career interviews

Turning Resume Bullet Points into the Story of You

A boring resume simply does not do your story justice. When reduced to down to simple bullet points, even the most epic tales transform into snooze fests!

Consider this: What would it sound like if you condensed some of the tales of our greatest literary heroes into a standard, one-page format?

Harry Potter

  • Dean’s List member at Hogwarts’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
  • Integral member of Gryffindor’s Quidditch team as a first-year student
  • Highly skilled in spell and potion platforms, both desktop and mobile

Frodo Baggins

  • Coordinated adventures with innovative Fellowship of the Ring organization
  • Mentored underprivileged hobbits, including Sméagol
  • Directed complete overhaul of Middle Earth’s One Ring program

Employers are looking to hire candidates that not only fit the necessary skill requirements, but also are on a career path that aligns with their team’s aspirations. Don’t let your application materials undersell your story; instead, use the tools available to you and share with employers the story of you! Your passions, your career and the lives you’ve impacted along the way are what define you, not a couple bullet points on a sheet of paper.

If reading through your resume is making you feel down, it’s time to rethink the story of your career! Here are a few tips for taking the pieces of your application materials and transforming them into a clearly defined explanation of your professional journey:

Beginning, Middle…End?

Every good story has a beginning, middle and an end; it just makes it easier to read and understand! Start thinking of how to best structure your career’s story in interviews and online responses so that it makes sense to an employer. Is the beginning of your story finding a spark in college? Or do you want to begin with the first truly impactful role you held in your industry of choice? Once you determine your beginning, highlight a few key moments along the way that helped you to develop your skills and prepare you to take on new opportunities. As for “the end?” Your story in the interview room should lead you to its logical end – a new beginning at a new job!

Find the Positive

Every good story needs a bit of drama; negativity, however, has no place in the interview room. Instead of highlighting the bad, keep a commitment to positivity when telling the story of your career. For example, if you were fired from a position, consider the lessons you learned from this experience instead of detailing all of the things that went wrong leading up to this point.

Tailor to Opportunities

You would be amazed at how different a story can sound when you rearrange a few words here and there! When applying to a new opportunity, consider the best ways to apply your professional examples to the opportunity at hand. The responsibilities in a role you held that you highlighted in one interview might not be appropriate in another. Use the job description as a guide and highlight the greatest hits from your career that fit the situation.

Share

Taken together, your resume, cover letter and other application materials should tell a concise, cohesive story of your career up to this point and your aspirations for the future. Unfortunately, working on these materials day-in and day-in can make you blind to the big picture. Consider sharing your materials with friends and other trusted members of your network. If they read through the materials and cannot clearly define your story and career goals, it may be time for some rewrites.

In a world defined by one-page resumes and bulleted lists, it can be hard to remember that our stories are the most engaging things we have to offer. Break out of the boring and bring the chapters of your career to life!

Do you have any tips for transforming your resume into the story of you? Let’s talk in the comments below!

17 thoughts on “Turning Resume Bullet Points into the Story of You

  1. I do find that my story is way more than what’s in my resume however getting them into it is the trouble I have to think on it. I’m currently am looking for a career change within my field that’s the right match I know what I don’t want to do anymore and what i’d like to I know my likes and dislikes i’ll review my resume

    • Hi Nikita!

      Glad to hear you found your career path! Many people find their way into their dream jobs after learning what they don’t like to do, rather than simply finding what they like to do. Best of luck!

  2. I am looking for my dream job I went to school for coder and biller and I am currently working at an call center and ready to get away from there

    • I completed the medical coding and billing program from Career Step LLC, 2014. I was hired as a coder, summer 2015, but it ended Sept 2015. I maintianed my quality scores in coding outpatient same day surgery. Problem there was no support from the facility for me to succeed in the field. Am still applying for jobs in HIM/medical records. I conclude the geographic area where I live is at fault/the facilities and their requirements and I’m not giving up. I came from the merchandising/marketing field–where I earn a living plus UC. Stay updated with guidelines/code changes/join AAPC or other.

  3. Thank’s for wonderful guidance. I will rethink and again analyse my CV. Your Guidance will help to improve my profile.

  4. I do find it hard to tell my story without it being lengthy. I would like to show more positive and important skills and experiences of my professional work history without making it boring as well.

    • Hi Audrey! Great question. This is when it helps to think of a beginning, middle and “end” to your career story. Try zeroing in on a few key moments in your professional journey to tell an employer of how you got here and where you hope to be.

  5. Wow, So many talented Applicants don’t even get to 1st. Base due to a Boring Resume. I’m subscribing to your informative newsletters.
    Thank You

  6. Hello, I like your guidance, however, I do not know where to go from here. I have an administrator asst background, and accounting. I worked retail past 21/2 yrs and can’t get back into the workforce. Can you help me?

  7. The article provides good advice. I will make some changes to the online profiles I currently have or delete them all together. How many associates or friends would be considered too many? I currently have 317 friends on Facebook which includes family and the class of 1995 Apollo High School Alumni .

    • Hi Selena! Thank you for joining the conversation. I wouldn’t bee too concerned with the number of connections you have on social media; as long as they are meaningful for you! It’s most important to showcase an authentic, professional representation of yourself.

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