Real Stories from a Pro Resume Builder: “You’re a Pigeon, not a Peacock”

The Pro Resume Builder Gives Advice on Managing Your Job Search Expectations

“I want to be a peacock!” 

I had a client once who expressly told me, on more than one occasion, that they wanted to be a peacock.  And yes that was weird request, but that’s not the point.  I understood the metaphor.  They meant that they wanted their new resume to stand out, to shine, and to get noticed.  This particular client was applying for a high-level management position, so it was important that their resume reflect their administrative and supervisory skills.  The problem was, this person didn’t have any of those skills!

No, this particular client did not have an impressive background by any standards.  Most recently they were working on the sales floor of a popular home goods store, and before that they were essentially flipping burgers.  On top of that, they didn’t even have a GED and they had changed jobs at least 7 times in the past 5 years, all of which does not bode well in the eyes of a potential hiring manager.

So when they sent me the job description for the position they planned to apply for, I thought it had to be a mistake. The job was for a top executive, and required much more education and experience than this person possessed.  So I asked them, as politely as I could, “Is this a joke?” To which they replied that it was most certainly not a joke, and once again reaffirmed their desire to be a peacock.

What do I do?!  I can’t turn a pigeon into a peacock!  I’m not a magician!

Well, after years of being a pro resume builder I have run into this scenario countless times and part of my job has become helping people to properly manage their job search expectations.  I never would have told this client that they were a “pigeon”, per se, but I was able to communicate to them that they needed to consider more realistic goals based on their individual background and skill sets.  After all, a pigeon cannot be promoted to a peacock.  Just as a janitor cannot be promoted to the CEO of a multi-million dollar company!

Every job seeker should take the time to make sure their experience and career trajectory are aligned with the types of positions they plan to apply for, because if you don’t you are bound to be disappointed when you aren’t getting any interviews.  You’re basically wasting paper and you’re wasting your time. There is a reason we call it a “ladder”, and if you try and skip the rungs you will inevitably get tripped up on your way to the top.

Another thing to consider is that hiring managers typically do not want to train you if they don’t have to, so they will almost always take the candidate with an education and experience over the candidate without those things.  It seems like a no-brainer statement, but you’d be surprised how many people only read the part of the job description that says “Willing to train” and skip right past the parts that say “Bachelors Degree or higher required” and “Minimum 5 years of relevant experience”.  People get very selective when they read job descriptions, and they think since one part of a job description pertains to them that they must be qualified all around for the position.  Don’t make that mistake.

JR Hindman is the owner of and  He has been a professional resume writer and career advocate for over a decade, and has helped countless people to land their dream job.

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