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The Secret Formula to Using Storytelling in Your CV

Storytelling in your CV can be the trick that just gets you in. Learn how to a craft compelling narrative that showcases your expertise in a memorable way.

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Storytelling in your CV can be the trick that just gets you in. Learn how to a craft compelling narrative that showcases your expertise in a memorable way.


Picture this: You're scrolling through dozens of job postings, feeling like just another faceless applicant in a sea of resumes. But what if there was a way to make your CV stand out and captivate employers? The answer lies in the power of storytelling in your CV.

By weaving your experiences and skills into a compelling narrative, you can create a CV that not only showcases your qualifications but also gives employers a glimpse into who you are as a person. 

But don't worry, you don't have to be the next Hemingway to master the art of storytelling in your CV. In this blog, we'll reveal the secret formula to using storytelling in your CV, complete with examples that will inspire you to think outside the box. So, grab a cup of coffee, get cosy, and let's explore how storytelling can help you land your dream job.


1. Start with a strong opening/hook

Your opening statement should grab the reader's attention and set the tone for the rest of your CV. Consider starting with an anecdote or a personal story that highlights your unique qualities or experiences. 

For example:

"As a child, I spent countless hours tinkering with broken electronics in my dad's garage. This early passion for problem-solving and innovation led me to pursue a career in engineering."

2. Build a narrative arc

When using storytelling in your CV, creating a narrative arc is a crucial element of the process. A narrative arc refers to the structure of a story, which includes a beginning, middle, and end. 

To create a narrative arc in your CV, start with an engaging introduction that hooks the reader and sets the stage for the rest of the story. Then, use the middle section to provide specific examples of your skills and accomplishments, and demonstrate how they relate to the job you're applying for. Finally, end with a strong conclusion that ties everything together and leaves a lasting impression.


Read also: Why you need to be a good storyteller to be successful at job interviews


A narrative arc in your CV provides potential employers with a clear and compelling picture of who you are, what you can do, and why you're the best candidate for the job.

For example:

“My journey in sales began at ABC Corporation, where I quickly rose through the ranks to become a top-performing account executive. During my time there, I built and managed a portfolio of key accounts, consistently exceeding my sales targets and earning accolades from both clients and colleagues.

From there, I moved on to DEF Corporation, where I took on a leadership role as a sales manager. In this capacity, I oversaw a team of 10 account executives and implemented new processes and strategies that resulted in a 20% increase in revenue over the course of just six months.

In my current position at GHI Corporation, I continue to leverage my expertise in sales and customer service to drive business results. I've successfully closed deals with several high-profile clients, including a Fortune 500 company, and have been instrumental in securing key partnerships that have expanded our reach and increased our bottom line.”


3. Demonstrate your unique value

Another key element of using storytelling in your CV is highlighting your unique value proposition. This means showcasing what makes you different from other candidates and emphasizing the unique skills, experience, and qualities that you bring to the table.

To do this, think about the experiences or accomplishments that set you apart from others in your field. What unique skills or perspectives do you have that can benefit the company you're applying to? How have you contributed to the success of your previous employers or projects?


Read also: How to prepare a STAR CV that will help you secure your dream job


By highlighting your unique value proposition through storytelling, you can demonstrate your expertise and make a compelling case for why you're the best candidate for the job.

For example:

“Throughout my career, I've demonstrated a keen ability to understand and anticipate the needs of my clients, build strong relationships, and deliver results that exceed expectations. I thrive in fast-paced, dynamic environments and am committed to continuous learning and improvement.”


4. Highlight your passion and values

Employers are often looking for candidates who are not only skilled but also passionate and aligned with the company's values. Use storytelling to demonstrate your commitment to your work and your values. 

For example:

"Throughout my career in healthcare, I have been driven by a deep passion for helping others. One of my proudest accomplishments was developing a new patient outreach program that improved access to care for grassroot communities."


5. End with a call to action

A call to action is a statement that encourages the reader to take a specific action, such as contacting you for an interview or visiting your portfolio website. 

Esther K. Choy's book "Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success" emphasizes the importance of integrating a call to action and revealing something genuine about the storyteller that others can relate to, evoking an emotional response.

To incorporate a call to action in your CV, consider ending your story with a clear and compelling statement that encourages the reader to take the next step.

For example, you could end with a statement like, "I would love the opportunity to discuss how my skills and experience can benefit your team. Please feel free to contact me at [your email address] to schedule an interview."

By including a call to action, you make it easy for potential employers to take the next step and learn more about you. This can increase your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the job.


Read also: 7 common CV mistakes according to this senior recruiter


Finally, keep it concise and relevant

While storytelling can be powerful, it's important to keep your CV concise and focused on the most relevant experiences and achievements. Choose stories that are directly related to the job you're applying for and avoid going into too much detail.

While storytelling is a powerful tool in making a CV more compelling, it should not overshadow or replace the essential information that potential employers need to see. Rather, storytelling should be used as a complementary technique to make your CV more memorable and help you stand out in a crowded job market.

Written by

Phil Ibsen

Phill Ibsen is a creative writer, scriptwriter and a storyteller who believes in telling the story as it is and not as it should be. He is the founder of Master of Descriptions, a production company which aims in showcasing authentic stories. He’s also an affiliate writer at the Writers Guild.

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