Are you a good storyteller?

I’m not talking about the “Once Upon a time…” kind of story here. (although if you have little kids that might be your forte). What I’m talking about are compelling career stories that bring to life the information on your resume and cover letter. Stories that provide examples and evidence to support your promise of contribution to your future employer’s success.

Why storytelling?

  • In an interview, providing examples of situations where you have used the required skills for the job is important for demonstrating that you have actually performed similar tasks and can therefore do well at this new job.
  • Other than demonstrating your skills, stories can also help highlight your personal achievements and the extent of your contribution to your firm’s success.
  • A good story makes you more memorable. As human beings our brains are wired to like stories. At the end of the day when candidates are compared you will stand out in the employer’s mind.

Not sure how to tell a good story?

Here’s a popular storytelling tool. Make sure to have 3-4 stories ready before the interview so you can pick and choose the best story to use at the right time.

1. The strong opening. This is a teaser preview of the story’s big punchline.

2. Positioning. Step back and briefly describe your job and company.

3. Problem statement. Describe the situation.

4. Your solution. Describe it, top level, executive summary style.

5. The proof. How successful was your solution? Use numbers to show this.

Modify this tool to talk about different skills and problems.

The general rule is Situation – Action – Result.

If you’re a junior or intermediate professional you might be thinking that you haven’t had a chance to have great successes, to solve problems.  The thing is, you can apply the same principles to smaller wins.

Want to know more about Storytelling? Here’s an interesting article from Forbes Magazine about the The Power of Storytelling at Work, and as a Job Search Tool.