Project Storytelling in Technical Resumes


By Jennifer L. Hay

Storytelling is the best marketing and job search tool.

Project Storytelling for Technical Resumes.

Stories are powerful things. Throughout history, they have been used to capture attention, convey ideas, fire the imagination, and stir the soul. Stories can be used to send strong messages and influence people. Business leaders use stories to bind workforces together in common values and goals. Advertisers use stories to make us feel cool for using their product or pathetic for using something else. Lawyers and prosecutors use stories to demonstrate or deny motivation or to demonstrate guilt or innocence. Stories are so powerful that professional storytellers, such as journalists and cartoonists, can move people to action.

Stories can transform a dry and boring resume into engaging messages that capture the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Think about why its a good reason to pursue the art of storytelling to advance your technical career:

  • Stories are memorable. Most people retain the messaging of a story longer and with better recall than they retain numbers and statistics.
  • Stories are passed on and retold. People love to share a good story, so the reach and social impact of stories is typically greater than for numbers.
  • Stories invite personal involvement and engagement. Certain stories can let the audience “see themselves” somewhere in the story, bringing a higher level of engagement, communication, conversation, and overall involvement.
  • Stories motivate people to act. When stories become personal, they also become motivating. Stories are more likely to drive action than are statistics and numbers.

Project Storytelling is a powerful technique that helps to add dimensions and depth to your technical resume. Project stories bring out the things that make your career history interesting. A technical resume that simply lists the things that you produced and the technologies used is at best ordinary, and at worst boring. Your story is much more than technology and project deliverables.

The interesting story is about the path taken to produce those deliverables. What were the challenges and how did you solve them? Who did you work with and what were the team dynamics? What stakeholders did you work with and what relationships did you build? What were the lessons learned and how did you share them with others?

Explore questions such as the examples above to bring out the interesting things that become the elements of an engaging and memorable resume. Telling your stories to a colleague, friend, or professional resume writer lets you know when your resume should show personality, people, process, pragmatism, innovation, and more.

To see the power of storytelling, browse the examples above that illustrate project stories and how they translate to high-impact resume statements.

For those of you in analytics, learn how data storytelling can enrich your narratives and drive important conversations: read Ted Cuzzillo at

About Jennifer Hay

I’ve been writing technical resumes and advising on career transitions for almost 15 years.

Throughout that time, I’ve read numerous articles about best practices for IT resume writing. What I found in those articles is a lot of bad information because it’s the same advice they give for non-technical professionals. This is important because IT resumes are different.

I built this website to share what I’ve learned in my career. I think you’ll find information on this website that will help make your IT resume a success.