Applying For A Decorators Job

Business By annabanana183 Updated 22 Dec 2010 , 6:20pm by Annabakescakes

annabanana183 Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 8:18am
post #1 of 28

So I have been baking and decorating cakes for a while now and love it : ) today I saw that the bakery down the road from my house is looking for a decorator,,yaayy: )
I am thinking of applying but don't know what to put on a decorators CV,, or should I just give my normal CV and a few pictures of my cakes ,, what do you guys suggest.
If you were applying what would you say and If you were hiring what do you look for..
Thanks in advance

27 replies
-K8memphis Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 2:50pm
post #2 of 28

I don't know what a CV is.

Often the work they need done is the grunt work of caking--perhaps filling and frosting and setting up for other decorator/s. Doing cakes from photos and are exactly planned out already and you follow the plan.

Then as time goes on and you can prove that you can get the work out -- then you might get some creative license within bounds.

So I'm just saying it probably ain't Ace of Cakes. And 99% of the time the bakery is taking a chance on a home baker. It's a gamble for them that they often loose.

Wanna know a little secret? As home cakers we often laugh about grocery store cakes--Commercial bakers laugh about how slow & inefficient home cakers are--how they can't cut it in the real world. Two way street.

Home cakers often ~and I'm not saying you~ but often have so much ego wrapped up in their work that if they don't get enough strokes and endless time for thier work they whine and pout become overwhelmed and offended.

You want to prove you are worth them taking a chance on you.

I guess the biggest thing is to find out the job requirements and see if you can handle that and can convince them you are willing to work into it.

Whoever wants to can take offense (as I stated above) But them's the hard knocks of landing and keeping a commercial decorating gig.

cownsj Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 3:16pm
post #3 of 28

Take offense? Actually, I think you did a great job of pointing out both sides of the situation here. And it's very helpful to know some of the perspective of each and what it will take to be able to move from home baker into the business world of it. If people notice, when they watch Cake Boss, there is a "staple" fondant cake that is always in his cases up front, the one with the large fun flowers on it. Better to help someone be grounded and know the straight truth than to be disillusioned. I think you answered that very well. And I don't know what a CV either, but would like to know.

Dayti Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 3:21pm
post #4 of 28

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a resumé.
I would tailor your CV to show what you have done with cakes, any fairs or shows you have been in, prizes you might have won and so forth. Explain how long you have been caking, who your customers are generally. But they will still want to see where you went to school and all the other normal stuff you have on the CV already.
You can take photos of your work to them, maybe arrange small pictures on one sheet and print the same size as your CV, and clip it to your CV.
You can go into more detail at an interview, and they might ask you to demonstrate what you can do, or you could offer if they don't ask.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 3:59pm
post #5 of 28

Dayti has some great points.

I would be very careful about how much success you report. The 'both sides' that I presented upthread are valid. That you won contests means you would be farther from the worker they need--see what I mean. Watch the egos--they are everywhere.

If you are hiring in as the lone decorator--go for it--otherwise if you are to be part of a team I'd for sure keep the ribbons & awards to myself.

What's important is to find out what they need. Not to try & impress them as we home cakers like to do unless you are hiring in as head decorator. In either case you need to show how much you can do in the least amount of time possible.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 4:00pm
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

Take offense? Actually, I think you did a great job of pointing out both sides of the situation here. And it's very helpful to know some of the perspective of each and what it will take to be able to move from home baker into the business world of it. If people notice, when they watch , there is a "staple" fondant cake that is always in his cases up front, the one with the large fun flowers on it. Better to help someone be grounded and know the straight truth than to be disillusioned. I think you answered that very well. And I don't know what a CV either, but would like to know.




Thank you, CakeBuddy.

annabanana183 Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 6:05pm
post #7 of 28

-K8memphis This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, honest and straight up .
It takes me days to finish one cake, I cant imagine that being cost effective in the real bakery world. I know I wont really have creative independence but I think it would be a good step to figuring out how does the industry work.
I think It would be a better first step towards a possible cake business in the future.. 'u think..
thx Dayti I'll keep all the points in mind ,

Although no prizes for me yet , I mostly bake for my kids or their friends
icon_smile.gif

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 10:41pm
post #8 of 28

Hit the nail on the head K8! I work in a grocery store bakery right now and just the other day I had someone come up to ask about getting a job there. I said we weren't actively hiring but they're always welcome to fill out an application. She then asked if we required experience and I said we didn't, we would train. She said, "Oh, because I've done a couple cakes before and I think it would just be so much fun to do this!"

tapedshut.gif

I just kinda smiled and said "It's A LOT of work! But feel free to fill out an application!"

