The food industry is demanding and fast-paced.

It takes an entire team of management, servers, and various cooks and chefs to create a relaxing environment for their customers.

In order to meet the needs of the public, the kitchen needs proper delegation to make it all happen, and it starts with the prep cooks.

If this isn’t your first rodeo in a kitchen position, you know the often chaotic environment that takes place behind the scenes of a quiet dining area.

It’s hot, it’s crowded, and orders are coming in every second.

If ingredients aren’t prepped and ready to go before they are needed, then the whole system falls apart.

It’s your job to get the ball rolling and keep it going.

Like the first runner in a relay race, you can either get your team off to a great start or set them up for failure.

In the process of landing a job, your prep cook resume works in very much the same way.

If you get this first step right, you are off to the races – if you get it wrong, you can kiss an interview goodbye.

Fret not, because you’ve got a coach who’s ready to get your resume in shape to compete with the best competition.

Let’s get started!

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample prep cook resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best prep cook resume you possibly can.

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Prep Cook Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Marion Conway
MConway@email.com
1 (770) 555-5500
Duluth, GA 30095C

Summary Statement:

Prep cook: Clean and reliable prep cook with 9 years of experience in fast-paced kitchens. Accurate and precise at measuring weights, food volume, and following safe cooking procedures. Passionate about food with a keen eye for ensuring the success of the kitchen line.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Clean
  • Organized
  • Osha
  • Pos Systems
  • Knife skills
  • Fluent in Spanish and English
  • Physical stamina
  • Attention to detail
  • Diligent
  • Dependalple
  • Punctual
  • Coopertive
  • Ability to work in Fast-paced kitchen

Professional Experience:

Bloomin’ Brands, Alpharetta, GA
PREP COOK | Mar 2016 – Present

  • Set kitchen up for success by washing, peeling, chopping, and preparing all ingredients in an organized and timely manner
  • Strictly adhere to menu and recipe standards to ensure customer satisfaction
  • Committed to safe food handling, cleanliness, safety, and sanitation standards
  • Inspect all ingredients for freshness and proper storage in walk-in freezers and fridges
  • Regularly work at a pace up to 10% faster than other prep cooks and consistently chosen to work high-paced weekend shifts

Punch Bowl Social, Atlanta, GA
PREP COOK | June 2013 – Mar 2016

  • Maintained facility appearance, cleanliness, and display standards
  • Organized and labeled ingredients in clear and proper fashion to aid a neat and efficient workflow
  • Dedicated to maintaining sanitary and safe food handling at all times
  • Preformed regular cleaning duties to ensure a sanitary kitchen environment
  • Trained and coached over 15 incoming and entry-level prep cooks

Bahama Breeze, Kennesaw, GA
PREP COOK | Oct 2011 – May 2013

  • Arranged workstations with all needed ingredients and equipment
  • Followed recipe guidelines to meet or exceed guests’ expectations
  • Stocked the alley and line with items needed to complete orders on time
  • Prepared all food items as directed in a sanitary and timely manner

Education/Certifications

PREP COOK CERTIFICATE
Atlanta Technical College
Completion Oct 2011

Formatting

The first step in creating a stellar prep cook resume actually has nothing to do with what you are going to say, but with how you are going to say it.

To create a resume that will draw the attention of a hiring manager, it needs to look neat and professional.

While there are many acceptable formats to choose from there are still some consistent ground rules to follow.

When selecting a font, make sure that you are choosing something that is legible and has a professional appearance.

As you begin writing, pay attention to creating proper spacing between each section and bullet points to help guide eyes down the page.

When listing work history or accomplishments, follow reverse chronological order so that your most current information is more noticeable.

All of these formatting “rules” are there to help get the most impressive information down first and allow it to stand out on the page.

This is important because most hiring managers only spend around 6 seconds looking over the resumes that they review.

Your goal is to catch their attention right away.

Start With Your Resume Summary

Now that you have a grasp on how you want your prep cook resume to look overall, it’s time to jump into your first section.

Your resume summary should take up minimal space and only account for two to three sentences.

Your summary should focus on who you are as a prep cook and cover how you meet/exceed the standards of what this job requires.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Yes!

Clean and reliable prep cook with 9+ years of experience in fast-paced kitchens. Accurate and precise at measuring and weighing food volume and following safe cooking procedures. Passionate about food with a keen eye for ensuring the success of the kitchen line..

No!

Fast and quick prep cook. Follows accurate cooking procedures. Passionate about food with a keen eye for ensuring the success of the kitchen line.

The “Yes!” example shows off the candidate’s knowledge and skills in the kitchen by lending specifics concerning their experience level and explaining how they follow procedure.

