In spite of the long hiatus since the last post, StoryRoute keeps welcoming visitors from around the world. Recently one of those visitors contacted me about a storytelling service unlike any I had ever come across.
Andrea Martins is the founder of Story Resumes, a company that promises to “transform ordinary resumes into extraordinary ones.” A quick look around the site convinced me the company can deliver the goods. I was on screening committees for new hires many times and can attest that nearly every resume is yawningly similar. If any of them had come through with the pizzazz of a Story Resume, I would have put it right on the top of the pile.
Obviously you still have to deliver the goods in an interview and at work, but a Story Resume just might be the difference between being overlooked and landing the right job.
In the interview below you will meet the creative woman behind this refreshing new approach to standing out from the crowd of job seekers.
Cathryn: Andrea, I really enjoyed your personal success story (shown here in comic form). Can you tell us more about how your job search experience inspired Story Resumes?
Andrea: Sure. Looking for work can be an incredibly frustrating experience. It starts with the thrill of possibility, but it often quickly sours into a deafening silence of no responses. Inexplicably, recruiters overlook your superpowers and before you know it, you’ve fallen into a self-doubting pit that’s hard to climb out of. My experience was no different.
In late 2012, after months of getting nowhere, I tried a different approach. I turned my resume into a story (one sentence for each of my ten PowerPoint slides) and had my story illustrated to add flavor and feeling.
At the time, my approach was a little experimental, and I wasn’t sure how it would go. But thankfully it turned out to be the tipping point that I had needed all along because recruiters and company founders (on the other side of the world) started writing responses to my job applications and phoning me within hours of receiving my creative resume — offering me interviews, and later, offering me jobs.
I accepted a few of the jobs/projects, but on the side I started developing Story Resumes to help fellow frustrated job seekers shoot to the top of a recruiter’s job applications pile.
Cathryn: Can you share more examples like yours of how storytelling is being used successfully in job search?
Andrea: Absolutely. Jens Lennartsson is one of my favorites. He created and mailed out 400 GI-Joe-type action figures of himself (with a brochure showcasing a sample portfolio of his work), to relay his story and value in a very visual, touchable and tangible way.
Pharmaceutical copywriter Jon Ryder is another favorite. He made a fake medicine box that incorporated his resume on (and in) the box. Such creative genius to spin your resume into a story like that!
We’ve also interviewed some wonderful success stories on our site. For example: James Corne created an Alcoholics Anonymous parody video to tell his story; Miruna Macri designed a fake passport and conveniently lost it in the ad agencies she wanted to work in so that the right kind of people would pick it up and be curious about her story; Joshua Drummond shared his resume story as a comic book; and Jack DeManche turned his resume story into a subway map!
Cathryn: Do you see these examples as a passing fad, or as an indication of what’s in store for the future?
Andrea: I see storytelling being used more, not less, in job search. Very few people stand out on a traditional black-and-white paper resume, and judging by the number of creative resume stories now being promoted in mainstream media, I believe that job seekers are starting to realize this. In the years to come (in some industries), I see more creative/storytelling resumes being submitted than traditional resumes. Because if you’re not doing it, your competitors will be. And it’s no surprise which candidate would grab my attention more if I were a recruiter!
Cathryn: Thank you very much, Andrea, for sharing these inspiring examples and insights. I wish you and Story Resumes every success.