A Tale of Two Emily’s: The Reader-Driven Resume

Two Emilys_r3We think in stories, dream in stories and react to stories. So why do we go so opaque when we have to write a resume?

We forget that it’s the stories behind the resume…the ones that interviewers will ask about that matter. “Tell me the one thing in your stint at XYZ Corp where something you did saved the day”…”  Instead we often fill resumes and our LinkedIn page–with job descriptions. “Managed a team of 7 direct reports…coordinated the reports due each quarter to management…was responsible for …” zzzzzzzzzz

Only a marginal step better is the accomplishment-driven resume. “Raised production standards 25% over 3 years by implementing…” Over a five-year span increased revenue 33%….” Better. But still not quite there.

What’s wrong with both approaches is they are writer-driven, not reader-driven.

The reader wants something altogether different. The reader wants a narrative. Why?  Because they need it. They are in the selling business. The business of selling you. Whether it’s an HR person conducting an initial interview or the hiring manager, that person has to justify and package you to their superior and other staff members.

Here are two take-aways from the hiring manager’s perspective on Emily. Which sounds better?

Emily #1:

Emily managed a staff of 12 developers at XYZ Corp. She was responsible for the timely delivery of two major releases and four minor upgrades within the last 24 months. She seems well thought of at XYZ. She was recently promoted from software architect to senior project manager.

Emily #2:

Without Emily, XYZ would never have been able to have the speed to market for that new launch. She’s one of the main reasons they pulled ahead in share and dominance. She knew XYZ had a window of opportunity to launch through and she drove her team to meet that incredible timing. We have to create the opportunity for her to do that here. We need her here. Now.”

Most would say Emily #1 has a good chance of being hired while Emily #2 is a shoe-in and can probably command a better compensation package.

So how do weave a narrative through your resume? Start by turning the process inside out. What do you want the hiring manager to say about you to others? You will be surprised where that will lead your resume. And it will prepare you better for actual interviews.

Never forget your resume is your narrative. Let it read like a story.

Ron Benza

© 2013 Benza Executive Development. All rights reserved.

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Find us on Google+