I found myself welling up with emotion as I watched the Rabbitohs bruise the Bulldogs over the weekend.
Not because I have a strong allegiance to either club (I haven’t).
Not because I care much about football (I don’t).
This was the most watched NRL grand final in history not because die-hard fans came out to see great football.
It happened because everyday bystanders like me got swept up in droves by the desire to hear the punchline of a great story, which was bigger than rugby league itself. And the story goes something like this:
Will 43 years of pain be washed away in a fairy-tale ending for boys from Redfern who, only 10 years ago, were broke and kicked out of the competition?
We were captivated by other stories that night, of course.
The story of courage by Sam Burgess who played with a broken eye socket inflicted by his best friend and arch nemesis James Graham.
The story of high-flying celebrities Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court saving a club with its roots proudly deep in the working class.
And, underneath it all, one of the oldest stories of all – one of underdogs facing off regular grand final bad boys.
Humans Get Swayed By Stories.
So what does all this have to do with job search and well-written resumes?
Employers want you to tell them your story. They want to feel on the edge of their seat, waiting for a series of punchlines which hammer home the answer to the most important question they have – “can this person solve the problem I have in my business?”.
Unfortunately, most job seekers do the opposite. They bore employers by sending in a resume that’s full of dry facts, attached to a cut-and-pasted cover letter which lists more (and often repeats the same) facts.
A great job application tells a great story.
You might not believe it, but you have a compelling story to tell.
It features a protagonist (you), it may feature supporting characters (your bosses, colleagues and subordinates) and it revolves around reasons you’ve chosen your career, around your career moves, achievements and even failures.
And this story is the key to getting the job you want. It simply needs to be told in a way which captures a recruiter’s imagination and makes them want to find out more.
Telling Your Story Through Your Resume.
If you want to captivate a recruiter or hiring manager with your resume, you must:
Ensure your resume has easy-to-read, contemporary layout and – most importantly – goes beyond listing dry facts and skills. As one of my clients recently said in her review of my resume writing services, you must convert your skills, experience and strengths into a persuasive OFFERING.
To ensure your resume gets noticed, I suggest that you don’t send it in without a targeted cover letter which uses storytelling to draw a potential employer in.
It’s true that some employers don’t read cover letters these days, however it’s also true that some rely on them heavily. You’ll never know which of those types is screening your application, so it’s better to be over-prepared than to fall short.
Generic cover letters address only the “WHAT” questions – for example, what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved, etc. A captivating cover letter will also give answers to the “WHY” questions – that is – why you’ve done what you have, why you think something needs to change, etc.
The Final Touch.
No pun intended there 🙂
Finally, add polish to your job application by creating a professional-looking LinkedIn Profile which expands on (note: not repeats) the story which you began to tell in your resume and cover letter.
If you are competing neck-and-neck for a job with a few candidates, a recruiter will typically turn to LinkedIn to help him/her decide who to call.
A candidate with the most captivating LinkedIn presence typically wins.
I hope that this helps you during your next job search. If you have any questions about weaving a powerful story through your job application, just drop me a line.
But for now, enough serious stuff. Let’s enjoy the highlights of the game once again (notice how powerfully the story comes through the commentary):