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Resume Writing

Narrative Resume: What Is It? Why You Should Write One!

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With so many applicants lining up for every new job post that pops up these days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and grab the attention of an employer. Most of the professionals that apply for jobs work very hard on their resumes and follow strict layouts to make sure that everything is clear for whoever is reviewing their information.

However, this does lead to most resumes looking very similar and that can often put managers off.

So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd? One very interesting way to instantly stand out is by creating a narrative resume. It looks completely different from a traditional one and is likely to catch the eye of a hiring manager more easily. If you’d like to portray yourself in a different way when applying for a new job, you should know how to write a narrative resume.

In this guide, our team of resume writing professionals will go over exactly that and also shed light on what you should and shouldn’t do when writing your resume story.

What is a Narrative Resume? This is What You Should Know

Unlike a traditional document in which you would create various headings and subheadings before mentioning your relevant academic and professional experiences in bulleted lists, a narrative resume is written more like a story of your journey. It is often written from a first or third-person perspective. Such a document is essentially a storytelling resume through which you are narrating your experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Story resumes have some benefits over traditional ones too. These include:

  1. Providing a complete overview of your prior experiences, not just in short bulleted lists but in detail.
  2. Letting the reader connect with you and your story in a more personal way.
  3. Making your application look very different from others, which is often a good thing.
  4. Developing an interest in your reader’s mind to find out more about you and read on.

While all of this sounds great, you need to be very careful about how you tell your resume stories. Nobody likes reading what seems to be a novel or an essay about you, so it is essential that you know the dos and don’ts of creating such a document.

How to Use Storytelling in a Resume

Before anything else, you should be confident in your writing ability. You might have all the experience in the world and get this great idea to write a story resume, but if you cannot actually write it well or present yourself in a good way, it might end up costing you the job. You can always take the help of a friend too if you’re not too sure about your writing skills.

Things to Include

Once you’re past that, make a list of what to include in your story. It shouldn’t be too long but it should contain all the relevant information that you would include in a traditional document. Some important things to consider include your experiences, your motivation and inspiration, your successes, and how you have grown in your particular field and as a person. You should also include informal experiences in this story so knowing, for example, how to add shadowing to resume is important.

Short Paragraphs

It is very important to make your story easy to read. One of the easiest things you can do in this regard is to use short paragraphs. Break your document down into parts and talk about a particular thing in each part. Long paragraphs are not only difficult to read but often lead to a reader losing interest too.

Use Keywords

To create an ATS-friendly document, make sure to include relevant keywords in your story. To find such keywords, carefully read the job post and include certain words about the job from there.

Format the Right Way

There are a host of formatting tips you can use but make sure to follow the basics, at the very least. These include using a font that is easy to read, keeping a size that is not too big and not too small, and using bold and italic words to emphasize certain points, etc. You should also know how to add conferences to resume stories, and other similar types of experiences, properly.

An Example

Story resumes often look something like this:

James Matthew graduated from XYZ University in 2010 and immediately started his career working as a floor manager at ABC. As part of this job, he was in charge of A, B, C, and D. During his time at ABC, he learned how to A, B, C, and D.

A good idea with such a narrative format is to create separate paragraphs for each professional experience and then talk about it in detail before moving on to the next phase of the story.

Who Needs a Story-Based Resume?

Anyone who wants to stand out from the sea of applicants and wants to make a creative and interesting first impression can send in a story resume. If you are sending an unsolicited resume to a company just to tell them that you are interested in joining them, then sending a story-like document might be a good idea as you can engage the reader in a more personal way.

When Should You NOT Use a Narrative Format?

One thing to keep in mind is that such formats only work if you have a lot of experience in your industry to actually talk about. If you are a new graduate or have been working at a couple of jobs, you may not have enough to actually write a compelling story about in the first place.

Also, if you are applying for a job that requires an online application, you probably shouldn’t use a narrative format. That is because a lot of online applications are automatically screened based on included keywords and storytelling resumes are often not sent through. A lot of the time, your online application will not be seen by a person at all so it is best to send these in the formal format to ensure that they are let through by the software.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a narrative document of your experiences can let you stand out as an applicant, giving you the chance to engage the recipient in a more personal manner.
  • Such documents should have all the relevant information you would add in a traditional format.
  • They should be easy to read and not come off as a long essay.
  • They must be well-written and should showcase your skills, successes, learning experiences, motivations, and future aspirations.
  • They should be avoided if you do not have a lot of experience to bring to the new company.

FAQ

What should I include in narrative resume?

You should add all your prior professional experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for, along with your achievements and goals.

How to use storytelling in a resume?

You can write your past experiences like a story of yourself, detailing how you started working in your field and how you have grown to be where you are in the present time. The story you create should be well-written, engaging, and not too long.

Who can help me write a resume story?

We have reviewed many of the resume writing services that are available these days to help you choose the right one for your needs. However, there are a number of scams out there that you should always be wary of.

Images are taken from Unsplash

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