The “No!” example lends little to no specifics that would set the candidate apart from the rest.

PRO TIP: While your resume summary comes first on the page, you don’t have to write it first. If you are having trouble deciding what details are most important to include in this section, try writing the rest of your resume first and come back to it. .

Key Accomplishments/ Skills & Qualifications

While your summary serves the purpose of creating an essential introduction, it is also a section that doesn’t visually grab someone’s attention right away.

Including a section that lists skills and qualifications in a manner that is more to the point and simplistic is always necessary.

The skills that you include in this section should show that you know what it takes to be a prep cook and that you are capable of handling the tasks involved.

A well-rounded resume should include skills that are both hard and soft.

Hard skills:

  • Teachable
  • Practicable
  • Easy to Quantify
  • Technical

Soft skills:

  • Personality Traits
  • Subjective
  • Harder to Quantify
  • Innate
  • Not necessarily teachable

Let’s look at an example of a list containing both kinds of skills.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Dependable
  • Clean
  • Organized
  • Punctual
  • Cooperative
  • OSHA
  • POS systems
  • Knife Skills
  • Fluent in Spanish and English
  • Physical Stamina
  • Ability to work in Fast-paced Kitchen
  • Attention to Detail
  • Diligent

This list includes hard skills like knife work, fluency in two languages, and following OSHA standards and regulations.

Including hard skills show a hiring manager right away that you can follow proper restaurant procedures.

The soft skills included, like being organized and dependable, show that the candidate values the strengths of being a hard worker.

Including both hard and soft skills in your resume covers the bases of what most hiring managers are looking for in a prep cook.

PRO TIP: If you are responding to a job post, make sure that you are including any skills and qualifications that they include, in your resume. This will allow a hiring manager to notice, at a glance, that you are a compatible candidate for their restaurant.

Writing Your Work Experience

While your resume summary and skills section have laid out the details of what kind of employee you are, they weren’t very detailed and they didn’t provide many facts.

The work experience section takes up the most space of resumes because this section shows evidence to back up the abilities and strengths you have already listed.

While you will write a brief description of the duties involved in fulfilling the position for each job you include, you should take this section as an opportunity to reinforce your own skills and abilities.

In order to put your best foot forward, it is important to include jobs in your prep cook resume that directly deal with working in a kitchen or cooking.

So if you have worked in retail but also held a job as a dishwasher in a kitchen, it is more applicable to include the dishwashing position.

It is typically a good idea to list your jobs in reverse chronological order so that your most recent work comes first.

For each job description, try to include as much specific detail as possible while keeping things concise.

Only include about three to five bullet points for each job you list.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Yes!

Bloomin’ Brands | Alpharetta, GA | Prep Cook | Mar 2016 – Present
• Set kitchen up for success by washing, peeling, chopping, and preparing all ingredients in an organized and timely manner
• Strictly adhere to menu and recipe standards to ensure customer satisfaction
• Committed to safe food handling, cleanliness, safety, and sanitation standards
• Inspect all ingredients for freshness and proper storage in walk-in freezers and fridges
• Regularly work at a pace up to 10% faster than other prep cooks and consistently chosen to work high-paced weekend shifts

No!

Bloomin’ Brands | Alpharetta, GA | Prep Cook | Mar 2016 – Present 
• Prep all ingredients
• Strict adherence to menu and recipe standards
• Safely handle food
• Check ingredients for freshness
• Work at a fast pace in a busy kitchen

The “Yes!” example lends specific details to explain how the candidate executes their job duties and the methods they follow.

The “No!” example lists job duties without highlighting the candidate’s abilities or describing how they execute their tasks.

PRO TIP: When writing your job descriptions, try to qualify or quantify details whenever possible. If you prep ingredients, give details of the steps involved or if there is a high volume of food and quality required. If you have trained other workers, provide a number of how many people you have taught. These details help you stand out from the crowd.

(If you lack work experience, see below for a helpful section.)

More About Bots

If you are applying to work for a chain restaurant or a restaurant that has a higher volume of staff, consider that many hiring managers receive a large number of applications every week.

Some companies just don’t have the amount of time necessary to review all of the applications they receive, so they use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), or bots, to weed out the good from the bad.

Bots are programmed to search resumes for specified keywords that are associated with “good-candidate potential”.

If a resume matches up, then it gets flagged to be further reviewed by a hiring manager.

If a bot doesn’t flag a resume, it typically ends up in the trash.

Due to these systems, it has become increasingly more important to be intentional about including strong keywords and power words (action verbs) in your prep cook resume.

Some resume experts believe writing your work experience in paragraphs instead of bullet points allows for candidates to include more keywords in their job descriptions.

