Case Studies

Case Studies

It happens almost every time I down with a client. I’ll usually start by asking questions about their specific achievements that helped employers. But they usually reply, “I really didn’t do all that much.” After asking a few more questions, however, I invariably discover that my clients have accomplished far more than they’ve told me. 

Why does this happen?

First, there is that “Don’t boast!” command our parents drummed into our heads when we were children. 

Second, the way our memories work also contributes to the problem. Because we do our jobs on a daily basis, our memories classify what we do and how we do it among many other “routine” events. But when someone asks us about our professional achievements, we search the “significant” box in our memories rather than the “routine” box – and we find little or nothing there.

And third, we don’t know how to open our routine box and identify achievements.

Consequently, we find it hard to write powerfully persuasive resumes.

Asking the right questions makes all the difference 

My father was a network TV journalist and foreign correspondent. Growing up, I saw him interview many people, and I developed something like his ability to spot the missing details in a story, and then ask the questions that draw them out.

Combine that skill with my extensive business background in financial oversight, purchasing, and sales and it’s no wonder that I regularly come up with questions that get behind my clients’ memory blocks and uncover their significant achievements. Here are two examples from my case files that illustrate the critical difference my questions can make for your resume.

The first client

This young lady was a marketing graduate who wanted a position in high-end hotel marketing or public relations. She was very worried about her situation because she had no experience in either of her desired fields; her only work experience was a couple of part time jobs. But as I talked with her, I quickly realized that she’d forgotten a few things. The key part of the conversation went like this:

“Did you ever put on, or help put on, any kind of event.”

“Well, I helped with a couple of conferences in Beijing, and I ran an art exhibition in Athens.”

“Tell me about the conferences.”


“Um . . . some importers from country X wanted to import Chinese goods to X, and some exporters from X wanted to export their goods to China.”


“So what did you do at the conferences?”


“Set up the PowerPoint, got the food and set up the chairs.”

“And the art exhibit?”


“Ah . . . the idea was to introduce the Greek arts community in Athens to some major painters from X.”


“So this reception, was it an official X-embassy sponsored event?”


“Yes, it was.”


“And what did you do?”

“I booked the gallery, hired the caterer and the wine merchant. Then, I helped the artists hang their paintings and I also acted as hostess on opening night.”

“So how did you get this job?”

“I got it because my father was the Ambassador to Greece from Country X.      

Oh. And did he say anything to you after it was all over?”

“Yes. He said: ‘Well done.'”

With that, I knew I had what I needed to make this client’s resume effective – and she later received five interview calls in less than three weeks.

The Second Client

This client was a veteran project manager and technical executive who planned to apply for a C-level opening at one of Canada’s largest and best-run companies. He came to me because he wanted to stand out from the other applicants. One of the biggest improvements we made to his resume came out of this exchange:

“You are an engineer and you manage projects. On projects, things sometimes go wrong, and therefore you, the leader, have to manage the crisis and solve the problem. So did this ever happen to you in a major way? Did a situation arise that threatened to derail completion of a big project? For instance, a subcontractor bailing out?”

His jaw literally dropped, and he asked, “How did you know about that?” (I’d seen the same thing happen a few years earlier while working for an engineering firm.)

After I explained, he said:

“We were building the signaling system for a new line in one of the world’s top five subway systems. The new system not only included new features, but it also had to be integrated with the old system. The interfacing component of the two systems had been subcontracted, and right before the deadline the subcontractor called and told me they couldn’t deliver the component. Without that component, the new system wouldn’t work. So I had to design and make the component on short notice – which I did.”

“And what happened?”

“We met our deadline: the system integrated perfectly with the old system. As a result, my employer won additional contracts worth hundreds of millions.”

Three days after submitting his resume, my client was called for his interview.

What you get when I prepare your resume package

     * A free consultation.
     * A 1-hour – or longer – interview with me.
     * Drafts of your resume and cover letter within 48 hours (usually it’s only 24 hours).
     * An unlimited amount of time with me to review these drafts.
     * Second revisions of your resume and cover letter for you to review within one business day.
     * Copies of your customized resume documents in the formats you need.

In addition, if you need to get up and running on LinkedIn, I can help you in several ways. First, I’ll rework your resume into a dynamic LinkedIn page. Next, I’ll also show you how to use LinkedIn to uncover and research potential job openings – and increase your professional visibility. Third, I’ll help you keep up with the latest developments in your field – yet without investing too much time in the process. (Just call 604-418-7094 or 1-800-514-6208 for the details.)

And to sum up, you’ll also get results, including:

Winning more interviews, faster.

Showing yourself a far stronger candidate in those interviews.

And knowing how to follow up your interviews for maximum impact.   

Most importantly, I guarantee that your job search will be much shorter and more productive.

To thank you for using my resume writing services, I’ll show you how to find and approach potential employers who haven’t advertised yet.

Next, I’ll also show you how to prepare for an interviewer who plays the “Trick Questions” game – although I don’t make you memorize the best responses to 500 questions. 

Instead, as a final bonus, I’ll introduce you to a surprising way to turn an interview tradition to your advantage and really impress your interviewer. (I know of at least one occasion where following this approach produced an on-the-spot job offer.)

Incidentally, if you want to give yourself the luxury of a second thought before you try it, this approach is equally effective in a follow-up letter.

Your satisfaction is guaranteed
– because I’m not done writing your resume until you start getting job interviews

That’s right.

I insist that my resume must produce interviews for you, or I’ll keep rewriting it until it does. In fact, I guarantee that you’ll get more interviews with my resume than you’re getting now. (And you can also discover just how big a difference that promise can make for you by clicking on the Resume Costs page. You’ll be glad you did!)  

So what are you waiting for?

You know you need a resume that makes interviews happen if you want to win your dream job in today’s tight job market.

You know you need an edge over all the other high-powered applicants who also want that job.

Let me be your edge.

Call today for your free consultation.

To your success!

Tim Cunningham, CPRW
Principal Writer,
Fast & Focused Resume Service