No matter what the content of your resume is, you have a story to tell. There’s a character: you. There’s a plot: the twists and turns along the way to becoming you. And there’s a beginning, middle, and end (or where you are today).
In the process of seeking the next opportunity in your career, I would strongly recommend you view your next step not as an end, but as a continuation of the journey that you are on. Viewed from this vantage point, you become a much more compelling narrator of an important story: your story.
So how do you relate your resume in terms of a story of growth?
Break it down into bite-sized chunks. But not as a list; “I started out of college as a marketing intern, then I moved into writing press releases, blah blah blah”. Instead of simply listing your accomplishments chronologically, decide on the two or three most interesting lessons of the work you’ve performed and communicate those, “One of the fascinating things that I learned in my first role was the difference between marketing and public relations…” This change of perspective draws your listener in and helps him or her understand that you are a learner and have a coherent story to tell.
Reveal the character inside the character. As you unfold the lessons you’ve learned in school and work experiences, let people see your character. What made you uncomfortable about a decision you made? What’s a mistake that you regret? What was the most rewarding moment you’ve had? How did a boss go above and beyond for you and what did it mean to you? ”Character” is what we do when no one’s looking. So tell about those moments, both good and bad. You will be magnetic.
Aspire. You’ve laid out the plot in the form of lessons learned, and you’ve given color and form to the character driving this story. Now finish it. Tell us what’s next. What is the next phase of growth for you? What lessons do you expect to learn, and what scares you? Where do you think you will succeed and what pitfalls do you anticipate? Tell us that this character expects a challenge and is up to the task.
These three things make up your growth story. Novels and movies end. But you don’t.
Craig Wortmann is the CEO of Sales Engine, a sales consulting firm that helps others build and tune their sales engine. He is also the author of What’s Your Story?: Using Stories to Ignite Performance and Be More Successful and an entrepreneurship professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. You can connect with Craig on Twitter @SalesEngine.
Category: Personal Branding