Subtle Ways to Tell Your Story in Your Resume

Subtle Ways to Tell Your Story in Your Resume

A frequent theme of our blogs is limiting your resume to information that’s truly relevant to the position for which you’re applying. You should feel free to leave off your high school job serving fast food or your college job working retail if you have years of subsequent work experience. Also, listing only the achievements from your previous jobs can actually omit an important component of your career: your personal story.

Many of the clients I work with put themselves through graduate programs years into their career, while they were working full-time. This is no small feat! If you know anyone who has gone to grad school while they were working, you probably remember that period of their life as one of high stress and limited play. However, making this career move almost always pays off with greater career opportunities and a higher salary. It requires (and displays) real ambition to return to school when you already have a job. So, if you’re one of the many people who has done this, one way to highlight it on your resume is to stick it right into the job summary:

Manager, ABC Company
Managed a department of 20 employees. Directed all sales and billing. Earned MBA while working full-time.

Many job seekers have also performed years of consulting services on the side. Some do not include this on their resume, as they think of it as irrelevant additional information. Not so! If you have the business wherewithal to handle some amount of self-employment in addition to your regular job, that’s a valuable skill. And even if you don’t end up getting the job for which you applied, you may just gain yourself a new client!
Another way to spark great interview conversation is by including any education or work relevant to your personal passions or hobbies. I’m not suggesting that you put “likes to play golf” on your resume, but if you’re good enough to have won numerous tournaments, that shows dedication and skill that most people don’t possess. I recently worked with a woman who had taken more than 30 classes at her local culinary school over the years. I jokingly asked her if her retirement plan was to open a restaurant, and guess what … it was!

Ninety-nine percent of your resume’s content should relate directly to the position you’re targeting. However, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a few sentences that differentiate you from the other candidates in the pile. After all, hiring managers want to work with interesting people!

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