Storytelling: What Story Does Your IT Resume Tell?

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A resume is supposed to convince a potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job, and if you submit a resume that reads like a bland list of skills and experiences, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

An effective way to make your resume more compelling is to incorporate elements of storytelling. When a hiring manager reads your resume, they naturally make up a story about your career in their own mind. Rather than hoping that story is good, your resume should proactively tell the best story possible about you as a candidate.

Storytelling takes a bland list of skills and experiences and fleshes them out into a real live person. A good story connects with your reader emotionally and converts them into advocates.

This isn’t to say you should weave tall tales about your accomplishments. Of course, you’ll be the protagonist in this story, but the story should be the primary focus, not your greatness.

If you are not a natural storyteller or a trained writer, telling a story within your resume can take time and effort. Below are a few tips on incorporating elements of storytelling into your resume.

4 Ways To Format a Great IT Resume

1. Keep It Focused and Simple

We see ourselves as complex individuals that aren’t easily defined by one or two phrases. However, a resume isn’t the place to reveal the many sides of your personality. Instead, it would be best if you embraced the idea of being easy to define.

Highlight two or three of your most significant selling points. Be clear about the kind of job you’re seeking, including the scope of responsibilities and level of workplace flexibility needed.

2. Sketch Out a Plot

A plot for your resume should be a through-line that your reader can follow. The plot of a resume story typically follows one of four patterns:

  • Overcoming long odds
  • Pursuing a long, rewarding journey
  • Progression to success
  • Evolution and change

The most obvious place to use these plot devices is in your career summary, but you can also use them in your work history section.

3. Provide Context

Telling someone you got a promotion at a job, led your team in sales, or successfully changed careers doesn’t mean as much without context. Your achievements will seem more compelling if you can show you overcame:

  • An institutional challenge
  • A technical challenge
  • A situational challenge
  • An interpersonal challenge

4. Explain Results

Whenever you can, put your achievements into hard numbers, when a hiring manager sees hard numbers, it makes it easier for them to understand the value you can bring to an open position.

When considering your contributions at past jobs, consider how your hard work led to positive strategic impacts for the company. For instance, were you able to save thousands of dollars, drive up website traffic or increase sales figures?

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