Communicating your Story through your Resume
By Larry Schuster
Rolls Royce “embodies a timeless elegance.”
Ferrari represents “an effortless marriage of technology, design and beauty.”
Makes you want to open the door and take them for a drive, doesn’t it?
What do you embody or represent? In other words, what is your brand? What is your story?
If there was a way, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could use your resume to tell your story? So that someone will open the door for you? To learn how you think and perform during in an interview?
Fortunately there is a way to do this. Just follow these three keys to a storytelling resume, and you may soon drive off to a fancy new job!
Can you create a single sentence that best captures your professional personality, energy and impact?
Here’s an extreme case of what I mean. You could simply introduce yourself at the top of your resume as: Engineering Vice President
Typically you would follow that with the customary list of titles, companies and responsibilities. Or you could have a branding statement at the top of your resume like this:
“Fortune 100 R&D game-changing VP creates massive unmet consumer demand | Built 10 global engineering organizations each generating annual revenues of US$1 Billion revenues.”
“Applies 16 years high security, time-sensitive airline operations management to logistics projects | Directly responsible for (fill in the blank…. Impact, result).”
You may not be a high-performance engineering VP of a large technology company or supervisor of airlines operations. Still, you probably have an inspiring track record of making amazing contributions that have a real impact. (Or, you may be in the wrong job.)
And then, take a few lines to summarize in just a little more detail your unique selling points and key personal qualities, and the direction of your career. This allows the reader to quickly get the big picture of your professional life.
You’ve had many job titles, many functions, accomplished many things, but now you have determined you want to be graphic designer. But you never had that title, though you did related jobs for years, and maybe you even got an extra certification for your career objective.
How to solve that common problem? Gather all the job experience that relates to and demonstrate your graphic design expertise and passion. And condense or eliminate those job descriptions that don’t support your new direction.
The result will look like a resume that builds a case for graphic design.
This is the part where your hard work shines! For each important challenge you had, what actions did you take and what great results or impact did you achieve (or was achieved because of your work).
Write these in mostly two lines. You can do a little longer if you have just a few of these that stories to make your point, but they must be tightly, well written.
These demonstrate that you didn’t just work somewhere, but you actually made an important contribution. You had an impact. You accomplished important things. These will form the basis of your great personal stories during your job interview. And certainly, you will spend more time and space on these short but significant stories, than long lists of responsibilities and awards. They don’t even have to be complete sentences, but must be easy to read and understand by the interviewer.
There you have it. With a branding statement, proper focus for your new career objective and careful selection of just a handful of the critical stories that demonstrate your accomplishments, you have a storytelling resume.
Only question left: Do you prefer a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari?
Senior Consultant, Crescendo Communications Consulting