Writing your resume in a storyteller mind

Preparing a resume is a complex task, especially when you care to present it the closest possible to the job posting. We all agree this is a very popular and common practice. As we agree it is not always that simple!

Once we submit the resume, it all starts, we start thinking if it was the correct tone, the right format, not too long, nor too short, etc.

After this stage, it is the wait, the curious wait “will they call me, or would they ignore like thousands of others?” This has, is and will be the singular (normal) path to follow, every job seeker will live.

It is also disappointing when two weeks later there is no answer or the usual, “Dear Michel, we have reviewed your very interesting profile, however we are…”

This is where we start asking ourselves about what went wrong? Why didn’t they keep my resume? What did not impress or what was not enough well described, etc.” This is where we feel back to square one, and send and send more postings to more jobs openings, living the same stages…

I have screened many resumes in the past years, as my employer wanted me to preview some candidates’ profiles in a specific field, Instructional Design. To be honest many people were submitting their resumes as if they were answering a form, trying to match all of the requirements but so little about themselves. This made the selection very simple (to me). The reason is simple, in some fields of expertise such as the person we were looking for, needed to be flexible, knowledgeable, but also capable to express some sense of humour, be serious of course but not to take herself too seriously. Know about software application and packages and show she knew the business jargon, but also be opened to learn, to discover, to be able and capable of empathy…


Image credits: Digital Storytelling 101

This reminded me of me when I worked as a consultant, the company who needed an expert in training development, posted the requirements in a very unusual manner, I knew from the wording they were looking for someone who could be enough curious, propose new ideas and eventually show somehow some innovative ideas…

I wanted the contract, because it was inspiring, challenging and promising. So I decided to adopt a different approach than the “usual kind of stuff’ and introduced myself (introducing also a chronology of my learnings and achievements) as if I was telling to the reader a story, my professional story!

I agree the risk was to face an immediate rejection, not knowing how and who my two pager would be perceived. In fact page 2 was a more conventional layout, but most of us now the first lines of page 1 bring the reader’s interest to read the other page.

Three days after my submission, I got a call from the recruiters, the tone was immediately relaxed and as I recall on the same wave like my resume. The person on the phone used most of my words to ask questions in a story format: “Imagine your journey continues to work with a company that believes in such and such…” or “how would we bring people to discover through fun quizzes what they need to learn.” I was really drawn and felt this was something really promising!

After a while (later it appeared we spent almost 45 minutes, she admitted I was in a meeting not only the recruiter, but the client and the project manager herself as well!

We finally agreed I would plan and prepare a workshop, which would be considered as my interview, they even gave me the freedom to adopt any technique I would see the fit.

The end of the story was I got a full year contract, where I spent the most exciting and memorable professional experience of all of these contracts.

The client admitted they were hooked by the way my offer of service (resume) was built and felt they needed to meet with the person behind such unusual way.

Storytelling, is a way of sharing, not only about legends or history, it is also an artistic way of communicating – on a human ground – with others. Of course the risk of not having a job is also an issue we need to consider, however for a given type of job, if an employer does not believe in innovative approaches (the out of the box way I’d say), the, for me, I would not feel happy to work for him.

Until next time, enjoy your evening,

Michel – April 21, 2014

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