Is it Time to Dump the Resume? Is Your Story Better?

Recently I talked to a company and I did not supply them with a resume. Instead I wrote a story. My story.

It contained not only my professional background, but part of my personal story – things I felt were important in developing who I am as a human being – and things I was proud of.

It was about a page and a half long – longer than any resume I have ever submitted.

But both of the people I met with told me that my “story” was better than any resume they had read. One offered that it was the first “resume” he had ever read from top to bottom.

In this day of widespread online presence – the ability of potential employers and partners to find out a great deal about you – perhaps resumes just don’t work anymore. Or they don’t work well enough.

Perhaps telling your story in your own words is more effective.

Or at least more engaging. I don’t claim to offer an educated opinion here – I just know that my story was more interesting to these people than a resume. So maybe there is a subtle shift going on.

Time will tell.


  1. @Deannie .. I have come this far with my comments, that even if I DON’T mention beer of booze, others will do it for me! It’s inescapable! It’s just my fate.

    (Ha! There’s that ‘beer’ word again… ‘booze’ even!)

  2. deannie says:

    @Paul Claessen
    Hear! Hear! You are absolutely correct about the mode in which larger companies operate in order to screen large amounts of received resumes. I guess it was tacit (in my mind!) that Rob must be talking to a start-up or the business owner directly.

    It can be disheartening when you are looking for work to get no response. This time I relied 100% on my network and it was more effective in producing results.

    And really Paul, I just can’t believe you would post a comment without mentioning how you were likely kicking back drinking a beer when you sent out your resume both times! Maybe I should switch away from dirty martinis…? Naw…

  3. I don’t think such a “life story” should replace a resumé. Maybe, for certain job postions, complement it. Both serve different purposes.

    A resumé is good for a first rough selection.
    (For instance if some stupid company mandates a master’s degree for a certain job, and a resumé doesn’t mention it … you’re done with that candidate).

    Keep in mind that that are popular companies that receive hundreds (if not thousands, Google comes to mind) resumes per day. I know of companies that require a certain format of your resumé and can only be submitted online (they are screened by software!). I even have ben told by an insider once, which keywords were searched for for certain jobs. Is this a good way of selecting candidates? Probably not, but one has to remain practical: reading 1000 life stories a day isn’t doable either.
    So, while I persoanlly would favor the addition of a ‘story’ to a resumé, I have found out that ‘personal stuff’ is actually frowned upon in the hiring sector.

    In fact, in my previous job, where I had to interview people, official guidelines FORBID asking non-work related questions. Even innocent ice breaking questions like “do you have kids?” were strictly forbidden. “Did you have a good flight” was about as ‘personal’ as one was allowed to get.

    What I WOULD want to see is that companies who openly sollicitate resumes, are required, if necessary by law, to respond, within a reasonable period of time Рa few weeks-, with the results of their considerations regarding your resum̩. Even, or especially, when it is a rejection.
    I WOULD HATE it when a company ASKS me for my resumé and that would be the last I would hear from them … ever.
    (Disclaimer: This has never happened to me: in my whole life I have sent out 2 resumes, and they both resulted in a job, but I have MANY co-workers who have sent out tens of resumes and never got any reply .. that’s extremely rude in my book ..)

  4. deannie says:

    This makes complete sense to me as someone who has recently been in the job market…again. Let’s face it, a ‘good fit’ often boils down not just to skills as much as social skills quotient. And when you don’t fit…man, it can be ugly.

    Telling your story up front can help eliminate a lot of those questions. How cool!