok page to express who they are and what they can do, can separate them from the pack of people just putting those same buzzwords on their tired restaurant resume. It will also take restaurant owners and managers who see that the greatest tool they have to combat the “labor shortage” is valuing creativity and individuality, and that the restaurant hiring process has to evolve and that starts with asking the question, do resumes matter?
Best Served grinds to support workplaces worth working, and that is why we are proud to collaborate with 7shifts, who has underwritten Best Served Tableside. 7shifts promotes being connected to the reality of the full employee life cycle both on the clock and off.
Sophie Braker is the Director for More Voices Initiative for Best Served Podcast and Best Served Creative. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, she decided to combine her passion for baking and her degree in Media to work in the food media industry. When Sophie is not working on the podcast, she can be found playing with her dog Massimo (named after Massimo Bottura) and watching the Great British Bake Off.