Storytelling Through Your Resume


Last week I was interviewing for a junior role on my team. I am seeking someone with limited work experience but the right level of enthusiasm and raw intelligence needed to make a difference. I want a fresh perspective and I am willing to coach. What’s the issue? Most applicants focus on their most recent “traditional” work experience. Example, sales calls or legal rounding and review. What am I finding? When these applicants begin to talk about their hobbies, their real skills are made clear. Take songwriting / musician / performer…In the marketing world this screams “strong presentation skills, calm under pressure, able to tell a story effectively and clearly”. I could go on and on. 

Think outside of the box as you do your resume and interview homework. One question you are sure to be asked (if it isn’t completely clear on your resume) is, “Why are you interested in this position?” The story is yours! Drive it in your favor. 

Personalize the summary section of your resume.

This might be the most important section of your resume. More than likely you are applying to many different roles, but the summary section is your time to shine and to really personalize it for each role. Yes, this takes a little bit of extra time but recruiters can tell when a summary section is very generic…or even inauthentic. Add the company name in the summary section and share your skills as to why you would be a good fit for the role you are applying for (and add the role name!).

Be upfront about why you are seeking transition between jobs.

Don’t skirt the truth. Explaining your hard stops is fine! Ex. “I don’t want to relocate to another state for X job.” or “I hope to work in a line of business that more excites me and better aligns with my education / interest.” or “I am seeking a more collaborative team where I can feel connected to something big feel heard.” All of these answers – great! Your story (the real story) is often the best answer. Head it off – and explain in your CV / resume “summary” section.

Play up your skills and drive the conversation towards what you love.

Stay at home dads during COVID have leveraged strong time management, organization, and negotiations skills. Entrepreneurs who recognize it is time to reassess and reposition have developed strong strategy and risk analysis skills. Flaunt these skills and tie them to the role you are applying to. 

Highlight only the most relevant work experiences.

Understand that many roles can be covered with one bullet and a sentence descriptor. If it isn’t adding to your broader resume narrative, limit space allocated. Also, know that the more dated the work experience is, the less relevant it is. No need to feature work experience from over 10 years ago (beyond a few bullets).  Recency is real – take what you have done recently and relate it to the job at hand. 

Share key learning and experiences from your relevant work experiences. 

Adding any actions/ results you have had in previous roles and being able to quantify that will help you to stick out! How much (ballpark!) did you drive when you launched X product? How many stakeholders did you manage? Did you create a better CX that drove higher retention? Put a number to it if you can. Ballpark / high level is fine….but the importance of quantifying your impact is real. 

List your skills and abilities.

While you can touch upon skills and abilities in your summary section, be sure to have a dedicated section to add your skills and abilities. Have you recently received any certifications? Even if you completed a LinkedIn training course, list it if it is relevant. The point is to show that you are investing in yourself (with your time and energy) and you are passionate about your field.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *