When written right, a resume is a powerful tool in your job search toolbox and can help open the door to your dream job. However, the way you present your professional experiences can significantly impact your changes of landing an interview.

Traditionally, resumes have focused on listing historical employment data in a chronological format and loaded with tasks and responsibilities bullet points. But, there’s a more dynamic approach: the storytelling method.

Traditional Resumes

Traditional resumes typically follow a straightforward structure, listing job titles, dates of employment, and bullet points detailing tasks and responsibilities. While this format provides an overview of one’s work history, it fails to capture the full scope of the individual’s abilities and achievements, or the value they bring to the role. It’s essentially a list of what you did, but not necessarily how well you did it or the impact you had.

Here’s an example:

  • Managed a team of five.

This is a static description that doesn’t convey the skills used, the obstacles faced, or the results you delivered. And it doesn’t differentiate you from other candidates who have managed ‘their’ team of five

The Power of Storytelling

In contrast, the storytelling method transforms your resume into a narrative that showcases your professional journey. This approach goes beyond listing duties and responsibilities; it highlights your accomplishments, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the value you’ve added to your previous employers.

There’s a difference between reading a list of tasks versus hearing a compelling story about how someone led a team through a challenging project, overcame obstacles, and achieved results.

The storytelling approach is more engaging and memorable.

Here’s an example:

  • Improved client satisfaction scores 20%, leading a team of five in the development and implementation of a new client onboarding process and fostering a collaborative environment that encouraged innovative solutions.

Now the reader has context, making the entry far more engaging and memorable.

Engagement: Stories naturally captivate readers. They provide context and make experiences more relatable and interesting.

Memorable: A well-told story is easier to remember than a list of bullet points and hiring managers are more likely to recall your narrative during decision-making processes.

Insights into Who You Are: Stories reveal your personality, problem-solving abilities, and leadership qualities. This method shows how you approach challenges and achieve goals.

Key Elements in Storytelling

  • Start with a Hook: Front load your bullet point with the outcome, focusing on quantifiable achievements that prove your abilities.
  • Provide Context: Provide a bit of background information surrounding the challenge you faced.
  • Highlight Actions: Briefly share actions you took to address the challenge, showcasing your skills and strategies but leaving the details for the interview.

Real-World Example

Traditional Bullet Point for a Hospitality Executive:

  • Managed resort renovation, ensuring minimal disruption to guests and maintaining high service standards.

Storytelling Method:

  • Maintained guest satisfaction scores of 90%+ despite resort renovation, spearheading a detailed guest communication strategy, informing them of potential disruptions during resort renovation and working with construction team to schedule work during off-peak hours.

The storytelling narrative provides a richer, more detailed picture of the role and the impact made. It’s a story that a hiring manager is more likely to remember and be impressed by.

Incorporating storytelling into your resume isn’t just about making it more interesting; it’s about showcasing your unique journey and the value you bring to the table. Whether you’re an experienced professional or just starting out, a well-crafted story can be the key to unlocking new opportunities and advancing your career. Why? Because employers are increasingly drawn to resumes that provide a deeper understanding of the candidate’s abilities and potential.

As a Certified Career Storyteller, I transform resumes from a list of duties into a vivid narrative that engages potential employers and makes a lasting impression.

My Journey to Becoming a Certified Career Storyteller

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My journey to becoming a Certified Career Storyteller (CCST) began with my passion for writing and helping others. I initially worked in retail until the store closed. I then transitioned to a high-end boat manufacturer, only to be laid off during an economic downturn. My next role was as an Executive Assistant to the VP of Administration at an innovative geothermal manufacturing facility. However, when management and culture changed, and my boss resigned, I chose to leave as well.

Throughout these experiences, I realized that my ability to weave my professional stories into compelling narratives opened doors for me time and again. Motivated by this realization, I rolled up my sleeves and earned my first professional resume writing designation in 1997. Continuously staying at the forefront of best practices, I’ve earned multiple certifications to ensure I provide the highest level of service.

 

 

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