Does your resume look like an assignment for a creative writing class? Be honest. If you are using large chunks of narrative to tell your “story,” then that is how readers are likely perceiving your resume. And since almost nobody has time to read a short story at work, that is a perception that you want to avoid. If you are currently taking a narrative approach to your resume or are playing around with the idea, consider these three things:
1. Narrative makes it very difficult for readers to quickly scan your resume. You might say, “Good, I want them to read it closely!” The truth is that if a reader feels overwhelmed by your resume, they likely won’t read it at all.
2. Like them or hate them, bullet points – when written well – are incredibly effective. They are considered a best practice because they make it easy for readers to quickly grasp your achievements.
3. Density is the enemy when it comes to resumes. If your resume feels dense, then it is probably difficult for readers to pick out the important parts. You never want to make readers “work” to find your achievements and impact.
One of the main reasons that client sometimes request a narrative approach is because they believe it will make them stand out. And they are right. Unfortunately, a narrative resume may make you stand out – but likely for the wrong reasons. What will make you stand out even more is an achievement-focused resume that clearly and concisely communicates your impact.