What Story are You Telling?

Humans have been telling stories for as long as they have been able to scrawl paintings on caves. We have come a long way since those day, but fundamentally we have not changed all that much. We still respond best to stories.

Today, most people change jobs once every 7 years. Add to that the fact that it takes most jobseekers close to 9 months to find a job once they have started looking and we have a situation where the job hunt is an almost constant endeavor.

Without an eye-popping resume, landing an interview is going to be an uphill battle. For too many people a resume is nothing more than a list.
A list of…

  • dates
  • jobs
  • schools
  • responsibilities

A list, however, is not going to get you hired. In fact, it probably will not even land you an interview. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer or HR professional. What would make you want to see an applicant? What types of information would pique your interest? A stale job history is not going to cut it, especially when most open positions attract hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. Most of your competition will have a similar career trajectory to yours-so how do you stand out?

The people you are trying to influence with your resume are fundamentally no different from you. They want to be intrigued, better yet, they want to be inspired. When they have a position to fill they want to see applicants who jump off the page. In order to inspire, you need your resume to tell a story. How can you get your resume to accurately tell your own personal story? The first step is to decide what story you want to tell. What is your theme? What is your mission statement? Think of three words that sum up who you are and what you do. Do not limit yourself to job titles or responsibilities. Think of the big picture.

  • Leader, Motivator, Communicator
  • Problem Solver, Facilitator, Multi-tasker
  • Number-cruncher, Forecaster, Logistics Pro

Use these three key descriptors as the heading for your resume and use them to drive your own personal story. As you move through the rest of the resume- profile/summary, competencies, job history and education- be sure to look at everything you write through the prism of your three, story branding terms.

If part of your story is that you are a Mr. Fix-it, a superior problem solver, then make sure you include some examples from previous jobs where you were presented with hard to solve issues and you saved the day. Make the person reading your resume want to meet the person who was able to fix that problem.

Once a reader has bought into your story, he will automatically begin to think about similar issues at his company, and whether or not you could be his Mr. Fix-it. If you have accomplished this, you should be well on your way to an interview.

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