Does your resume present your career story in a way that expresses your goals, aspirations, and professional background? When writing your resume, you need to think not only about fitting in all relevant information about your education, skills, and experiences, but also about presenting it as a compelling narrative.
When telling your career story, you need to start by introducing yourself. Your resume should begin with your title and your executive summary. According to Steven Savage, a job search coach in the technology sector, the executive summary is a good "context-setting" way to begin a resume.
It's worth spending some time on the language you use to describe yourself in your executive summary. The words you choose reflect on what you regard as your most important qualities. According to Inspired Resumes director Deidre Pannazzo, it's a good idea to include words that appear in the job description in your executive summary where possible, as it shows that you are a good fit for the job.
Telling your career story doesn't just mean listing every position you have ever held in chronological order, although this is often a good place to start. Once you have listed your job title and the dates of employment for each position, you can highlight those positions that are most relevant to your current job application by adding details about your responsibilities and the skills you developed while working there. If you have any gaps in your employment history, then it's a good idea to give brief information about what you were doing during those times (for example, raising children, caring for a relative, retraining, or volunteering) in order to complete your career story.
If you're looking to change careers, then telling a clear and compelling career story is even more important. You need to explain why you want to move into a new field and how your existing skills and experience make you a good fit for your desired role. Otherwise, your resume could end up looking like a list of positions that aren't very relevant to the role for which you are applying. Many jobs can equip you with transferable skills, so don't be afraid to apply for jobs slightly outside your field of experience; you just need to explain why you think you would be just as capable (or perhaps even more capable) of fulfilling the role as other candidates from within the field.
Telling a story with your resume can help hiring managers understand how you could fit into their organization. It also allows you to present your experiences so they form a consistent narrative that explains your background and aspirations. When writing your resume, telling your career story as clearly and concisely as you can should always be your first priority.
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