Real Job Seeker: Ordinary to Extraordinary!


I had a very illustrative series of communications with a client recently that when it happened, I just KNEW I had to share with other job seekers, because these “real examples” can really help – and inspire- others, just like YOU.

(shared with client permission and made anonymous)

I’m going to call this client Joe.

Joe has a long and successful history in hospitality specifically, and customer service in related industries.

He’s *super good at* what he does and equally, I think, as importantly, he LOVES.IT.

The *passion* and *enthusiasm* for his profession simply RADIATES from what he writes to me in email.

He’s the one you hope & pray you get to answer your call or show up in person when you have some sort of issue as a customer/guest/client.

In messaging with him, it was CRYSTAL CLEAR he is the consummate positive, upbeat, experienced, “can do” and with a smile (and probably some little bonus extra) customer service professional (remember those?).

But not unlike most resumes I see, these very special qualities that are KEY to communicating what makes him STAND OUT from other applicants with similar backgrounds and hard skills  weren’t anywhere on his resume.

So when I sent him his personalized “Resume Research Question List” to extract examples of these unique qualities and specific, exemplary experiences that would differentiate him from others, I fully expected:

  1. To read all kinds of awesome stories and information in his answers and
  2.  To then have what I call the “happy problem” of having TOO MUCH great content to work with and use on the resume.


I KNEW it was there.


But what I got back in his first rounds of answers to the Question List instead, really surprised me.

And I say this next bit with all respect, not criticism. The answers were sorta plain, short, and lackluster.

They didn’t at all show me what I 100% KNEW (not believed or assumed – I KNEW) he had to share that would illustrate just how awesome “Joe” is at his job, that I could translate onto his resume.

Let me show you. This is the actual top of the first page of every Resume Research Question List I sent to every client:



And this, is a sample of one question I almost always ask, and his first reply answer:



HMMMM…. can you see what I mean? Not a lot to work with there, even though I feel I’m very specific about what I’m looking for, and give several ideas/examples of what any given client might have or be able to find to share.


What happened?? Where was what I KNEW he had to tell me??


I don’t actually know. I’m GUESSING that he was doing what SO many of my clients have done over all these years: they are being “notoriously modest”, and don’t really understand how exceptional they are, because to them, maybe to YOU, it’s just their normal “MO”.


This wasn’t the first time this has happened with clients’ answers. Everyone reads things, interprets the questions, and responds differently. I know this by now.


I also know that often, if I poke and prod and ask again, sometimes in a different way, sometimes just asking again, I often get something back the 2nd time that is better, that I can really use to help their resume grab attention.


So I emailed him back:

Hi Joe- I have some follow up questions for you, as I mentioned I might.
I’m wondering right now if you might either remember or have ability to check old performance evaluations, if you ever got a positive comment card from a guest, and find any specific quotes/feedback, compliments, thank you’s, that sort of thing (even verbally counts!),  from either managers and/or customers/guests about you.
It could be about how you helped them or made them feel with your assistance, things you excel at doing, this sort of thing. Direct quotes can sometimes be used on resumes, and/or are great for cover letters or LI profiles, too.
Sometimes it might be something you did to avert a disaster, even, and what you managed to avoid happening is the accomplishment to make note of!
Just curious if you can think of or find anything like this. With people focused, service focused roles, this is a way to “prove” you are exceptional, this feedback illustrates your vital “soft skills”, (whereas for example a sales person has sales statistics, hard numbers) (very different things) I hope that makes sense.
Let me know if you think of or find anything & send to me, thanks!





Awesome! I can TOTALLY WORK WITH JUST THAT. And it would have definitely spruced up his resume enough to make me happy enough.


BUT…. as I kept reading, there was THIS TOO (and keep in mind, these screen shots are just a FEW SAMPLES of what he sent me the 2nd time around!!!)



There were screen shots of several Recognition Awards he’d won, too, and much more in his job evaluation than I’m sharing here.




I got EVEN MORE than I ALREADY intuitively KNEW he had to share, that for some reason, he, like many of you, didn’t think to

  1. put on his original resumes over the years
  2. share with ME, his resume writer, even when asked and
  3. his FIRST resume writer a couple years ago didn’t get out of him either


THIS STUFF is what it takes to go from “average”, a mediocre, lack luster resume

that ISN’T going to grab a reader’s attention

to standing out as the EXCEPTIONAL professional YOU ARE.


I hope this illustration helps YOU “reclaim your job search mojo” as I say here at Resume Confidence!