Asking For Work...

Decorating By meegz Updated 27 Dec 2009 , 2:38pm by JenniferMI

meegz Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 5:10am
post #1 of 29

Hi!
Oh, here goes...
A cake shop has opened in my town and I have been considering going in and giving them my name in case they are ever looking for help...
I'm pretty much a beginner but I think with a bit of guidance I could learn quite quickly...
I was thinking of doing up a bit of a 'portfolio' and leaving that with them as well. Maybe I could do up a bunch of dummies for this???

Of course they may never need any help, but I'd LOVE to be considered if they did!

A couple of questions-
Do you think it's a bit rude to show up and ask for work, especially considering I'm not a 'pro'?
Do you think a portfolio is a good idea? And, what would you put in it?

Your hints/tips/thoughts are greatly appreciated!

28 replies
all4cake Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 5:18am
post #2 of 29

I don't think it'd be rude at all. Even if they have a decorator, if you can base ice, write on cakes, and do basic stuff, they may be able to use your help. As time goes on and their business picks up, your skills will improve and you may be able to step up to assist with more and more tasks. A portfolio of things you are able to do as well as things you've dabbled with may prove to be beneficial as opposed to just going in and saying you are able to do them.

caseyhayes Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 5:30am
post #3 of 29

I say go for it! A portfolio should be sufficient.

globalgatherings Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 5:49am
post #4 of 29

Do it, it would be great experience

indydebi Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 1:39pm
post #5 of 29

Is it 'rude' to apply for a job? icon_confused.gif I don't get it.

adven68 Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 4:18pm
post #6 of 29

Definitely have a portfoilio.....or, simply a page or two of some nice cakes you have done stapled to your contact info or resume with experience .

While preparing to open my shop, I have had numerous requests for employment. I would not consider anyone without knowing what they are capable of because, ultimately, it's my name on the cake.

Although I am not hiring at the moment, i am holding on to all the info of the possible employees for the future....and, no, it's not rude to inquire.
hope that helps...

meegz Posted 20 Dec 2009 , 11:21pm
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Quote:

Is it 'rude' to apply for a job? I don't get it.




I just mean, they've just opened and I am far from professional level... And, they aren't advertising a position and I've never worked in cake decorating. That sure is a lot of ands!

I just thought it might be a bit pushy, to breeze on in with my limited skills and convince them they need me!!! icon_lol.gif

Adven68 (or anyone else!)-
Any particular things you liked/disliked seeing in the portfolio? I was thinking a fondant cake, a teired cake, maybe a chocolate wrap or something?

wespam Posted 22 Dec 2009 , 12:57pm
post #8 of 29

I own a small shop and I get walkins who are looking for a job pretty often. While some have experience most do not and want to just do my dishes. I'm not looking for someone who needs a job. It's most important to me how quick you can pick things up since I have my way of doing everything and how willing you are to go the extra mile on the mundane chores like cleaning up and sweeping. Also how willing you are to practice at home or come into the shop and just watch or pitch in when your not officially on the clock. Another words a passion just like I have. I have yet to find that perfect fit. Pam from Bama

CeeTee Posted 22 Dec 2009 , 8:30pm
post #9 of 29

It's a hard call. Since they are a new shop, they might be in need of help but haven't gotten around to advertising it yet. But, they could also still be settling in and not sure if they need anyone else and might be cheesed off at someone "breezing in". There are some store owners out there who do get ticked off when you ask if they are hiring and they don't have a "Hiring" notice out.

I speak from experience. >_> Long time ago when I was in college I inquired to the owner of a small boutique about if they might be hiring, and the guy responded along the lines of "If I was hiring I'd be advertising, and I wouldn't hire someone right off the street anyway". He was really, really rude about it. icon_sad.gif Ever since I only asked at places which have had 'Now Hiring' signs out or that I found via classifieds/Job Ad places.

Not saying it won't work out for you! But, if it were me I'd go in first and get a feel of the place and the people who already work there. Ask a couple of casual questions, and then see if they might be open to the idea of you bringing in a portfolio. Might be a little better doing it that way. (Or I'm just a chicken LOL )

Stefy Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 4:54pm
post #10 of 29

I'd say go for it - networking is always good. Go in with your portfolio so they have something they can remember you by!!

joenshan Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 5:34pm
post #11 of 29

Absolutely do this. Personally, when someone is ambitous (without being obnoxious), it suggests to me that they are a hard worker.

In addition, I'd much rather have someone that shows they want to work for me, not someone just responding to help wanted signs. Its quite possible that they don't know what help they need yet, but when they do, won't it be so easy to pick up your resume and call you??

bobwonderbuns Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 5:44pm
post #12 of 29

Just be prepared for whatever they throw at you. I have an extensive portfolio and I applied at a local bakery and was told I have "no talent." icon_confused.gif Nice. Another bakery wouldn't hire be because "you're going to steal all our secrets and start your own bakery." icon_eek.gif Honey, if I wanted to own my own bakery, I would already! icon_confused.gif So just be prepared. Some people have adverse affects from sniffing the powdered sugar all day... icon_rolleyes.gif

CeeTee Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:06pm
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by joenshan

Absolutely do this. Personally, when someone is ambitous (without being obnoxious), it suggests to me that they are a hard worker.

