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Rose Colored Glasses:

a positive twist

on life.

  • Writer's pictureNina Abnee

Does Your Resume Tell a Story?

Most resumes are very boring both to write and to read.

But they don’t have to be. They can paint a picture of the awesome person you are, communicate what is unique and special about you AND what you have accomplished in your life, not just what jobs you’ve held.

Go through this fun resume-writing process and you will have a resume that tells a story, lets you shine and sets you apart from the pack. It will be the story of YOU.

There are two things you need to keep top of mind before you create your “storytelling resume.”

1. People don’t hire you for what you have done, they hire you for who you are, and
2. Including how you do what you do will differentiate you from others.

And you need to follow only one rule:

Tell your story with specific facts.

Your current resume is likely filled with generic, unspecific language that anybody in your position could have done. Such as, “managed social media campaign.”

Instead, your storytelling resume would say, created campaign that launched new age-defying soap in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with posts that tripled brand engagement resulting in 5mm new brand followers.”

​Ready to get started?

1. Start with doing an assessment of your current resume. Cross out your name and write in a fake name. Now circle all the things on your resume that this made-up person could not possibly have done. Circle only those things that you and only you can take claim to.

2. Get a notebook. Start using your notebook to, you know, to take notes and get away from your template. Write down everything you circled on your resume, if anything. Look at everything else and expand your story using very specific facts that make each point unique to you.

3. Get to know yourself. Pick and choose from the exercises listed below to get insight into what makes you tick. These exercises will help you uncover your authentic story and give you words to describe your strengths, values and approach to life and work. Take lots of notes in your notebook.

Remember a Peak Experience. Record yourself describing one or two peak experiences in your life. Those times that you were at the top of your game and importantly happy and fulfilled. Listen back to the stories and write down the values that were being honored that made these peak experiences.
Discover your impact. Describe a meeting you were in that would have gone differently if you weren’t there. What would be missed if you went away?
Pick a task. Let’s say you love doing laundry. How do you do laundry differently? What is the benefit of doing it the way you do it? Are the clothes cleaner? Can you get it done faster? Do you fold clothes well and put them away in an organized fashion? Do you prefer the process vs the end result? Think about all the ways that you might do this task differently than someone else and write it down.
Take some fun quizzes. There are lots of online personality quizzes that will give you some good language about who you are. I particularly like this one.

4. Now, write your story. Using all your notes, write your story in one page include key facts in your foundation that have contributed to who you are and the experiences from your past that are meaningful to who you are today. This will help you get to know yourself and practice storytelling. It’s not going in your resume but will be useful in an interview. Have fun with this, nobody has to read it but you.

5. Write your “Elevator Speech”. Take your story down to a simple and short paragraph. This is going in your resume. Think of it as the headline to your story with the rest of your resume filling in the supporting facts. A very short story of who you are. Keep it simple but meaty.

6. Now it’s time for a template. Pick something that will be easy to read with a type face that feels right for your personality. Simplicity wins here. Put your elevator speech at the top and then fill in your list of jobs and titles, education, activities etc. Under each job fill in the content that supports the story in your elevator speech. And you don’t need to use bullet points if you don’t want to. Sometimes a simple narrative is more powerful. Focus on what you are most proud of, not what you think others want to hear. And please don’t include everything, stick to what is interesting. Tell your story with specific facts. Also, include what you like to do for fun. Be specific here too. If you like to read, it is more interesting to say what you like to read.

7. Edit. Edit. Edit. Omit needless words. Omit more of them. Say things better and shorter. Make every point a good one. I bet you can get it down to a one-page story that is very compelling.

8. Get a “Resume Buddy”. This is hard to do alone, and it will make the process so much more fun. Go out for a drink and let someone else push you to be specific and fact-based.

A few other suggestions:

1. Use authentic language that anyone can understand. Avoid industry jargon.

2. Beware of meaningless results. Just because sales went up 10% doesn’t make it impressive. What did you do to drive the result? How do I know 10% is good?

3. Update your resume monthly with awesome accomplishments. (If you don’t have any accomplishments you need a new job)

4. Keep the hiring manager out of your head. This is your actual life, not one you are creating to impress someone else.

5. Don’t forget to tell the awesome “story of you” on LinkedIn.

If you want help, you can book an appointment with me

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