Craft a better résumé with the new arm of Getchusomegear, and check out some expert advice for your next job application.
BY MARK VAN STREEFKERK
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Chris Mcauley
This has been a busy year for Getchusomegear, a grassroots service that relies on donations to get coffee gear and brewing equipment to marginally identified baristas who ask for them. Started last year by Chris Mcauley, the North Carolina-based project has expanded to include more volunteers, including supporters in Canada and coffee educators Cydni Patterson and Erica Jackson. Chris and Cydni led the discussion “Race, Specialty Coffee, & the Urgent Need for Progress” at this year’s virtual Re:co Symposium. The team also surpassed their GoFundMe goal to help their journey earn nonprofit status. (Since Getchusomegear has exceeded their goal, Chris says, “In lieu of donations to us, folks should consider donating to Food Not Bombs 919.”)
As a continuation of Getchusomegear’s mission to promote inclusivity and access among LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and other marginally identified groups in coffee, they partnered with longtime supporter and writer Sally Parlier to launch Getchuajob in July. The free résumé proofreading service is available to LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, or other marginally identified coffee workers. Read on to find out more about the service, which you can access here, as well as some tips for your next résumé or cover letter, including how to navigate name or pronoun changes in your job search.
Sally is a self-described “recovering coffee professional” who was a tutor for the Appalachian State University writing center while working on her English degree. She has also been a barista, café manager, and brand ambassador, and now works at a food co-op. She says what really honed her résumé skills was working in a management position. “A writer has to understand their audience, and becoming a manager gave me a new perspective on the time constraints and concerns a person has when recruiting new employees,” she says.
Sally clarifies Getchuajob isn’t a service that writes résumés, but it acts as an editorial eye that can make edits and provide feedback. “I read over the materials, doing line edits and proofreading, and offer suggestions on how to better communicate [the applicant’s] experience. Depending on what the person wants, we either work on a generic résumé that can be adapted to different kinds of job searches, or we can focus on materials for a specific job opportunity.”
We asked Sally, Chris, and Iaisha Munnerlyn, coffee pro and store manager for NYC-based Variety Coffee Roasters, for some general résumé advice, as well as common mistakes to avoid. Some of their responses have been edited and condensed.
- Commit to parallel structure. Being consistent in the way you format your résumé and express your experience brings clarity and balance to your writing.
- Use keywords. Mirror language from the job description, finding ways to include verbatim specific titles or skills. Iaisha points out that job search websites like Indeed go so far as to filter out résumés that do not include enough words that match with the job posting.
- Ask someone to read it before sending it out. Whether it’s a service like Getchuajob or a trusted friend, having another set of eyes on your writing always helps you avoid potential pitfalls.
Some common mistakes to avoid:
- Very long résumés that provide paragraphs of description and go more than a single page. A résumé should be an easy-to-read list of your experience. Hit the bullet points and save the details either for the cover letter or the interview. This is where knowing your audience comes into play. We all have a basic idea of what [being a barista] means. But were you a barista at a particularly high-volume shop? Did you receive specialized training or certifications? Consider what makes you unique and the best way to highlight that.
- Significant time gaps between jobs or jobs held for a short duration. Right now, with COVID-19, a lot of people are going to have periods of unemployment. Some people may have gaps for other reasons, like taking time off to care for family or themselves. Some people may have only held a job for a short duration because it turned out to be a bad fit or an unstable environment. None of these is going to kill your chances for getting a job, but it’s important to show that you are able to make an extended commitment to some sort of responsibility. Are you an artist who occasionally sells work at pop-up markets? Great, you’re self-employed—include that! Do you volunteer weekly at a food pantry? Amazing, you’re consistent and altruistic—let them know!
- Incorrect contact information. It seems silly, but a surprising number of people mistype their email address or phone number and miss out on interview opportunities.
Notes about names:
You can put your preferred name on your résumé. It’s usually only necessary to share your legal name for new hire paperwork or background checks. Pronouns can be included in your contact information. If your name or pronouns are different from what you previously went by, know that you can use any trusted person from a former company as a reference. If you experienced pushback for your identity from a manager, for example, you can list a supportive shift lead or even a co-worker as a reference.
Research Your Potential Employers
The Getchuajob team also encourages applicants to research a company before applying. See if you can connect with someone who has worked there, or read online reviews. “If you get to the interview stage, remember that you’re interviewing the company as well,” Sally says. “It can be scary to assert yourself when you’re in a situation where you really need a job, but asking the potential employer hard questions or navigating difficult conversations about how they practice inclusion can help you preserve your well-being in the future.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Van Streefkerk is Barista Magazine’s social media content developer and a frequent contributor. He is also a freelance writer, social media manager, and novelist based out of Seattle. If Mark isn’t writing, he’s probably biking to his favorite vegan restaurant. Find out more on his website.