Friday, March 20, 2009

What's Your Job Story?

(photo by Desirée Delgado)

People love to tell stories. In fact, it is the most effective way for information to travel. Think of brands that you buy from. Most have a story. Think of a product recommendation from a friend, it usually comes attached with a story.

Looking for a job can be filled with those same stories. Through all the fluff and exxageration that fills resumes and cover letters, a story may be the glue that sticks in a recruiter's mind to grant you that call back, first interview or next step.

The most obvious place to insert a story is in your cover letter. Author Katharine Hansen, of "Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career" cites that;
In a cover letter, you can engage the employer, make an emotional connection, show results, and become instantly memorable by including at least one paragraph in the form of a powerful story.
Some examples the book shares include:
  • Stories of early interest in your career path and determination to reach your career goal.
  • Stories that depict your motivation, enthusiasm, and passion for the job you seek.
  • Stories describing specific projects you've led or collaborated on, including results.
  • Stories detailing problems you've solved for your employers.
  • Stories describing other accomplishments and successes.
  • Stories that reveal your personality.
  • Stories describing long-term interest in, knowledge of, and admiration for the organization you're targeting.
  • Stories that describe how well you fit in with the organization's culture, values, and mission.
  • Stories -- for new graduates -- of how your education has prepared you for the targeted job.
  • Stories that touch the heartstrings.
  • Stories to back up your claims about yourself.
  • Stories that tell how you are uniquely qualified for the targeted job.
  • Stories that capitalize on networking contacts.
  • Stories to explain unusual or potentially negative situations.
  • Stories to explain a career change.
  • Future stories that address employer needs and challenges and tell how you would address those issues.
When structuring your story, conduct it like a story that you have told countless times. You should be able to fluidly chat, maintain integrity and timeliness of the story without fail. Go back to the classic interview question, tell me about yourself, and think of ways to insert compelling and inspiring stories that sell yourself as a viable candidate for the position at hand. Be sure that that story paints a picture into the readers imagination and also stays on topic for the job at hand. No need to have handyman stories in a marketing cover letter.

What's your story Orlando? And how can you apply it to your job search? Let us know in the comments.

-Greg Rollett


Kathy March 20, 2009 at 7:20 AM  

Thanks for the shoutout for my book. Your readers might be interested to know that I'm local to the Orlando area. I live n DeLand.

Funny Interview Video Contest March 24, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

Interview Tips

*Don’t come to the interview drunk and then proceed to pass out

*Don’t bring your mom, children or pets

*Tell your interviewer how you love to sing opera, then bust out signing acapella

*Don’t tell any racist jokes

*Do not submit an “Impossible is Nothing” type video resume (if you don’t know what we are talking about please Google it…it is quite entertaining)

Katrina Priore March 30, 2009 at 6:55 AM  

I completely agree - great post, Greg. When others try to hire me to spruce up their cover letter, I basically interview them and find out WHY they are the ideal person for this job. If I believe the story, I am confident others will also. :-)

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