Yes, commercial bakeries are all about how many cakes can you do, not how cute you can make a cake.

mpetty Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 11:12pm
post #9 of 28

K8 and Rose_N_Crantz, you bring up the important conundrum of speed - as a hobby decorator, I don't have the kind of speed one needs in a bakery, and probably won't have it unless I actually work in a bakery. Do the bakeries generally expect that speed will develop with an entry level position? I realize you can't be completely slow-as-molasses to start with, but LOL right now I can only dream of making a bc rose as quickly as my friend the former bakery employee.

-K8memphis Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 12:15am
post #10 of 28

I don't know it's just like any other job. You can't get it without experience but you can't get experience if no one hires you. But for this you could practice at home too. I think they figure it should develop quickly.

playingwithsugar Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 12:35am
post #11 of 28

Lack of speed is the biggest gripe we read about when the home baker applies for, and gets, a job in a bakery. And it often causes the home baker to quit the job after a few days.

Another option is to ask if you can apprentice with them for a couple of weeks, to see if you can perform at their pace? That way you can have a test run and get some OTJ experience, while they'd be getting a couple of weeks of free labor. It's a win-win, unless you really need a paying job.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Unlimited Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 1:19am
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by annabanana183

I am thinking of applying but don't know what to put on a decorators CV,, or should I just give my normal CV and a few pictures of my cakes ,, what do you guys suggest.
If you were applying what would you say and If you were hiring what do you look for..




I think if you wanted to attach a one-page collage of your favorite cake photos it might help to showcase your talents to the curious owner or manager that may review it. If you get an interview, I wouldn't plan on bringing an entire portfolio unless they ask for it. (A small bakery or custom shop might be interested, but most large production bakeries would rather see what you can do for them on the spot rather than what you can do on your own time at home.)

I'd let them know that you're not stuck on your own ways, that you're willing and excited to learn the techniques of their training ways. You'll learn a lot all at once, and it doesn't take long before your speed picks up by using their helpful methods. Have fun and good luck!

mpetty Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 2:42am
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Lack of speed is the biggest gripe we read about when the home baker applies for, and gets, a job in a bakery. And it often causes the home baker to quit the job after a few days.




LOL, I happened to watch The Next Great Baker tonight and what a coincidence, the challenge was how fast the teams could decorate a cake! Buddy showed them what he wanted by decorating a cake first...in about 5 minutes! It was amazing to see how fast he worked. The girls' team won, but it took them over 26 minutes.

I actually do need a paying job, but if it takes a 2 week unpaid apprenticeship to crack open the door, I'd be happy to do that too. Personally I'm hoping for that next year, we'll see what happ ns. Good luck to the OP; let us know how it goes. icon_biggrin.gif

annabanana183 Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 5:12am
post #14 of 28

thanks everyone for the tips and advice, I dropped my resume today,, lets see if I hear back from them,, : )

cownsj Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 4:34pm
post #15 of 28

Good luck, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 4:49pm
post #16 of 28

I worked in a grocery bakery and developed a little speed, but then in a custom cakery where all the speed went out the window! We never did the same cake twice, so it was always a learning experience, every day, every cake. I hate the grocery store setting, cakes and set up. I hate bagging bread, and I HATE going into the freezer with my coat and gloves to dig down to the box of chocolate cake! But I hated the bad attitudes of the owner of the custom cakery, though I loved the work. I was slower than most in both places, lol. We had a lady at the grocery store that would crap out 60 (pre-iced, frozen) cakes an hour. She would open them all up and put them on racks, then line up 10 of them on the counter and just GO TO TOWN!!! It was gruesome to watch! No thinking, no rinsing the airbrush, no coordinating colors, no creativity. She'd make borders out of whatever tip was on the bag. She'd just squeeze the bag and drag it along, lol! If you think you can handle that, than go for it! It made me shudder! We would all package them for her. She would make a mess and have such shoddy work. But people bought them! I would get dizzy writing on them!

I hope you don't have to do this and wish you all the best!

BTW, I just told both places I had done cakes before and they both just had me prove it with some icing! No pictures, anybody can google "cake" and print out what they find.

