Photo by Mark Sebastian
"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."—Novelist John Green
In my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with such rare books. Those experiences manifested cravings for words that shatter worlds and an ongoing pursuit of content that is bold, inspiring and thought provoking. That pursuit has since shifted to the digital realm where content roams free … everywhere … or more specifically (since I am after all Tahzoo’s Recruiter) to the recruiting realm, where resumes roam free … everywhere!! Not all resumes are created equal. With a bar set high by “content customers” such as myself, I have seen many trends attempting to reinvent the resume come and go, yet the resume stubbornly stands firm: standard, unimaginative, keyword driven, and confusing.
If your view of the resume’s purpose is an interview leading to a job then you have been missing out on the power of crafting your career story. After all, Maya Angelou once said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
The unexpected benefits of crafting your career story
- Writing makes you a better writer, induces clarity of thought and sharpens your ability to translate thoughts and experiences into words
- Approaching it as a creative storytelling process will remove roadblocks, fear and procrastination
- “Few people have the imagination for reality” (Goethe) … as the hero, author and narrator of your career story, lead your audience to what you want them to imagine, otherwise they’ll make up their own version
- Creative writing elevates your level of thinking … and a heightened level of thinking is everything
- Writer’s high: apparently, there is such a thing. Writing induces happiness. Anecdotally, I can attest to the validity of this claim as writing makes me very happy
- When you write your story in an empowering way, it will inspire you, and then it will inspire someone else ... inspiration, as we know, is a trait of leaders. So is narration. It is wise to learn the craft
- Writing is a transformative process of self-discovery and helps uncover insights you didn’t notice before
- At the end of the process you will have gained new intangible capital: knowledge, capability, personal growth
Be creative! Don’t limit the imagination! Borrow from best practices of poets, novelists, storytellers:
- Start with capturing your career essence in one sentence. This hook sentence will not only serve as your elevator pitch, but will strengthen your intellectual discipline. Writing is hard. Writing short ... even harder. Writing a one sentence story … nearly impossible: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead” –– Letter to a friend, author in dispute. For illustration purposes, here’s mine: Purple Squirrel Spotter helping build an inspiring company. (It took me years to craft this sentence.)
- Design your storyline from prologue to epilogue and all the chapters in between. Write it in way that is engaging, enticing and emotionally compelling bringing your individual journey to an inevitable outcome, converging and blending past, present and future through plots, twists, turns and a happy ending
- Understand the themes, tone and settings that underline and underlie your career story. Where does you career unfold? What are the rules of engagement? What archetype are you? At what stage of your journey are you?
- Use symbols and foreshadowing to inspire the reader with vision, becoming fully submerged in your story
- Your words need to bleed … choose each wisely and carefully. Not everything has significance.
Reinventing the resume might not be a lost cause after all … we can start by ditching the word altogether in favor of the more inspiring Career Story. Now that’s something I’d love to read.
Are you still not convinced the effort is worth a six-second glance that recruiter is likely to give your resume? I leave you with this:
“People ask me, 'What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?' and my answer must at once be, 'It is of no use. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever … (but) If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. How to get the best of it all? One must conquer, achieve, get to the top; one must know the end to be convinced that one can win the end — to know there's no dream that mustn't be dared … Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves. Have we gained success? That word means nothing here. Have we won a kingdom? No … yes. We have achieved an ultimate satisfaction … fulfilled a destiny … to struggle and to understand …”—George Mallory, Climbing Everest
I look forward to reading your story.