How Your First Professional Resume Can Tell A Compelling Story

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Servies

Writing a successful resume takes more than just acquiring the relevant skills and writing them down on a piece of paper.

To tell a story about your professionalism, you need to understand why jobs exist in the first

 For more advice for emerging professionals,
check out “Knock Em Dead Secrets & Strategies
 For First Time Job Seekers” available on Amazon

place, and this in turn means understanding how business works. This is especially important for recent grads, who still think professionalism means getting up sometime prior to one in the afternoon.

According to Mark Babbitt, CEO and founder of, one of the top online communities for starting your career, “Resumes should tell a compelling story about what you can do. The biggest mistake we see is a list of what you did at a job versus telling the story of how your combined work experiences will enable you to do the next job well.”
Why companies exist
Companies exist to make money for the owners—as quickly, efficiently, and reliably as possible. They make money by selling a product or service, and they prosper by becoming better and more efficient at it. When a company saves time, it saves money, and then has more time to make more money; this is called productivity.
If a company can make money without employees, it will do so, because that means more money for the owners. 

Companies need problem solvers
Companies usually require a complex machinery to deliver the products and services that bring in the money. You can think of any and every job as a small but important cog in this complex moneymaking machine. Employing all these cogs costs money. If the company can redesign its machinery to do without that cog (automation) or can find a cheaper cog (outsourcing that job to Mumbai), it’s going to do so, end of story.

The only reason companies are willing to give you money is that, within your prospective area of technical expertise, problems arise which cheaper labor and automation can’t currently solve. Consequently, the emoloyer now has to hire someone with the technical skills to solve the problems that typically occur in this area. Employers hope to hire someone who wants to learn how to predict these problems and prevent many of them from arising in the first place.
You are a problem solver
It doesn’t matter what your job title is, you are always hired to be a problem solver. Think about the nuts and bolts of any summer job or internship you’ve held: at its heart, your job was chiefly concerned with the identification, prevention and solution of problems. When you did your job, the company ran smoothly and in some small way you contributed to profitability. That’s all any business wants to do: make money as quickly, efficiently, and reliably as possible. And when you anticipate, identify, prevent and solve problems for them, you are helping that company be profitable.
Once you have professional experience, your ability to identify and solve the problems that crop up in your area of expertise will become a big part of turning job interviews into job offers. At the start of your career, just your awareness of these issues and what you should be doing will help set you apart.

Using your social networks, identify either people doing this job now or managers of people doing it.  Establish meaningful connections, tell these people you are starting your career  ask them:
  • What are the major responsibilities of the job and the skills that help you deliver on them?
  • What are the problems at the heart of this job, the ones that crop up every week? How can these problems be prevented
  • What are the common problems that occur and how should they be handled ?
  • How does this job contribute to the success of the employee, department and company?
Ask these questions of half a dozen people, and you will develop a profile of how a consummate professional in your field goes about her job, even though you haven’t yet tackled these problems yet yourself.  For more on how even recent grads can develop these skills and these networks, see the just published,  Knock Em Dead – Secrets & Strategies For First-Time Job Seekers.

Your knowledge of why jobs exist and how business works gives you the skeleton of the professional you want to present in your resume and at interviews, your research into the mechanics of the profession is what will give your narrative substance. Combine them, and you can tell the story of a savvy professional even if you’re fresh out of school. 

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Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved

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