Juan Asked Me How to Write a Resume, This is What I Learned…

I recently started tutoring a line cook who, in over 10 years, has not achieved proficiency in English. We learn vocabulary, practice reading, complete assignments, and figure out what knowledge will serve him in the near future. Yesterday I learned that he did not know how to navigate the internet or use his new laptop.

I asked him, “Why do you have a laptop?”

“Solo para tenerla,” he replied. Just to have it, he said. He had no intention of using this resource. “Traela mañana.” Bring it tomorrow.

He brought it in its original box.
He brought it in its original box.

Today we spent our tutoring time in the following topics:

1) Email: Yahoo login, attaching documents, adding contacts
2) YouTube: Setting up a Google account since Google owns everything, saving videos, accessing Khan Academy
3) Touch Typing: I set him up with a free account on a touch typing site
4) Cooking Sites/ Shows: As an aspiring chef he wanted to know where people got ideas for new dishes
5) Resumes: He is hungry for new opportunities. That is why we are working together to build a foundation for his English proficiency so he can be head chef someday

We started on a beautiful template on his Mac and as his objective I wrote “Aspiring Head Chef.” His immediate reaction was to discard it. He said that he couldn’t, he didn’t have the skills and that he needed to do certain things before he could get there. Confused, I told him, “If you want the same job that you currently have, then why the hell do you need a resume? If you don’t believe that you can do the job, then why should somebody bet on you with their money?”
-He nodded slowly-
-“What skills do you have?”
-He said, “Cosas basicas. No mucho.” Basic stuff. Not much. Again, I was baffled.
-“Pero me dijiste que tus jefes querían promoverte. ¿Que razones te dieron?” But you told me that your bosses wanted to promote you. What reasons did they give you?
Good presentation on the plate. Punctual. Responsible. Fast Preparation.
-Okay, ¿que te falta? What are you missing? 
Being more involved in the business. More numbers. Better English. Recipes.
This is why you have to say “Aspiring Head Chef.” You are never going to get the guidance and opportunities you need if you don’t ask for it. You have to go to someone and say, ‘If you hire me and show me how your business works I’m going to work to make your life easier, you’re going to have more free time for your family, less stress and a successful operation in your hands.’ Nadie va a creer en ti si tú no crees en ti mismo.” Nobody will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.**

Today I learned a lot about taking charge of your destiny (Gracias, Juan):
1) If you think you have nothing to offer, then don’t bother. You probably don’t know how to maximize your human capital to serve you, much less other people. Very few people think so little of themselves or care so little about anything. Dig deep.
2) If you know you have something to offer but don’t know what it is, then ask someone who would know: your boss, your friends, your family and peers.
3) If you know where you want to go but think you are simply not ready, then quantify your level of readiness. What are the steps that will get you there? Are they essential? In Juan’s case I think learning English is essential so we soldier on.
4) Fulfill your employer’s dream. For most this is maximizing profits. For all this is maximizing profits with the least effort on their part. Become that employee that makes their dreams come true and they will help you achieve yours.
5) Write a resume for the job you want, not the job you have. This one is kind of obvious since every career “expert” and their grandmother says it, but it can be tricky bridging the landscape of your past to your future. Juan needs to stop writing Line Cook at the top and needs to start writing Chef. Otherwise the Line Cook jobs will keep on lining up. Weak pun intended.
6) The internet knows all. I already knew that, but it was really interesting showing a new user the wonders of a free Google education.

** It’s very easy to give advice about being self-empowered, it’s less easy to live it. I saw a glimpse of myself in Juan’s self-sabotage. That is the beauty of helping others, it forces us to see through our own pile of steaming denial.

Go forth readers and good luck!
Leave me a comment on what you know about resume building. I shall pass the knowledge along.

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