CV layout, content & chef specific

CREATING THE PERFECT yacht chef CV: Getting your chef skills and experience across!

Having a chef specific CV will ensure that whoever picks up or opens your CV online will know in less than 10 seconds what you are about as a chef and whether they will continue to read the CV.. or not!

It’s vital you get your CV laid out right, have the right information on the first page and get across what makes you tick as a chef.

Think to yourself when you create your CV ‘I need to grab the person’s attention as soon as they look at the first page’.

As competition for yacht chef jobs is fierce you need to get ahead of the pack and follow these simple rules listed below. A simple word document with the right layout and all the right info on it is going to work better than a fancy colour, over-complicated CV.

My rule of thumb when discussing CVs with chefs is that if the first page isn’t bang on the person reading the CV will not turn over and read page 2.

Length / fonts / file formats

The Super Yacht Industry seems to like a two page CV – so you have to make sure yours is relevant and specific to the chef vacancy that you’re applying for.

Fonts – I recommend keeping it simple, so Arial or Verdana in size 10 is a safe bet. A basic black and white CV is easy to print but if you want to add in some colour fair enough. However, do not be over creative for the sake of it.

File format – many chefs don’t even consider what file format to save their CV as. Most crew agencies and many big companies now parse candidates’ résumés to their own database, and heavily formatted PDFs or those containing multiple images can sometimes create problems. So to give your CV the best chance of finding its way on to a crew agent’s database, we recommend you save it as a simple Word file and keep any uses of tables or boxes etc to a minimum. Save a pdf copy as well at the same time.

Spell check - of course make sure you spell check the entire CV and the grammar and write it in the first person as it is about you after all. Eg I, me, mine.

Layout and structure

We recommend having your personal details and contacts on the top left of the first page and a colour photo on the right.

Personal details i.e. name, current location or address, email address, mobile phone number, Passport/nationality, visas, smoker/non smoker, any visible tattoos, Instagram account name, website name if you have. As a chef an Instagram account helps refer people to see photos of your food and food related content you have created on Instagram rather than having endless photos of food pics in a pdf file.

I also recommend you have your most relevant yacht qualifications in this part so at first glance the person reading your CV can see you have these. Eg STCW and ENG1 with expiry date next to it, Ships Cook Certificate, Food hygiene level etc.

Profile Summary – next have a brief summary of you and what you are looking for, summarise your yacht and land-based experience. It should be a paragraph or perhaps two at the most, but no longer - and it definitely shouldn’t take up half a page.

Cuisines and Food Interestsyou are a chef and you need to get across what you like to cook, your style of cooking and food interests. This is the most important part of your CV. If someone opens your CV and reads this part near the top of the first page they immediately know what you can cook, how passionate you are and your training and basic skills. Make sure you tailor this to the job you are applying to. If you think about it when someone reads here that you have a passion for SE Asian & Japanese food and that you trained for 6 weeks at Tokyo Sushi Academy and you are applying for a job where they want someone with sushi and Japanese cuisine skills you will have ticked the box right away in the mind of the person reading the CV. If you are applying for a job where they want you to know southern Italian cuisine and you have a passion for it or worked in Southern Italy they will not know this unless you tell them this.

Your only objective should be to get an interview and then in the interview you can go into more detail about what you are about but first you need to grab the person’s interest in you! Ahead of the many other CVs they will read!

Don’t forget this.. it’s very important!

Work experience -  list  your work experiences in reverse chronological date order beginning with your most recent job, keeping it brief but making sure you get across key points detailing your achievements and successes under each role.

You can start with Yacht based experience and then have land-based work experience.

I recommend you put the date from and to, then yacht name and size in metres, then the role and whether it was private/charter, how guests and crew. many weeks boss use or charter, where you cruised etc.

Would also recommend having 1 line with ‘Reason for leaving:’ on it for last 2-3 jobs. So the person reading knows right away why you left.

Give more information on the last couple of jobs so they can see your duties and responsibilities in more detail and then the older jobs will have a shorter description. Always include dates to and from, yacht name, yacht size & build, how many crew and guests onboard, private/charter and your role title.

Even if you are new to yachting and your most recent position isn’t relevant to yachting or the role you are applying for, you should still list it first because employers need to know what you have been doing.

Gaps/Time off

Don’t leave gaps on your CV. Employers and crew agencies need to know what you were doing so that you can explain it to the potential employer in the best way. Note, if you sent your CV directly to the employer and it included big gaps, they’re likely to think that you’ve either been doing nothing, were unemployed or AWOL!

Don’t forget your CV is your shop window and it needs to sell you in the best possible way, so if you took time off to travel or were unemployed put in the dates as one line so people know why the gap between jobs is there. Be honest and open!

Education & Training

Make sure your educational and training information is brief and relevant to yachting and to cheffing.

I would have put Yachting Qualifications/Certificates/Training as a heading and then Education after it and have this below the employment work history.

Hobbies & Interests

Think of this as a way to get across what you do outside of work and if for example you are applying for a job to a yacht where crew and owner are healthy, into water sports and fitness then if you are into this as well make sure it goes into this section. If you enjoy travel and trying new cuisines put this, if you are into cook books or doing stages then put that.

Cover letter

Separate covering letters aren’t really used much anymore, but we recommend you include a version of it in the email when sending your CV. Make sure it is short and an accurate summary of your CV and why you are the right person for the role, what your strengths and attributes are and of course mention what role you are applying for, your current location and availability.

VERY IMPORTANT: don’t just send a generic cover letter in the email but tailor it specifically to each job you apply to. If the job advert says ‘we want a chef with 2 years sole chef experience on a 40-50m yacht, with knowledge of Balearic Islands ports and provisioning’ and you have this then write in the email that you have this. Think of it as ticking boxes in the mind of the person reading your CV.

If you answer the questions/criteria the person wants to be met for a job then in their minds you are ticking all the boxes and they have only just read your email and not even opened your CV yet.


Technically you don’t need a photo on your CV but yachting wants this. For whatever reasons so make sure the photo is one ideally in your chef whites, at work in the galley, in your crew uniform etc but make sure your face is clear viewable and they can see who you are.

Food photos – nothing wrong with having a couple of food photos on the CV but would say put them at bottom of CV as you want your first page to hit home with your most important info. As mentioned above if you have a link to Instagram page or website showing your food creations that is easier and quicker.

Need more help?

We have tried to cover the basics but if you still need help feel free to contact us.

Good luck! Tream

Here is a sample of a very simple yacht industry and chef specific CV. click to view

click to view full sample