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Top Ten Resume Tips: #10—Tell Your Story

You’re reading #10 of my Top Ten Tips for writing your resume. Read all the other tips by clicking on each link:

1. Be focused.—2. Be strategic and selective.— 3. Be succinct.— 4. Stand out from the crowd.— 5. Show results. — 6. Write it right.— 7. Make a great first impression.— 8. Be interesting. — 9. Be specific.10. Tell your story.

#10 TELL YOUR STORY

During a career transition, you’ll find many golden opportunities to tell your career success stories—in your resume and LinkedIn profile, in networking introductions, in interviews.

What’s more, you can frame those stories through the lens of your current career objectives, giving a story the right spin so that it illuminates a fundamental (and relevant) truth about you and your capabilities.

I’m not suggesting that you launch into full story-telling mode in your resume. As discussed in Tip #3, you don’t want to be long-winded. And the reality is that you have limited space and quite likely a lot of relevant information to share.

So how do you tell your story in your resume? One technique that I like to use is to provide context around a job or an achievement. When readers know why you took a particular job—what specific problem you were hired to address, or what was going on at the company or in the industry at the time—they better understand and appreciate your achievements.

For example, if I write, “Challenged to double sales in the Midwestern division on aggressive 2-year schedule,” you grasp the problem … and if you then read, “Delivered 250% growth in first year, outperforming 2-year goal in 6 months,” you understand the magnitude of the achievement.

Context increases meaning. Do your best to tell the story of your career by explaining the circumstances and then showcasing your achievements.

You can also tell your story by using tips previously shared—#9 Be Specific; #8 Be Interesting; #5 Show Results. All of those techniques will help ensure that your resume is all about you and not about a generic candidate.

And going beyond your resume, your LinkedIn profile is a prime opportunity to shift your style from “resume language” to storytelling mode and write about some aspects of your career more deeply and personally. Don’t make the mistake of simply copying your resume onto LinkedIn. Use the social/professional platform to give readers deeper insights and more personal connections into who you are, what you love, and what you do well.

SUMMING IT UP

  • The inherently human activity of storytelling can help make your resume more personal, powerful, and memorable.
  • Add context to add meaning to your roles and achievements.
  • Use storytelling to your advantage on LinkedIn and in other messages to communicate your unique value.

BONUS TIP #11: GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Professional resume/profile writers are widely available for all professions, all levels, and in all fee ranges. Not only will we take an objective, employer-centric view of your career, we’re experts at uncovering the themes, threads, and success stories of your career that will sell your value.

Please email me (louise@louisekursmark.com) if you’d like a complimentary review of your resume, a few specific suggestions, and a proposal for a rewrite.

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