Does Your Resume Tell a Compelling Story?



On the surface, this might seem like it’s going to be an article about how to write your resume.

But it’s not.

We’re not talking about creating your resume here. We’re talking about creating your story.  

Now the process of writing a resume happens to be a great way to go about doing that. Here’s why. First, it’s an anthology of your accomplishments. It’s the best of what you have to offer. Second, it’s your version of events. It’s your optimistic view of who you believe you are professionally. Third, it’s how you want to be known. This is the definition of who you are in the world. An accountant? An engineer? A graphic designer? An entrepreneur? Sure, you could be any one of them. Or maybe all of them! It just depends on how you tell your story.

This week, I’m sharing five articles that will help you understand the process of writing down the best of what you have to offer in a compelling and engaging way.

1. Identify your narrative.

First, let’s talk about what it means to tell a compelling story. For that, we want to look at creating a narrative. This article from Quiet Revolution discusses the concept of “narrative psychology.” In other words, the narrative we create for ourselves can become our reality. Do you consider yourself a lovable loser, a failure, always coming in last? Or are you a survivor, a work in progress, lucky to have the things you have? Ask yourself, when you tell your story, is it from the perspective of success or setbacks? Clean up your narrative. It starts from within.

2. Focus on your achievements.

This article from the Balance Careers is a pretty straight-forward outline on how to create a resume. It’s a very good article, but the interesting part is how to focus on your achievements. It’s a small section in the article but it provides great links to additional information, including ways to make your history sound more compelling, matching your accomplishments to potential job opportunities, and how to show your accomplishments as measurable results.

3. Turn bullet points into stories.

This article by Harvard Business Review takes you through the process of turning your resume into a vehicle for storytelling. It does this by explaining how to connect each experience so that they build on top of each other and create a path. This helps take the reader on the journey with you. The article also shows you how to connect your LinkedIn profile to the story you’ve told on the resume, creating a storytelling experience that travels from one platform to the next. Now, this is less about making sure your resume gets seen by the right people and more about you going through this process so you have clarity and confidence in the interview process. Once you’ve told your story “on paper” you’ll be better able to expand upon it in person.

4. The resume of the future. 

While resumes have been around for a very long time, the systems we use to share our resumes and find work are changing rapidly. Today, we still use resumes so we’re focusing on what we can do in this moment to increase our chances of putting ourselves out there and finding a good fit professionally. We already know companies scan our resumes and weed out hundreds of applicants without human touch. This article by Quartz gives a fascinating take on where we go next when it comes to finding a new job, and getting our stories in front of the right people using new technology.

5. How the Body Shop is reinventing the hiring process.

On a final note, this article by Fast Company illustrates how the Body Shop is using a new hiring approach and finding success. The future may already be here. They’ve experimented with the concept of “open hiring” by throwing out resumes and skipping the interview process altogether. The most important part of the article comes near the end, “the money saved in recruiting, screening resumes, interviews, and background checks will be redirected into training, employee benefits, and programs to support new employees with challenges such as transportation issues.” It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out and whether this concept will work on a larger scale. If so, it’s a game-changer for the hiring process.

We’ve covered a few areas this week so let’s review. For anyone in the workforce today, it’s important to know how you present yourself in current and potential work opportunities. This means that knowing your story and strengthening your narrative are important. Make sure you have a current resume that reflects that story. Finally, be aware of changing attitudes and technology. Those changes may make the process different, but the more you know your story, the more likely you will be to pivot easily and stand out in a crowded field.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway