Master the art of storytelling in your CV.
It’s National Storytelling Week here in the UK, so in the spirit of all things story-related, we’re looking at how you can utilise your CV to tell the best version of your career story.
With the UK labour market on the rise, job seekers may feel empowered to finally take the steps towards their fairy tale endings ‒ their dream jobs. In this type of job search, it’s more important than ever for every job seeker to view themselves as a self-marketer, with their CV being their strongest marketing tool. Gone are the days of simply listing your experience and hoping for the best. Instead, today’s labour market calls for candidates to leverage one of the most effective marketing strategies used in both corporate and personal marketing to enhance their job search: storytelling.
Keep reading to discover five ways you can master the art of storytelling in your CV to capture the attention of the reader, show off who you are and land that coveted interview.
Be your own main character
Employers are looking for more than just your skills and qualifications on your CV ‒ they also want to get an idea of who you are as a professional. When curating your career story, remember that you are the central character of this narrative, and it’s important to show that you are more than just a laundry list of responsibilities and skills.
Ensure every element on your CV works together to build a complete picture of your character. Utilise your work experience to illustrate your career history (similar to a character’s backstory), and then support this information in your skills section and personal statement.
When an employer reads your CV, they should be able to clearly identify who you are, what you’re looking for and how your experience qualifies you for the job at hand. And lastly, to keep it about you, remember to always write in absent first person.
Centre the story around your job goals
‘Think of your CV as a strategically positioned marketing document,’ says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopCV. The key is to not only showcase the qualifications and experience that you’ve developed throughout your career but to also do so in a way that directly addresses the needs of the position you’re currently pursuing. This means that when you’re tailoring your CV, it’s perfectly acceptable to minimise the real estate spent on positions which don’t support your current career goals in order to free up space to focus on those positions that do. Select the information you choose to share based on what will best support and demonstrate the career story you are trying to tell.
Open with a great introduction: your personal statement
A strong opening is a fundamental element of any great story, and your CV should be no different. Your personal statement should cover the top third of the first page of your CV and serve as an effective introduction to your professional career. Begin with a job title or headline that clarifies to the reader the role you’re targeting, followed by your elevator pitch.
Your elevator pitch should be no more than five lines and should demonstrate how you can leverage your skills and experience and be an asset to your intended employer. ‘Within this section, aim to communicate your record of achievement, experience level, value, industry (assuming this is relevant to your current goals) and your immediate career goals,’ adds Augustine.
Your personal statement will set the tone for your CV, so it’s important to get it right.
A good story needs to be presented well. Make the most of your CV by presenting it in a clean and easily readable structure. Use subheadings for each section and clearly separate your different roles so a reader can comprehend your timeline.
For your work experience section, separate each listing into two segments: a short blurb which summarises your position, and then a bullet list which highlights your most relevant duties and achievements you wish to convey. This will ensure your CV is easy to read and that your key experience doesn’t get lost in heavy blocks of text.
Show, don’t tell
Employers want to see evidence of your skills. Therefore, everything that you list in your skills section should be supported or demonstrated in your work experience. ‘Don’t assume readers will connect the dots on their own,’ says Augustine. ‘Make it obvious how you’ve utilised a skill or your knowledge to solve a problem, complete a project or create a positive result for the company. Ask yourself: At the end of the day, how can I demonstrate that I not only possess the skills and experience the company is looking for, but I’ve been successful in leveraging these in my prior work?’
We grow up surrounded by stories told by some of the world’s best storytellers, and your career should get the same attention. Let a professional career storyteller ‒ like a professional CV writer ‒ tell the best version of your career story. Click here to learn more about TopCV’s professional CV-writing services.
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