Even If You Only Help 1 Person

He is an 8 year Army Airborne veteran with 145 jumps and received 4 promotions. Immediately after being discharged he started his modest culinary career learning multiple cooking styles, trained other cooks and now currently works manning an action station in the middle of the dining room taking orders directly from the customers.

Even If You Only Help 1 Person

He’s a team player, customer focused and willing to help others. Just the kind of person any company should want to hire.

I’ve had a long standing relationship with a culinary school in New York City as an adjunct instructor for their hospitality program. Spending time with these students is extremely rewarding, especially when they share their hopes and dreams of why they wish to enter the challenging hospitality industry.

Recently I taught a 4 day program of professional development for this class with the topics of resume building, cover letters, building a 30 second elevator pitch, job searching and interviewing skills, all in the hopes of helping them to land their first/next job.

Due to various reasons, on one of these days, only 1 student arrived for class. Frankly, my first reaction was frustration;

“How am I expected to teach only 1 student?”

I thought this was going to be a waste of time but boy was I wrong!

As I sat down with this Army veteran to plot out a series of steps in the hopes of turning his resume into an “action-packed” and powerful representation of his skills and experience I realized there was more to this man than many would recognize.

In discussing his past work history before he enrolled in this school I learned that he also had experience in warehouse management leading a team of over 20 people. He is a student of many cultures with experience gained from his travels. With a love of current events, a keen eye for detail and the willingness to be coached he fed me the snippets of information I needed; I now had much to work with as his resume took shape.

We focused on the leadership skills and “can-do” attitude learned during his military career, his ability to teach others and supervise a diverse group of employees. His customer service skills were the next to be focused on. The love of his new-found cooking career was evident in many of the words and phrases we easily put onto paper.

His professional summary and experience now jumped off the page.

As I read his new resume out loud I noticed a sheepish smile come over his face; almost one of embarrassment. “What’s wrong”, I asked him.

“You’re making me out to be some Superman now”, he said.

“I would hire me in a minute”, came next.

I countered with, “You are Superman, and I’m just letting others know about the skills and attributes you will bring to your next employer. Every word on this page is true and you should be proud of your background and accomplishments.”

He laughed and said, “Now my girlfriend’s gonna want me to fix HER resume”.

Now it was my turn to laugh…

We then developed a sample cover letter and variations of a 30 second elevator pitch that can also be used as the answer to the “tell me about yourself” question which usually starts off most interviews.

He still has some time before he graduates this class but is well on the road to his next interview and the start of a better job.

As the class day ended and we shook hands his genuine appreciation for the day was clearly evident. He was grateful for the work we completed and knew this was a great additional step in his professional development towards continuing his culinary and hospitality career. He left with a smile.

I had a smile too. It’s a great feeling when you help someone realize they are MORE than even THEY realize. We all have hidden skills and sometimes we need a little help bringing that to the surface for others to see.

The day started with low expectations and disappointment.

It’s easy to discount those unwilling to put in the time needed to succeed, but there's always hope. Click To Tweet

Hope sometimes appears in the one lone person who does show up. He/she deserves our best. It’s our time to shine and to do so through the development of others.

Let’s don’t try to save the world all at once my friends. Start small and one day at a time – even if you only help 1 person.

Copyright © 2017 Steve DiGioia

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5 thoughts on “Even If You Only Help 1 Person

  1. Many people are locked into the world they are/were in. A change that is manifested onto you rather than a desire for change can be challenging.
    It is so good to see how many transferable skills, experience, knowledge can be engineered towards finding your next role.
    When you see/hear and have experienced this yourself, we can all surprise ourselves, how invaluable what we have done, learned and accomplished so far can be in the future.
    You are right the “can do” must be within any individual to push on and succeed.
    As a Trainer/Recruiter/Mentor/Coach it is key to opening up new horizons and ways to move forward. It is very rewarding for all concerned.

    • “Can do” skills, regardless where they were developed, are in short supply today. When we find someone with these skills, and other transferable skills, we must find a position within our business.

      The key is to identify the possibilities and be open to give someone a chance. Thanks Lynn, hope you are doing well!

  2. Steve, helping just one person – be it a Guest, customer, or co-worker – can turn out to be a wonderful investment of your time. Taking the time to stretch out one’s training muscles is worth the effort, as you well know. One never knows when you will clear away the dust covering a marvelous discovery – and helping your discovery realize that there is more to them than they first thought. too many people pooh-pooh the small details when doing a resume or job application, but many times prospective employers are looking for a bit of the unusual in prospective employees’ skills or hobbies. Sure, there might be 20 others who applied for a certain position, but that twenty- first might have some small skill that intrigues the employer. I know my own “Ducktorate” degree from Disney University is – at the least – a conversation starter! I even have a Technician Class Amateur (Ham) Radio license, which came in handy when I needed to use a microphone system in my role as a Walt Disney World Cast Member!

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks such a great line: “clear away the dust covering a marvelous discovery”, I wish I’d thought of it first…

      I never heard of a ducktorate degree, how cool! Thanks.

      • Steve, the Ducktorate is a certificate, actually, but Disney likes to plus things! It was given for having what would equate to an A+ final grade in the Communications course I participated in while on the work study program. They also have a Mouseters Degree!