How To Make Your Resume Tell A Story

A reader of this blog asks:

Do you have any tips or tricks you can share about how to write a resume that will tell a story? I keep hearing about resume storytelling but don’t understand what is meant by it. I have great experience. I am certain I am among the top tier of the candidates in the job market. Yet, I send out my resume and nothing happens. Nobody calls. It is like my message just isn’t getting across and I don’t know what to do to improve this. Can you help? Please tell me how to make my resume tell a story that will actually win me some interviews!

Sincerely,
(A Loyal Reader)

In this article, published on Forbes, I reveal what is one of my most important professional trade secrets on how to make your resume etell a story that will engage readers and compels them to pick up the phone and call you to learn more in an interview:  Storytelling: The Secret Formula For An Engaging Resume

The most essential 4 points in the article:
  • Know and write to your audience

  • Incorporate the key elements of good storytelling (characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution)

  • Organize your stories and write them with attention to CARS (Context, Actions, Results, Strategic Impact)

  • Find and showcase the overall theme (aka – unique value proposition/personal branding statement)

Of course, it is one thing to be told how to make your resume tell a story. It is another to see it in action.  Here are some example excerpts from effective resumes the team at Distinctive Career Services has written that illustrate the storytelling technique in action. The story is dramatic in some and subtle in others.

Can you identify the 4  key elements for how to write a resume?

This first example resume excerpt tells the story of a leader who came in and successfully rebuilt an underperforming team.

Make Your Resume Tell a Story Example 1

This resume tells a dramatic story about a company that was saved literally from the brink of failure.

How to Make a Resume Tell a Story Example 2

In this example resume excerpt, the story elements have been separated into their own categories (challenge, actions, results – and the big-picture strategic impact is in the “success by numbers” boxes).

Write a storytelling resume example 3

This final example shows you can make a resume tell a story at any professional level. It isn’t a technique for just executives.

How to write a resume example 4

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