Whether your plan is to be an executive chef, caterer, or restaurant manager, you’ll need to network with people in your profession who can help you reach your goals. Putting yourself out there and meeting new people can seem intimidating—but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few first steps to make those all-important connections that will get you on the road to your dream job in the culinary arts.
- Join an organization
Organizations like the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) offer resources to members at all levels, from students to recent graduates to experienced chefs. Investing in a membership gives you access to professional certifications, webinars, and local chapters that keep you up to date on the latest in culinary trends and opportunities. Or, attend a conference to socialize with others in your field, hear from keynote speakers, and participate in demos and hands-on workshops.
- Strengthen your existing contacts
Even after you graduate, stay in touch with your peers from college. You can travel those first few years together as you celebrate successes and navigate challenges with others from the same educational background. Have a family member or friend who already works in the industry? Connect with them for advice and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for job opportunities that might be right for you.
- Stay active on social media
Polish your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter: update your information, remove any crazy party pictures, and highlight your professional experience. Don’t be afraid to market yourself and your goals, since most employers will do a web search before they hire you. Then, follow and interact with friends in the industry, favorite chefs, restaurants, and hospitality groups. You can also search for pages dedicated exclusively to sharing openings and resources for job seekers.
- Get involved with the Helms College alumni association
The HC Alumni Association provides information, programs, events, and services to HC Proud Alumni. Gather with other Helms graduates for social events near you, participate in volunteer opportunities, and take advantage of the Career Services department for local and regional employment leads that are updated weekly. Click here to join or learn more.
To jumpstart your career in the culinary arts, consider the School of Hospitality at Helms College. Our Associate in Applied Science degree and Culinary Arts Diploma train you to think strategically in the workplace, hone your knowledge, skills and abilities, and build a resume of hands-on culinary experience even before you graduate. Contact us for more information or click here to apply today.