However, it is still possible to include a sufficient amount of keywords in your resume while formatting it with bullet points.

At Big Interview, we suggest that you stick with bullet points and write your resumes with the use of keywords in mind.

If you are intentional about your word choice, bullet points will still make it past a bot, and they will likely impress a hiring manager more than paragraphs will.

Let’s take a look at the visual differences between these two formats.

Standard Bullet Point Format:

Punch Bowl Social | Atlanta, GA | Prep Cook | June 2013 – Mar 2016

  • Maintained facility appearance, cleanliness, and display standards
  • Organized and labeled ingredients in clear and proper fashion to aid a neat and efficient workflow
  • Dedicated to maintaining sanitary and safe food handling at all times
  • Performed regular cleaning duties to ensure a sanitary kitchen environment
  • Trained and coached over 15 incoming and entry-level prep cooks

Paragraph Format:

Punch Bowl Social | Atlanta, GA | Prep Cook | June 2013 – Mar 2016
Maintained facility appearance, cleanliness, and display standards. Organized and labeled ingredients in clear and proper fashion to aid a neat and efficient workflow. Dedicated to maintaining sanitary and safe food handling at all times. Performed regular cleaning duties to ensure a sanitary kitchen environment. Trained and coached over 15 incoming and entry-level prep cooks..

In some cases, people use a mixture of both styles by writing their work history in paragraph format and then including a few bullet points below.

Paragraph with additional bullet points

Punch Bowl Social | Atlanta, GA | Prep Cook | June 2013 – Mar 2016
Maintained facility appearance, cleanliness, and display standards. Organized and labeled ingredients in clear and proper fashion to aid a neat and efficient workflow. Dedicated to maintaining sanitary and safe food handling at all times. Performed regular cleaning duties to ensure a sanitary kitchen environment. Trained and coached over 15 incoming and entry-level prep cooks.

  • Employee of the Month (voted 3 times)
  • Prep Cook for a 60 seat restaurant

Writing Your Education Section

Including an education section in your prep cook resume, even if your education doesn’t apply to food and cooking directly, is important.

Many entry-level positions still require a diploma or GED.

Example:

High School Diploma
West Lake High School
2011

If you have more relevant certifications related to the food industry, you can include them in this section as well.

Example:

Prep Cook Certificate
Atlanta Technical College
Completion Oct 2011

Possible Sections to Include

If the sections we have gone over in this article don’t cover individual accomplishments or details you have that are relevant to cooking, you can always add in additional sections to your prep cook resume.

Some additional sections to consider including are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What If You Have No Experience?

If you are just starting out, even in an entry-level position, it can be tough to get your foot in the door.

If you have no work experience at all, and you are trying to improve your resume, consider moving your education section below your resume summary.

If you have any culinary experience/cooking classes, or you have gained any licenses or certificates for handling food, those details should come first.

Try to improve upon this section wherever possible by including specific food-related coursework, high GPAs, honors, or awards you have earned.

If you have done any internships or volunteer work, those details are important to list in an additional section.

Sometimes the best way to land your first paid job is to show that you have experience working in an unpaid setting.

Stay positive and confident, and you will land a prep cook job before you know it.

Resume Points to Remember

Slow it down

While it is crucial to be fast in the kitchen, the same isn’t true for writing your prep cook resume. Take your time and make sure that you read through your resume and revise it before handing it in. If you have a friend who can look it over and give you advice, always use a second opinion.

Make it pretty

Before anyone reads one word of your resume, the first thing they are going to notice is your formatting. Make sure that you use a clear and legible font, and pay attention to proper spacing.

Fresh is best

Every bullet point you write should start with a new power word to add a feeling of variety to your skills. Make sure that the words you use to describe yourself and how you do things are persuasive and precise.

Try to Avoid

Don’t overdo it

Never write a resume that is longer than one page. If you have a lot of job history to go over, narrow things down to the best and make what you include count.

Don’t forget the small stuff

Always make sure that you are including your name and contact information at the top of your prep cook resume in a large and apparent font. It sounds silly to mention, but people do forget.

Don’t say “I” and “me”

While your entire resume is about you, and you will constantly be referencing yourself, still make sure that you aren’t using the words “I” and “me.” These words are regarded as unnecessary in the resume writing world.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested power words.)

Helpful Tools

Power Words

  • Administered
  • Founded
  • Adept
  • Formulated
  • Built
  • Implemented
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Consolidated
  • Initiated
  • Coordinated
  • Launched
  • Developed
  • Pioneered
  • Designed
  • Organized

Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Fluent in Spanish and EnglishFast-Paced
Knife skillsCooperative
POS SystemDiligent
OSHAClean and Organized
Health and Safety StandardsProblem-solving