Resume Tips: How to tell your story

The best resume tips we can give include how to tell your professional story in an interesting way that is quick and easy to read.

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According to a section in an article titled Storytelling in Your Resume: Why and How by,  “As a job-seeker you can help the hiring decision-maker by crafting a narrative that grabs the reader.”

The following resume tips are an excerpt from that article.

  1. Use the top of your resume to tell who you are.
    Use the summary section of your resume to tell the story of who you are professionally.
  2. Storify your accomplishments.
    KPMG Principal Mary Anne Davidson observed on the Website “Candidates write about what their positions entailed and not what they actually did. So they tell us their job was to do XYZ. I know what controllers do. I know what recruiters do. I need to know what accomplishments you made in your role. This makes you different than another candidate.” Susan Britton Whitcomb author of Resume Magic one of the most highly recommended resume books on the market calls accomplishments “the linchpin of a great resume.” Her chapter on accomplishments is one of the best sources to help you compose effective accomplishments stories. See also our comprehensive accomplishments section.
  3. Ensure your resume is accomplishments-driven.
    To a great extent if a job activity cannot be portrayed as an accomplishment it may not be worthy of mention in your resume. Thus your resume should be primarily accomplishments-driven (rather than driven by duties and responsibilities) and accomplishments are best communicated in story form.
  4. List resume accomplishments in REVERSE order.
    Accomplishment stories should include the situation, problem, or challenge that contextualizes your achievement; the action you took; and the results you attained; however, you should tell this story in reverse order — results in action problem/situation/challenge. Why? Because as we noted earlier the employer looks at your resume so quickly. Results need to be listed first for each accomplishment so these outcomes catch the reader’s eye.
  5. Deploy supplemental documents for storytelling.
    Some professional resume writers use the tactic of going easy on the story approach in the resume itself but letting loose with stories of accomplishments, results, and outcomes in a resume addendum or career biography.
  6. Keep resume stories concise.
    Most employers prefer a resume that is formatted mostly in bullet points — which don’t exactly lend themselves to storytelling. You can tell stories in resume bullet points but they must be concise, not wordy. Think of a story-based resume as “story lite.” You can go into more detail in a resume addendum in your cover letter and later in your interview. Focus-group participants emphasized the conciseness point repeatedly, strongly cautioning against wordiness, overblown adjectives, too much information, and the impact of accomplishments lost in a sea of text. One participant said, “If you could combine the brevity of [the non-storytelling resume] with the numerical details of [the story-based resume] that would be the preferred ideal.”

For additional resume tips please see:

Tips on How to Format a Resume

Resume Work Experience Tips

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