In addition, I'd much rather have someone that shows they want to work for me, not someone just responding to help wanted signs. Its quite possible that they don't know what help they need yet, but when they do, won't it be so easy to pick up your resume and call you??




The flip side is that walking into a new bakery with a portfolio in hand can reek of desperation and/or arrogance, especially considering the state of the current job market.

indydebi Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:13pm
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeeTee

The flip side is that walking into a new bakery with a portfolio in hand can reek of desperation and/or arrogance, especially considering the state of the current job market.


I'd have walkins all the time and never ever once did I consider them desperate or arrogant. Many were just the "are ya hirin'?" kind but once in awhile I'd get a person who had some actually cake skills. I'd take much more time talking to them, even tho' I wasn't hiring at the time. You never know when I'd need someone.

I say someone walking in with a portfolio isn't deperate or arrogant, but are organized and confident with the knowledge that they definitely have some skills to offer. MUCH different from the person who walks in on a whim because "I like to cook!"

joenshan Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:13pm
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeeTee

Quote:
Originally Posted by joenshan

Absolutely do this. Personally, when someone is ambitous (without being obnoxious), it suggests to me that they are a hard worker.

In addition, I'd much rather have someone that shows they want to work for me, not someone just responding to help wanted signs. Its quite possible that they don't know what help they need yet, but when they do, won't it be so easy to pick up your resume and call you??



The flip side is that walking into a new bakery with a portfolio in hand can reek of desperation and/or arrogance, especially considering the state of the current job market.




Yes, I guess people perceive these things differently. If I owned the shop, I would be very receptive to someone showing interest in working for me.

bobwonderbuns Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:29pm
post #16 of 29

Be prepared to do an onsite test -- I've had bakeries pull out a 6 inch cake and buttercream and say "decorate it." So it helps if you have some confidence in your basic skills.

CeeTee Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:36pm
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


I say someone walking in with a portfolio isn't deperate or arrogant, but are organized and confident with the knowledge that they definitely have some skills to offer. MUCH different from the person who walks in on a whim because "I like to cook!"




Yet not every owner has the same mindset you do. One man's Confidence is another man's Arrogance.

The OP does not know for sure what the bakery is looking for or if they are even hiring. Going in and asking a couple of questions about hiring first to get a feel of what they are looking for is much different than "breezing in" (OP's words, not mine) with a portfolio looking as if you are expecting a job interview on the spot.

I'm just saying if it were me, I'd not go in with my portfolio first thing.

indydebi Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:52pm
post #18 of 29

CeeTee, I totally see where you're coming from.

I think in cake-world, a photo portfolio is our cake-resume. No one is considered arrogant or over-confident if they walk into any business and ask "Are you hiring? Can I leave a resume?"

Now I"m not saying to carry around a big 3-ring binder filled with photos, but to have a couple or three samples of your work, to be able to present if the situation merits it, ("I happen to have some samples with me, if you'd like to see them.") is not out of line. If one walks in, asks, "are you hiring?" and is told 'no', then the portfolio isn't presented and one leaves.

I dont' think anyone is saying walk in and shove the photos under their nose.

But to cite your words of "considering the state of the current job market", it would make sense that we'd see more and more people job hunting.

That doesnt' make them desperate or arrogant.

JustToEatCake Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 7:17pm
post #19 of 29

How about going in and inquiring and telling them you have some pictures of recent cakes you've made portfolio if they are interested in seeing it? And if they say they aren't hiring I'd say something like "Well I I know you are just opening but hope your business is very successful here and if that happens and you need someone to help out please keep me in mind". I always preface something like with a compliment, a true one though.

Don't volunteer to work for free!! They'll use and abuse you.


I just have to say something one of th PP said about working off the clock. No way, no how would I (talk about illegal). If someone has a passion for anything they can work on their passion on their own in their own way, helping "the boss" make more money isn't necessary.

artscallion Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 7:44pm
post #20 of 29

I think that if someone is of the type that misinterprets confidence as arrogance, you probably don't want them as your boss anyway. I say grab your portfolio, go down there and take a chance. Maybe you'll find someone who appreciates confidence for the asset it is. Or maybe you'll find out it's not the place for you after all.

My guiding principle in life has always been, "ya don't ask, ya don't get."

KHalstead Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 7:58pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by meegz

Quote:
Quote:

Is it 'rude' to apply for a job? I don't get it.



I just mean, they've just opened and I am far from professional level... And, they aren't advertising a position and I've never worked in cake decorating. That sure is a lot of ands!

I just thought it might be a bit pushy, to breeze on in with my limited skills and convince them they need me!!! icon_lol.gif




Just wanted to tell you a little story: My DH and I moved from NJ to Ohio and he lost his job shortly after (he was working via the internet at his old job in NJ still) when he was looking for a new job (computer field) he did a google search of EVERY company in a 50 mile radius of our house that had a position (not an open position, just a position) in his field and sent them ALL his resume!!! They didn't advertise, he just sent them and don't you know....landed him a job. Turns out a company was so impressed with his resume they called him in to interview (even though they weren't hiring) and nearly 9 months later the position opened up and they thought of HIM before ever advertising the position. Granted they didn't hire him immediately because they didn't need him imediately.....but you never know who might be hanging on to your portfolio for future reference.
Even something as simple as "graduation season" when they get SO busy they can't handle it, they may give you a call!?

meegz Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 10:53pm
post #22 of 29

Thanks for all the replies - seems everyone would receive something like this differently! icon_smile.gif

Do you think mailing a letter and portfolio (like your DH KHalstead!) would be a better solution? Something along the lines of; 'I didn't want to take too much of your time but if ever you are looking for help, here are a few samples for you to view at your leisure'

kakeladi Posted 24 Dec 2009 , 2:09am
post #23 of 29

..............Don't volunteer to work for free!! They'll use and abuse you. ............

When I had my shop my insurance and the IRS forbid having anyone work as an independent contractor OR 'for free'. If they put in more than 4 hours they HAD to be hired and be paid. Then my insurance rate went sky high icon_sad.gif

cownsj Posted 24 Dec 2009 , 3:05am
post #24 of 29

I'd go in rather than mail the resume. If you go in they have a face to match with the paperwork. Plus, they will have a feel for your personality which can go a long way. If they aren't hiring, just stop in periodically, maybe buy something, make some small talk...... in other words, get to know them. It's always easier for them to reach out for someone who they have gotten to know and like and who they know is dedicated enough to their business they will stop in. And, if you would be willing to work on an "as needed basis", be sure to let them know that as well. I would think that if they have a busy time and just need some temporary extra help and know you are agreeable to that, they'd call quickly. The more time you get with them, the more you can show off your skills, the better chance you'd have of getting a permanent position when they need someone for that. Good luck. Don't be nervous about going in.

indydebi Posted 24 Dec 2009 , 3:18am
post #25 of 29

since moving to Indy, and experiencing 2 downsizings, I've been in the job market a few times.

Found every job by just emailing a resume. THe only face-to-face resume placement I ever did was when I worked thru a temp agency .... I let them look for the jobs for me. thumbs_up.gif

I found a perfect part-time job since closing the shop. I was needing something that would work around a school schedule. I got a case of insomnia, so at 3:30 a.m. I emailed my resume to a hotel just 3 minutes from my house. They called the next day and I went in for an interview. Waited about 2 days to make sure I passed their drug/background check and I got the job.

If you read the help-wanted ads, most of them (at least in my area) specifically request the resume be mailed or emailed .... no walk-in's please.

Yet many places don't advertise open positions, so unless you walk-in (via your own footpower or via email), you'll never even get the opportunity for the interview.

My point is that after being in the "corporate America" circle since I was 14, I am amused at all of the books/articles on "the right way to find a job" that I've seen. There is no sure fire trick-of-the-trade simply because there are too many different personalities doing the hiring. It's crazy-making for the job hunter. Advice that works for one employer is the kiss of death with another.

chikadodle Posted 24 Dec 2009 , 4:10am
post #26 of 29

Personally, my vote is to go into the shop with your resume and portfolio. It definitely helps to see a person and speak with them to get an understanding of personality and how well you might work together. You never know, you might even decide it's not the right place for you.

Like cownsj said, it's also a good idea to make yourself known in the bakery as a customer. That's actually how I ended up with my bakery! I was a customer there (they had the best coffee in town!) and became a regular. A few years later, , the owners decided to sell and knowing I was a pastry chef, asked if I knew anyone interested in buying. Lucky break for me! That was definitely an unexpected opportunity that I would probably not have had had I not been a customer. It doesn't hurt to be a familiar face.

Also, networking is a helpful way to get your name out there. Maybe the shop owners don't need help but know someone else who does. If you go in there prepared and organized, you're off to a good start. Good luck!

keflyn Posted 24 Dec 2009 , 4:23am
post #27 of 29

I think you should go in, but instead of leaving a full-blown portfolio, leave a few of your best pieces (3-4) and give them this website address

carbonmade . com go on, sign up, it's free, it's an online portfolio site then you can give them the link to yours. here's mine if you want to see what the site looks like
kfield . carbonmade . com
you can have different projects for in your case buttercream, fondant, or whatever you do, and a total of like 100 some odd images for free. the site is very user friendly...just an idea though, but that's what my ad design teacher said to do and its worked for us "leave the best give a link to the rest"....

meegz Posted 25 Dec 2009 , 11:14pm
post #28 of 29

Thanks everyone, I'm getting some great advice here!!!

I think I might go in for a look, ask how business is and go from there! icon_smile.gif

That portfolio website looks great keflyn, thanks for the link!!!!

JenniferMI Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 2:38pm
post #29 of 29

I think you should go for it!

Jen icon_smile.gif

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