Standard resumes are a dime a dozen. That’s why resume storytelling is essential to stand out. But how?! I know, I know, spending more time and thought on your resume is not exactly how you’d like to spend your next free evening, but now that you’ve updated it with the basics (jobs, dates, etc.), take a second look to add some more flavor. Great resumes tell a story about you.

1. Capture attention. One way to do this is to give it a professional design. Have a graphic designer buddy? Ask them to take a look to organize the copy in an attractive way and add a little color even (don’t go overboard with the color, but an accent hue reveals something about you — research the meaning of color to select a color).

2. Stand out at the top. At the beginning of your resume, feature a compelling work statement. In three concise sentences or less, tell the person reading your resume where you are in your career, your most important qualities and what your goals are for your next step. Rewrite this several times to refine it and have a friend or family member who is a good writer/editor take a look as well.

 3. Describe, don’t just list. Under each position you’ve held, tell the story of what you did in that job. This isn’t a bunch of boring bullets about your work duties. Give them the juice — what project did you nail and make sales numbers fly? Did you reorganize your team and boost everyone’s morale and productivity at the same time? That’s resume storytelling.

4. Tweak the resume content for the job at hand. In the spirit of resume storytelling, create multiple resumes or tweak your current one to specifically highlight the type of jobs you are applying for or position at hand. In a way, you can look at this as similar to book categories (i.e. sci-fi, biography, etc.). Meaning that, if you are applying for a data analyst role and you have worked with data analysis (no fibbing), then make sure it is highlighted and detailed in the job descriptions, where it is applicable. HR and Hiring Managers open a resume looking for the ideal fit with “keywords” that match the job description as close as possible. Just like, in the bookstore, no one goes over to the sci-fi section looking for teen romance; they go looking for light sabers and space ships.

5. Proofread. Any professional storyteller will tell you that you’ve got to proof it. And while you’re at it (especially if spelling and grammar is not on your forte list), have a skilled friend or professional take a look at the whole thing to make sure it’s error-free and flows well.

Armed with these tips, you’re ready to rock your personal resume story!


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