Imagine a journalist or an average person browsing the web and conducting research into the careers of professional angel investors and venture capital specialists. Do you think these researchers would prefer reading a resume or curriculum vitae instead of a few narrative paragraphs?
In the case of the journalist, let’s say she comes across the website of a venture capital firm where the principals have posted their resumes in bullet point style. She would probably think: “Oh great, now I have stated facts that I can work on validating, but then I still need to weave a narrative for my story.” If she instead finds a short biography consisting of a few paragraphs, she would likely think: “Nice, that is what I am looking for; I will validate as usual, but I can also quote directly and create a smooth narrative for my readers.”
Let’s now put on the shoes of the average researcher whose motivations may vary from that of the journalist. We see a resume and we might glance at it and wish we had come across a biography instead. We can’t help but to do this because we are not recruiters, headhunters, or human resources specialists focused on filling work positions. We just want readable information. HR managers, on the other hand, are laser-focused on quick bites of information about candidates, and they have to sort through dozens and sometimes even hundreds of resumes, which they prefer to be outlined.
Let’s not assume that HR managers and recruiters are the only ones looking at resumes. Imagine that a prestigious university in California is looking to hire a senior professor for its philosophy department; although HR will have the final say in terms of hiring, chances are that fellow professors will lend their opinions on the new hire. Do you think top educators in the field of philosophy are going to be impressed by one-liners on a resume? These are thinkers for whom reading is their life; they will be better served with a narrative resume.
We are seeing more professional experiences being listed as narrative paragraphs on business platforms such as LinkedIn and Crunchbase. Narratives like this bio are engaging and easier to read; they can be appreciated by all kinds of individuals. Some old school HR managers may not be too enthused about narratives because they are skimmers, but they know that they can always ask for a more traditional CV or resume if there is interest.
For all the reasons above, we can safely say that narrative resumes are here to stay, and the more natural they feel, the better they can convey experience and intent, especially at a time when all of us are hooked on reading online content that has an engaging effect. There are several examples of modern narrative resumes besides those old templates offered on Microsoft Word. We are past the point of being fooled by casual reading styles; most of us actually crave narratives because they do not read like a police report or a lengthy court summary.