The Storyteller: Write a Resume That Tells Your Personal Growth Story

You have a story to tell… and recruiters want to hear it!

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 the current end (where you are today).

In the process of seeking the next career opportunity, view your next step not as another end… but as a continuation of the your journey. 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? How do you become a storyteller?

Break the Story Down Into Chapters

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. Communicate those lessons; for example: “One of the fascinating lessons learned in my first role was the difference between marketing and public relations…” This change of perspective draws your listener in and helps her understand you are a learner and have a coherent story to tell.

Reveal the Character Inside the Character

As you unfold the lessons learned in school and work experiences, let the recruiter see your character. What made you uncomfortable about a decision you made? Is there a mistake you regret? What is your most rewarding moment so far? 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.


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, begin the next chapter…

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: “this character expects a challenge and is up to the task!”

These three components combine to become your personal growth story. Novels and movies end. But you don’t… and neither does your career.

Be a storyteller!





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Craig WortmanCraig 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. Follow Craig on Twitter!

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