Telling Your Career Story: 4 New Approaches

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This article is part of Job Action Day 2014 and is reprinted here.

by Hannah Morgan

Standing out in a job search has never been more challenging. Companies receive hundreds of applications for a single job. Some recruiters will look at your resume for only six seconds, according to a study by TheLadders. To capture the attention of potential employers, you need to be innovative and try new methods to garner attention.

Historically, the resume was the only tool available to tell your career story. Today, you have many more options to draw attention to your career achievements, if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. You will still need a traditional text-based resume, but you can captivate your audience by supplementing your story by using these four new formats to tell your story.

Storytelling has been around forever. It was the earliest form of “edutainment,” the combination of educational and entertaining content. Good storytellers captivated an audience by using stories, which created mental images and formed an emotional connection. This combination resulted in memorable, sharable stories passed down through generations. Think about stories delivered by Steve Jobs, any TED Talk, or a Walt Disney 4movie. They all contain stories that have similar recipe for success. Garr Reynolds, founder of PresentationZen.com, one of the most popular Websites on presentation design and delivery, believes three basic elements contribute to every great story:

  • A problem is identified.
  • The causes of the problem are spelled out.
  • A resolution is envisioned and implemented.

1. Tell the Story of Your Career Through a Presentation

Your career has been dynamic. A resume is just words on a page and limits your ability to convey the true essence of your career. Why not use a dynamic format to show off what you’ve done? You will need to start by building a strong story. Think of it as your pitch. Create the storyline for your presentation as if you were answering the question, “why should I hire you?” And keep in mind the three-part formula; what is the problem you solve, what causes the problem, and how have you successfully resolved this problem in the past. The magic of storytelling happens when you incorporate powerful images and words to create a memorable story. Now you are ready to select the tool you will use to convey your message.

Tool choices include PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, Haiku Deck, Google Presentations.

2. Deploy a Portfolio To Illustrate Your Story

Artists, designers and models have used portfolios forever to show their work. Portfolios provide tangible proof they have experience. You can have an online portfolio, too. Show your samples of work, photos from events you attended, awards you’ve won, even customer testimonials. Embed these documents and pictures in the Summary or Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile to enhance your message and provide evidence you can do the job. And if you are serious about managing your online visibility, why not create a simple Website that hosts your samples of work and resume and serves as a portfolio. Complicated coding skills or a large budget are no longer required to create a personal website.

Tool choices include: Behance, Carbonmade, eOlio, LinkedIn, SquareSpace, Weebly, WordPress.

[Editor’s Note: See also this section of Quintessential Careers: Career Portfolio Tools and Resources for Job-Seekers.]

3. Convert Text Into Visuals

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics simplify complex ideas by using images. Convert your career story into an infographic resume as a supplement. Your LinkedIn profile can easily be converted into an infographic or you can create an infographic from scratch. But don’t stop there. You want to draw attention to your infographic. Add it to your portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and even within your presentation. Your infographic could be just the thing to capture the attention of 65 percent of the population who are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. See this recent post for more about infographic resumes.

Tool choices include: Beyond, Kelly and Visual.ly’s infographic resume, Kinzaa, PictoCV, ResumUp, Re.vu, Vizualize.me.

4. Tell Your Story through Social-Media Activity

Some career professionals and recruiters say that online search results for your name and social-media streams are the new resume. You are being googled, so why not highlight your activity in one spot for anyone to easily find. A social resume is another alternative for telling your story. Collect and show off your blog posts, tweets, Instagram photos, and other status updates to provide a real-time demonstration of your communication and social media savvy.

Tool choices include: About.me, Career Cloud’s Social Resume, Flavors.me, Pixelhub, Strickingly.

Final Thoughts: Don’t Hide Your Story Away In a Folder

Instead of relying on resume-posting sites and hoping an employer will find you irresistible, take ownership of promoting your talent
by sharing your story through multiple media formats! You’ve accomplished great things, and it is up to you to make sure that your
successes are visible outside your current company and are known to people beyond your manager.

Begin sharing your memorable story today.

For more information, see also this section of Quintessential Careers:

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author on job-search and social-media strategies. She delivers fresh advice to and serves as a guide to the treacherous terrain of today’s workplace landscape. Hannah’s experience in human resources, outplacement services, workforce development and career services equip her with a 360-degree perspective on job-search topics. Recognized by media and career professionals, Hannah is an advocate who encourages job-seekers to take control of their job search. Hannah is frequently quoted in local and national publications such as Money magazine, and she writes a weekly column for U.S. News & World Report. Hannah is the author of The Infographic Resume (McGraw Hill Education, 2014) and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success (Learning Express, 2013). You can learn more about Hannah on CareerSherpa.net and by following her on Twitter at
@careersherpa.