Your Resume Tells a Story

Your Resume Tells a StoryWhat does yours say about you?

Does your resume simply relate the basics – where you’ve worked and what you were responsible for? That’s not the story recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers want to read.

What they want to read is the “brand” story that underlies and drives your career achievements to date:

  • Why you do the work you choose to do.
  • What motivates you to do your best.
  • The unique features of your career path or credentials to date.
  • The difference you’ve made in each of your positions – the legacy you’ve left behind.
  • The traits, skills, credentials, and experience that set you apart from other candidates.

These are the elements you resume must showcase because these elements help recruiters and hiring executives to understand the “real you.” Without that understanding, you are just another faceless, shapeless, blah candidate who has nothing special to offer.

Of course, your resume is not only a career storytelling tool – it’s a sales tool, too, so it also has to promote you while laying the groundwork for your interview performance and salary negotiations. And, when you consider how little time a human will spend reading your resume (a whopping 5-6 seconds when screening candidates and a mere 25-30 seconds when deciding whether to interview you), you’ll soon realize this document has to convey all of these details succinctly and artfully. The art of resume writing is all about catching a reader’s eye, making them want to pick your document up, and guiding their eyes to read what you want them to see in the order in which you want them to see it, all while expressing your brand visually (which says a lot more about you than any words on the page).

But there’s still more. Your resume also has to survive analysis by applicant tracking systems – the databases employers rely on to screen incoming documents. This screening process is designed to quickly sort candidates based on the key word, experience, and credential benchmarks set by the hiring manager. If you’ve been applying for jobs on job boards, at recruiter sites, on LinkedIn, or on company websites and getting few, if any, interviews, then your resume is consistently failing this screening process.

Why? There could be several reasons.

  1. Your resume lacks the right number, type, or density of industry-specific key words used in the right ways in your resume.
  2. Your brand isn’t well-defined and isn’t conveyed powerfully enough in your resume to separate you from the crowd.
  3. Your resume’s structure may be flawed and preventing your readers from grasping key elements of your experience.
  4. Your resume may lack quantified achievements that prove your ability to produce results.
  5. Your resume may be inadvertently setting you up to be eliminated from further consideration based on your amount of experience.

If even one of these things is true of your resume, your job search will suffer. If more than one of these things is true of your resume, your job search will suffer greatly.

So, I ask again. What story is your resume telling about you? And is it the story you want your resume to tell about you?