How To Craft & Tell A Resume Story Behind Your Work Success

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Your resume, it all starts with your story as an experienced professional. But how does writing the story of you help you plan your dream job search and craft an effective resume addendum?
Sep 8, 2022 8 min read

Quick Answer:
A storytelling resume with a captivating headline and a concise career summary can make you stand out among other candidates. Use bullet points to make your resume skimmable. Avoid lengthy stories and focus on the most relevant experiences. Address career pauses confidently, and don't forget to edit your resume for style, grammar, and spelling. A story-based resume can help hiring managers gain insight into your thinking and acting style. Back up your stories with personal facts and always deliver what you promise.

Your resume, it all starts with your story as an experienced professional. But how does writing the story of you help you plan your dream job search and craft an effective resume addendum?

Truth is, nobody reads entire résumés for fun, so keep love dramas, murder stories, or comedy away. Job applications are a marketing tool and you need a fascinating tale both on CV, your cover letter, and a professional resume template, of course. The better your pitch, the higher your chances of getting hired while job-hunting.

Storytelling resumes are controversial, though. Some recruiters favor traditional bullet-point resumes, while others appreciate creativity as a sign of valuable business hunch and experience.

We know that one thing is for sure, story-based resumes help applicants stand out, and that's why you must put together a story map.

Read on to craft your own story for a friction-free resume review and successful recruitment.

Storyline Resumes Are Science

According to neuroscience researchers at Princeton University, the mechanism of storytelling synchronizes people following the narrative. The goal is to align with the person reviewing your winning resume.

First-person, Third-person, Does POV Matter?

How do you tell a story through your entire resume, and does your point of view matter to the narrative?

Never write a curriculum vitae in the third person, as you are already "a third person" in your application story. This is just a starters' lesson from our resume writing service and relevant experience.

Try to use less of ‘I” and more of “you” to build a connection, but don't overdo it. If you want to list particular activities, just cut the “I”.

  • FROM: I managed a team of twenty people.
  • TO: Managed a team of twenty people.

Summary of Your Skills

The Enhancv resume tool does an outstanding job of showcasing your career accomplishments and formatting quantitative, communication, analytical, and transferrable mentor skills.

Use tried and tested pre-made templates and also examples of other resumes in your industry.

Why is your career story important to your resume? Remember! Skills and career biography count the most, but storytelling is the cherry at the top of career highlights.

The shortest way to win your prize is to testify your relevant know-how first. You better not list  everything you can think of. Remember, it’s your form of personal marketing, and sticking to the point and what your potential new job position needs is where you need to be.

How Much Backstory Is On Your Resume?

Go back 20 years if you have relevant career successes and job transitions to list, but don't overdo the bullet-point form.

Your goal is to fit a set of requirements for the current career path you desire. Yet, in some cases, listing all years of professional experience might not serve to your favor, such as in modern tech, where trends change fast, and so does job market demand. There are also professions that require life-long backtrack checks, such as government, academic, and medical.

As long as your experience is relevant, list it.

Create an Eye-Catching Headline

Compelling resumes start with a distinctive headline of your career story.

The header section is the cover of your book. A catchy headline might tip the scales from rejection from the early start.

  • Your name must be at the top of the section, in the center of the page, and in large title font.
  • Your accomplishment-driven brand statement should follow your name shortly.
  • Keep your personal branding short and on-point.

It aims to characterize who you are as a professional. Your personal brand statement should hint to your future employer what to expect from you in a working environment.

If you decide to write your brand proposition in a catchy, clever way, remember that telling a story in your resume must resonate with your desired job opp.

Reverse Order & Storify Your Accomplishments

Resume order of jobs – does it matter?

Reversal info is one way to leverage the use of bullet points and action verbs, but with dates and in reverse order. This way you build your most relevant profile and also back your pitch down the story.

Write A Tight Career Summary

Your career summary comes right after the header. Take the time to explore creative designs and compile an interesting story to perceive your career objectives. Do not hesitate to consult our mock interview preparation service based on robust user research interviews and success stories.

When you aim for a storytelling resume style, it is best to write your career summary in paragraph form, starting with a fantastic hook sentence. All the fundamental features of a narrative come into play, like creating a setting, conflict, plot, and resolution.

