Perhaps you are about to begin a job search, or maybe you are already long into the pursuit of a new job; either way, you may want to consider creating a professional narrative to speed up the process of submitting your resume to multiple positions. The purpose of a professional narrative is to document your entire career history in one comprehensive document making it easier to have the information you need when you need it. No more hunting for information, trying to recall a specific date, or smacking your head in frustration because you never wrote down the specifics of that huge project you pulled off ahead of schedule and under budget. You may think that you won’t forget, but after a few years it can become a muddled mass of positions, job requirements, and accomplishments.
A professional narrative is a running record of your professional history. As your career changes so should your narrative; you should be continually adding and updating so you have the most accurate document at any given time. Before you leave a position make sure you get all the necessary information related to what you did in that role so that you can add it to your narrative. Ideally you should be updating your narrative while you are at each position to reflect your responsibilities, certifications, classes, professional development, accolades, skills, professional achievements, and recommendations. You never know when a new opportunity might arise so it is to your advantage to keep your narrative as accurate as possible by adding the information as it happens.
When the possibility of a new position presents itself use your narrative as a starting point. You should never use your narrative as a resume since it can end up being a quite lengthy document, especially as you continue to add to it as you move throughout your career. Additionally, not all of the information may be relevant to the position you are applying to. Pick and choose the most relevant information from the narrative and cut and paste it into a new document. This can save you considerable time and energy if you are applying to numerous positions.
Creating a professional narrative will take some time up front to create, but once you have it you will significantly decrease the amount of time needed in the future to put together a variety of resumes that are customized for each specific position. You can quickly and easily cut and paste the relevant information from your narrative into a new document that specifically aligns with the job description. You do know that you should be customizing your resume for every position, right? Regardless if you are applying to three different sales positions, you should not be using the exact same resume each time. It may be only a slight variation, but each resume should be tweaked to meet the requirements of the different job descriptions. The keywords might be different or the job title might vary from one company to the next; it is these simple customizations that can make the difference.
Putting your entire professional history down onto paper can help you identify trends throughout your career and may play a part in pinpointing where your strengths lie and what areas of your career you enjoy. It may also direct you to a new career path by showing the areas where you excel.
Taking a little more time now to create a professional narrative will pay off in the future. When the time comes you will be able to create an accurate and efficient resume tailored to the position you are seeking by selecting the information from your narrative that best aligns with the needs of the position.
by Megan Koehler