BCo Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 5:21pm
post #17 of 28

Yes Custom Cakes and a grocery store bakery or bakery that turns out high volume are too different animals to me. I applied for a cake decorators job at a bakery and they were all about how fast you can do something and putting out sheet cakes, not my cup of tea so I actually declined the offer they gave me. I knew that wasn't the kind of environment I wanted to use my creativity for. I rather do the custom work of something different each day not can I get 50 prefrozen sheet cakes decorated in an hour. If you get the job you may learn to be faster so if that's what you're looking for then go for it but I wasn't looking to learn how to crank out premade sheet cakes for the masses. Ask yourself what you want to get out of it and if it's speed and learning fast paced production (if that's what they do) or is it new ideas/techniques and freedom to be creative. Whatever it is make sure it matches what they do or I think you may be disapointed and frustrated. I knew if I took that job that I would have quit before the week was over as well.....

cownsj Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 5:35pm
post #18 of 28

Anytime we go into our local supermarkets or Walmart, we have to go look at and critique the bakery cakes. We've had more than our share of giggles over some of what we have seen. But every now and then they do get someone who does a nice job of decorating their cakes. Unfortunately, those people never stay for very long at all. I don't know if the stores have decided they take too long to get the quality design they are putting out or if the people get frustrated and quit, or a combination of the two, but they never do seem to stay for more than a couple months, at most.

The_Caketress Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 5:55pm
post #19 of 28

From an employers point of view (for a high end custom bakery) I look at
1) Skills- how experienced and clean the persons work is.
2) Willingness to be trained a certain ay. Everyone has there own techniques and tricks but it's good to show eagerness to learn an execute the cakes to my standard an techniques.
3) Personality - working in a busy kitchen always requires a positive hard working individual.

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 6:34pm
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori_hutchcakes

From an employers point of view (for a high end custom bakery) I look at
1) Skills- how experienced and clean the persons work is.
2) Willingness to be trained a certain ay. Everyone has there own techniques and tricks but it's good to show eagerness to learn an execute the cakes to my standard an techniques.
3) Personality - working in a busy kitchen always requires a positive hard working individual.




Wow! Just checked out your website and I am so impressed! To keep the thread on topic, how much do you rely on an employee? How many of those large high end cakes can you do in a week and how much help do you get? Your place is the kind of place I would love to work, I HATED the grocery store!

BCo Posted 21 Dec 2010 , 6:53pm
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

I
Often the work they need done is the grunt work of caking--perhaps filling and frosting and setting up for other decorator/s. Doing cakes from photos and are exactly planned out already and you follow the plan.


Wanna know a little secret? As home cakers we often laugh about grocery store cakes--Commercial bakers laugh about how slow & inefficient home cakers are--how they can't cut it in the real world. Two way street.




I find both statements to be so true! You probably will learn from the ground up - and you may have your way of doing something and they have their way...guess what - they most likely want you to do it their way icon_smile.gif You have to be willing to be flexible and work how they want you to work, again, something I wasn't looking for, not that I'm not flexible but I just like to do things my way icon_rolleyes.gif

And very true about how grocery store cakes are looked at and how grocery store/high volume bakeries look at "custom cake and/or home bakers" They may be fast but I prefer to be more custom and spend more time on details and neatness (not saying they're not neat grocery store cakes out there but you can become limited when you're on a time constraint!) I have been told by friends who are "grocery store people" that I am on the slower side when it comes to whipping out sheetcakes (which I hate by the way and chose not to do them myself!) but then those people cannot/choose not to/do not want to make the Fondant cakes with the details at the level I do either...and they would be the first to tell you that! icon_biggrin.gif So it just depends on what you're looking for really.

-K8memphis Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 2:33pm
post #22 of 28

This is all so true--and some of us are can blend into both worlds which is pretty cool in and of itself. It's quite an accomplishment to be able to not only matchy match someone else's final product but also follow their procedures in different shops at different times.

Also I had a former retail (full blown) bakery owner and at the time head decorator say to me he had not the slightest notion how to do a cake from home.

<high five>

cownsj Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 2:54pm
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis


Also I had a former retail (full blown) bakery owner and at the time head decorator say to me he had not the slightest notion how to do a cake from home.

<high five>




That's very interesting. I would never have thought that!