The majority of hiring managers and recruiters are accustomed to reviewing straightforward resumes that are built on bullet points and abridged language. The story-telling summary section, however, helps you stand out among other candidates.

Keep in mind that it is not standard practice to tailor your resume in a storytelling format, so you must make sure the narrative grabs the reader’s attention. The compelling story of who you are and how you got to be where you are today is key to scoring an interview.

Include an Educational Experience Section

List your educational experiences following your career summary paragraph.

It is best to write this section with bullet points. This way, you’ll give the recruiter the opportunity to scan through your educational information quickly and take a break from reading paragraphs.

Make sure to add training and additional practice to a separate list, along with any relevant certificates.

Clarify Your Timeline

What will you do to make sure that your story on your resume is clear for the audience?

A chaotic timeline fails to impress recruiters. They do not have time to puzzle through your work experience and connect the dots.

So, avoid getting too creative, or your résume will end up tossed aside.

Rethink Your Less Relevant Experiences

It is beneficial to mention your past positions that aren’t connected to the role you’re seeking at the moment.

For example, if your first employment was in marketing, but it’s no longer relevant now that you’re a project manager, it makes a good impression if you list the soft skills you acquired in your previous position. In this section, it is beneficial to brag about yourself just a bit.

Focus on how you “collaborate across departments”, or “presented to clients” to show you are a team player and a valuable asset instead of problematic freelancers.

Keep Your Story Concise

Don’t let things get blown out of proportion. After all, you’re not writing a novella. You still want a short story and resume on point.

Most employers prefer a resume that is formatted in bullet points, as it is easier to scan through.

How to Make Story Bullet Points

To tell a story in bullet points, they must be skimmable. If you have much to say, then go into more detail in your cover letter or later in your interview.

Own Your Career Pause

Sometimes you need a story to cover a career gap in your resume. To close employment gaps, you must be clear about where you worked and when.

It may sound controversial, but it is perfectly normal to pause – whether it’s a period of unemployment or simply to be with your family more.

When you write a story to cover career gaps in a resume, don’t hide your career pause, but own it instead.

It’s crucial to address such a period of your life clearly and confidently.

Include the start and end dates, along with a brief description of the reason you took the gap (if you’re comfortable sharing, of course).

Proofread & Edit

When you write a story-based resume, remember, you step outside of standards in order to stand out and make a long-lasting impression. For this reason, the editing stage is crucial for storytelling resumes.

Review your CV for grammar, style, and spelling. A good idea is to have a close friend or mentor read your primary and supplemental document to check for mistakes and how easy to read.

Once you're 100% sure your resume is bullet-proof, you can submit it and wait for an interview call.

How a Story-Telling Resume Can Help Your Career

The hiring process aims to get inside the heads of candidates and learn how they think and act. With a standard resume, a candidate can look perfect on paper.

However, when it’s time for the interview, in most cases, things don’t look so good. With a story-based resume, however, hiring managers gain answers to fundamental questions upfront.

So, when they call you up for an interview, they know what to expect, thus leaving little to no place for error.

Additionally, when you get into detail about your resume stories, you also prepare for an interview, whether you realize it or not. The majority of candidates find it beneficial to see their stories filtered through the lens of an external observer, as it allows them to get the bigger picture.

So, when you begin your interview, you will be fully prepared and confident in what you have to say.

Storyline Validation

Previously, we covered the importance of your personal brand in developing a value proposition through a mix of professional and personal backgrounds. Your brand should embody your value to business and company culture.

You must back up your story with personal facts and details, most often found on social media. You don't want to be the story of someone who lied on their resume, right?

Hiring managers frequently give preference to job applicants who handle provocative interview questions and pass social media checks. That’s why it’s crucial to dedicate passion and deliver. Update your LinkedIn details and add your LinkedIn profile as a hiring manager is likely to check your about section too.

The Bottom Line

A story-based resume format involves examining what makes you an exceptional applicant. The CV itself won’t guarantee you deserve the job, but it will definitely get you more interviews, hence you’ll have more opportunities to tell your stories, tailoring them to what each company needs to find.

We hope this guide was informative and beneficial to you. Can you write a resume as though you are telling a story?

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Dimitar Karamarinov
Dimitar is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist with authorship in a broad range of digital medium and multimedia starting as early as 2006.
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