Creating a Resume that Tells a Story

A standout resume tells a story of your achievements and does not simply list the duties you are responsible for. Writing a resume highlighting your success may come easy for professionals who have defined, measurable goals. However, if you are working in a role where your impact is ambiguous or not exactly quantifiable, this may be a challenge.

Start by brainstorming either individual or team accomplishments—especially those that highlight relevant competencies as it relates to the position you are seeking. Then, search for data to support and add depth to your story. For example, instead of “Created a new training manual,” consider something such as “Created a 10 page training manual detailing more than 20 processes,” which tells a much more compelling story.

Review emails, reports, meeting notes, and performance reviews, etc. in search of data and accomplishments you can share on your resume. You may even stumble upon information you forgot about. However, stay clear of sharing confidential proprietary information.

Focus & Prioritize
Before you start dumping every detail into your resume, determine what skills and experience is relevant to the position you are seeking. This is especially important if you are making a career or industry change. You may need to reframe existing content on your resume to begin with the related matching core job functions or skills you demonstrated while performing various tasks. Also consider using a job board to research a few position descriptions and scan for key words to incorporate into your text.

Drive Your Bullet Points with Powerful Verbs
Now that you have your stories and know what skills and experience you need to focus on, it’s time to create strong bullet points. Begin each bullet point with a strong action verb if possible. If you saved an organization’s time or money, you can start a sentence off with consolidated or reconciled. If you brought a project to life, words like instituted or formalized is a great way to set the tone for a compelling statement. For a list of more action verbs, check out UMUC’s resume writing tutorial.

For additional guidance, visit CareerQuest today to explore UMUC’s career tools and resources available to assist in your career progression. If you have any questions, please contact your UMUC Career Services office at 240-684-2720 or

Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF, is a career advising specialist and adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University. Cathy’s career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, working as an admissions advisor. She also served as an academic advising and career services for over seven years. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.