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How to Create a Resume that Gets Results

by Leah Curney, on Jan 11, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Whether you are entering the job market for the first time or making a mid-career transition to a new role, one of the best tools in your job-seeking toolkit is your resume.

A resume is more than just a laundry list of work experience and academic history. It’s an opportunity to tell your story – as only you can. It’s a chance to show prospective employers how you can contribute to their community and help them achieve their goals.

So how do you do this? Storytelling.

Here are 3 simple storytelling tips that will turn a regular resume into one that stands out and gets results.

Build a Bridge
A good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Just as a classic fairy tale begins with “Once upon a time…” and ends with “Happily Ever After,” your resume should communicate your background (beginning), what actions you took (middle) and what outcomes you achieved or produced (end).

Another way to think of this is Building a Bridge – connect your past experiences to your future potential. Let your resume show concrete examples of what you’ve done in the past that will help you succeed in the future.

Moments Matter
Many people make the mistake of filling their resume with general experiences. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Law office receptionist. Responsibilities included filing, phone calls, and organization.
  • Member of Varsity Volleyball team, sophomore year of high school.

Bullets like the ones above describe a vague experience that happened over an extended period of time. Not very compelling, huh? In contrast, a moment is a specific, contained instance in time – and it creates a much more vivid picture in the mind of your reader.

At Story2, we encourage you to identify the specific moments that make up your unique story – particularly Defining Moments that highlight growth or change. For example:

  • I oversaw office logistics and client communications for a team of five attorneys. During that time, I streamlined spending costs resulting in over $2,000 in monthly savings.
  • A member of the Varsity Volleyball team sophomore year of high school, I practiced over 20 hours a week and was the recipient of a “Most Improved Player” award.

Now, this job seeker is no longer simply listing their daily duties or participation. Now, they are telling a story of ingenuity, hard work, and dedication.

Know Your Audience
As you embark on a job search, you will likely be applying for different positions with different organizations. Since every company has different needs, be sure to tailor your resume to each individual employer.

Hint: you don’t have to start from scratch each time! Make a master resume for yourself that lists all the possible bullet points you can include, then use the most relevant ones, tweaking as needed.

Taking the time to research and know your audience will make it easier for a prospective employer to see you as a natural fit. And easy is good because chances are they are up to their eyeballs in applications. But use specific, relevant stories to demonstrate your qualifications, and your resume will leap off the page and separate you from the pack.