Corrie76 Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:36pm
post #24 of 28

I worked as a decorator, for a large grocery chain bakery for 9 of the 15 years I was with them. Often, I found myself working alongside newbie decorators who just couldn't keep up the pace and did quit after a few days. My job was all about how much you could produce in a shift but also- multitasking was key.As a decorator, I sometimes fried donuts, baked and bagged bread, made announcements, rotate stock, enter the dreaded freezer to put away product etc..etc...
I can assure you that my job had little to do with creativity- in fact they were very clear on the fact that cakes had to be replicated from pictures and had to have exactly so many roses or so many ounces of topping, and yes cakes were weighed periodically to make sure I was using the least amount of icing possible.
After that job, I took a 5 year break from decorating and have finally returned to it this last couple years-I'm finally learning how to be creative-use decorating tips other than #22, #3 and #104 (those three comprized 90% of the tips available to use, lol) Also, I'm learning how to bake well and make icing (I never even knew how to make ANY sort of cake icing until this year, I just always scooped it out of a 5 gallon bucket!)
If I were you I would play up a willingness to multitask,ability to work as a team player and cleanliness of work. Even though my employer was able to amazingly remove all creativity from the job- I still learned so much from my time there, how to organize big projects, getting through tedious work without going nuts, how to fix flops (God forbid we ever threw cake away even if it was split down the middle or not cooperating with the icing).
Maybe the bakery you are applying at is not like this- but it's good to walk into this knowing the not so fun side. Good Luck! In todays economy, ANY job is awesome to have!

-K8memphis Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:42pm
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis


Also I had a former retail (full blown) bakery owner and at the time head decorator say to me he had not the slightest notion how to do a cake from home.

<high five>



That's very interesting. I would never have thought that!




Story-time!

That was a huge huge thought for me that he said that.

Years previous to that statement I was hired as a decorator at his former bakery that he sold, BakeryX. After a few years with the new guys, BakeryX closed that location and moved to a new place. When it moved, I started doing the wedding cake set up for American cakes (not the French ones).

After all that I came to work with this guy at Zbakery--behind my back he spread the rumor that I lied about my resume and that I did not do wedding cake setup "because Rosie did.". After a year at Zbakery he looked me straight in the face and said that to me.

However Rosie did not move with BakeryX and when it moved and that's when I started doing the wedding cake setup. Dude was so wrong for sliming me. It had been awful-- I had been stunningly shunned there and I did not know why. I just showed up, did my work and left.

Whatever.

Another time he said that I was not 'the baker' anywhere that I might have been a 'baker's helper' but not 'the' baker anywhere. I said, "I'd like to know who I was helping because I was the only one down there." (On another of my previous jobs he had a problem with)

So his eventually saying that to me that he'd be lost trying to do a cake at home was much bigger than it really appears because he was saying I had more experience than he did and he was right at last.

So when I mention egos I truly mean ego so big you literally cannot fit in the room with it. btdt

cownsj Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:54pm
post #26 of 28

That surely does not sound like a fun atmosphere to have to be working in. So I know how much nicer it must have been for you when he finally said that. Good for you. thumbs_up.gif

The_Caketress Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 4:00pm
post #27 of 28

[quote=
Wow! Just checked out your website and I am so impressed! To keep the thread on topic, how much do you rely on an employee? How many of those large high end cakes can you do in a week and how much help do you get? Your place is the kind of place I would love to work, I HATED the grocery store![/quote]

For me because I deal with detail oriented cakes, I rely on them to do alot to help out with the work I don't have time to do. As there skills build I trust them to do a little more decorating at a time. But to be honest if you like detailed custom cakes , it's almost best you start your own business.

Annabakescakes Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 6:20pm
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori_hutchcakes

[quote=
Wow! Just checked out your website and I am so impressed! To keep the thread on topic, how much do you rely on an employee? How many of those large high end cakes can you do in a week and how much help do you get? Your place is the kind of place I would love to work, I HATED the grocery store!




For me because I deal with detail oriented cakes, I rely on them to do alot to help out with the work I don't have time to do. As there skills build I trust them to do a little more decorating at a time. But to be honest if you like detailed custom cakes , it's almost best you start your own business.[/quote]

Exactly! I have been buying equipment for 3 years, a little at a time, when I have "extra" money. (Which isn't that often, as I have 4 kids!) We got a loan on my husbands 401K and we are starting putting in plumbing in the garage after Christmas! I am so thrilled to become legal, stop messing up my own kitchen, being able to advertise, and I HATED working in grocery stores. And there was a huge difference between the cleanliness and quality I want to offer, and the cleanliness and quality the custom bakery I worked at offered. There was so much face touching and spatula licking, cracked icing, wobbly edges and gaps!...Not to mention bad attitudes... Even though I will have my own place, I still would love to learn how you make your cakes so fabulous! I would love to take classes, but MAN are they ever high! I'd rather intern or have a job where I am learning and making money, rather than dishing it out.

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