By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW
Jack Mulcahy Resume Services
Pandora’s Box. Harry Potter. Trojan Horse. Good Samaritan.
No matter what your culture, ethnicity, or background, it’s a pretty safe bet that you know something about each of these topics. Each of these is an example of the power of story. And in fact, each one of them has entered our lexicon and each is commonly referenced every day somewhere.
Why is this? And what does this have to do with writing a resume, for pity’s sake?
Think of the time when you were a child, and your parents read stories to you. Remember how much you loved picturing the words and incidents the stories were describing? Just you pictured Harry Potter or Hermoine or Snapes in your young mind? When you grew older, you learned what happened when Pandora’s Box was opened, and what the Trojans found out when they wheeled that “gift horse” into their city.
Stories. They do more than entertain us. They tell us great truths and life lessons behind their words. They reveal the histories and actions of the characters involved. And they leave indelible marks in our collective memories.
That is why you want to use stories in your resume. Not long stories, like the ones referenced above. But short, easily digestible stories that get across the points you want to make; stories that tell the reader who you are, why you should have the job being advertised, what accomplishments you offer to back up your claim, and what your qualifications are for that job.
Consider, if you will, these two examples, taken from resumes:
- Taught groups of up to 25 students in grades 10-12 how to use the library for research.
- Demonstrated the uses of such databases as ProQuest and WilsonWeb in research for classroom assignments to enhance student learning and heighten retention in a suburban high school.
Can you see the difference between the two items? In the first, the teacher simply tells us the duties of the position. The sentence is grammatically correct, but it’s flat, and has no life. Anybody could have done that job. The second teacher provides us a little story about what she did, using what tools, the purpose, the result, and the location. They both did the same duties. But the second teacher enriched her resume bullet point so that we can’t easily dismiss or forget her.
Your resume needs to be full of little stories like that. You need to write a document that says, “This is who I am and what I have accomplished. And if you’ll give me the opportunity, I’ll accomplish that and more for you.”
Tell your story. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Is your resume flat and lifeless? Breathe life into it with little stories about your accomplishments that will leave your audience wanting to know more!