How Storytelling Makes Executive Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles Dazzle

by Meg Guiseppi on May 11, 2017


The purpose of both your resume and LinkedIn profile is to market the potential value you offer, gain interviews and advance your job search.

Your value to your target employers is, of course, measured by the various qualifications, skills and areas of expertise you possess . . . that is, your hard skills.

But the unique value you offer goes well beyond hard skills.

Employers want to get a feel for what kind of person you are. They want to get some idea of your leadership style and how you get things done . . . what you’ll be like to work with.

In order to brand yourself in your job search marketing communications − LinkedIn profile, resume, biography, etc. − you need to differentiate your potential value over your competition. That requires infusing some personality into the content.

After all, if you’re job searching effectively, you’re networking purposefully and getting your resume in front of human eyeballs, not just Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that scan and dump your resume into a database.

And you’ve written robust, SEO-driven LinkedIn profile content that draws search engines to it, but also appeals to and attracts humans.

With the content for your LinkedIn profile, and any other online profile, it’s all about balancing personal branding with personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Content that is an interesting read is more likely to be read.

That’s a tall order.

Especially with a resume, which can be a very confining document.

It needs to be concise and to-the-point − no arbitrary information included − to keep it to a reasonable length.

Fortunately, a LinkedIn profile is not so confining. Much more content can, and should, be pumped into your profile than your resume will allow, making LinkedIn an ideal place for storytelling.

The idea is to weave together your hard and softer skills in short points that drive home the benefits you’ve brought employers in the past.

People relate and connect better with people through storytelling.

How Storytelling Makes Your Executive Resume and LinkedIn Profile Dazzle


A storytelling device resume writers have been using for decades is the C-A-Rs approach, or Challenge – Actions – Results, also known by other acronyms such as S-T-A-Rs (Situation – Tasks – Actions – Results).

I have my executive clients choose 4-5 (or more) standout contributions they’ve made to companies, in terms of business value.

How The Challenge – Actions – Results Method Works

Using the C-A-Rs method, I ask them to keep their brand and value proposition to their target employers in mind, while working on the following exercise:


What was the specific CHALLENGE (or Situation) facing the company and/or your team? Were you/the company facing particularly difficult odds with this situation? What were the stakes?

2.  ACTION(s)

What specific ACTION(s) did you take to meet the challenge and improve things (whatever the goal was or whatever needed turning around)?

3.  RESULT(s)

What were the long and short term RESULT(s) that positively impacted the company? Did you meet the goal, improve things, and/or turn around the situation? How long did it take to see the results? Monetize the results and/or use metrics whenever possible – NUMBERS TALK!

I have my clients tell the story in depth, step-by-step, and tell them not to worry that they’re compiling too much information – their efforts digging deep are well spent.

After detailing the entire story, we go back, consolidate, and hone the information to create concise value-driven stories.

A tip – When writing each short (2 to 3 lines) story, lead with the big result . . . meaning numbers. Here’s an example for a CEO Consultant – Business Process and Profitability Improvement:

Salvaged 65% of over-budget, behind-schedule million-dollar Financial System IT project for $280M utility company. Banked on efforts already invested, redefined the approach, mapped out a new path, renewed confidence, and unified everyone toward the same path of success.

Developing C-A-Rs stories offers many benefits:

Prompts your memory.

It reminds you of key contributions you’ve made and how your strengths have benefited employers. This is the confidence-booster you need as you move into the sometimes daunting new world of executive job search.

Prepares you for networking and job interviews.

It helps you become accustomed to articulating your value in interviews and when networking. Have you ever been interviewed by an inept communicator? Someone who either hasn’t prepared, just doesn’t know what questions to ask to get the information that will help them assess you, or is so busy talking she never asks you any questions? Interjecting your tight, well-rehearsed stories makes her job easier.

Makes an impact at interviews.

In interviews, it helps you deal with behavioral-based questions – “Tell me about a time when you . . .” and any questions directed at your weaknesses. Prepare a success story that tells how you dealt with a weakness and came through for your company.

Elevates your candidacy.

It generates chemistry and deeper interest in your candidacy, better than merely stating the end results of your contributions.

Puts you in a positive light.

It helps people see how you leverage your skills and strengths to make things happen, and makes it easier for employers to picture you in action, making things happen for their organization.

Provides diverse, relevant content.

Because you’ll be developing several C-A-Rs stories, you’ll have enough to use different ones in your resume than your LinkedIn profile, and a few different ones for your cover letters.

Adds to your job search portfolio.

It can be transformed into a Critical Leadership Initiatives Summary, a stand-alone career document showcasing top contributions. See one I created for a CEO – Global Operations Management.

Take the time to create and rehearse several career success stories. Having them at-the-ready, to communicate what sets you apart, can be the deciding factor in landing your next great gig.

Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Help

Land a GREAT-FIT New Executive GigNeed help with personal branding, your LinkedIn profile, resume and biography, and getting your executive job search on track . . . to land a great-fit new gig?

Take a look at the services I offer, how my process works and what differentiates my value-offer . . . then get in touch with me and we’ll get the ball rolling.

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