This month, I decided to focus our newsletter on the importance of storytelling. In coaching my clients, I have noticed that although they have fantastic degrees and backgrounds, their ability to tell impactful stories is fairly limited. For me, storytelling is extremely important, whether you are looking for a new job or are interested in switching careers.
For example, if you are switching jobs, storytelling will allow you to talk about your background and how you got to where you are now. Or, it will allow you to highlight accomplishments and the value add you delivered to your company and/or client.
If you are a career changer, storytelling is key. It allows you to talk about that important event, phase in your life, or “ah ha moment” when you began to see a different side of yourself and how that different self could be transformed into a new career option (by using new skills and experiences and by emphasizing different values).
I hope you enjoy this article. If you have a great story to tell about looking for a job, a career change, or how you made a difference, we would love to hear about it. Feel free to e-mail me directly at email@example.com.
How Storytelling Can Open the Next Chapter in Your Life
One might think that storytelling is a lost art form. For centuries, storytelling was the only way history was transferred from one generation to the next. And, many of us remember our parents and grandparents telling us stories about what life was like when they were young. Their stories offered us a glimpse into their characteristics, their motivations, their passions, and their character.
So, some of us might not realize that this lost art form can play a significant role in your job search. Incorporating storytelling in your job-search process will give you the opportunity to provide your interviewer with a unique glimpse into your life and the qualities, passions, and character that you possess.
Here, we’ll describe how you can include storytelling in your job-search kit, and how to best use it.
What Do I Talk About?
Now that you know why storytelling is important, we’ll tell you how to tell a good story that is informative, revealing, and valuable.
The first question many of you might ask is, “How am I going to come up with a story that’s memorable? I haven’t rescued anyone from a burning building. I haven’t removed a thorn from a lion’s paw.”
Well, you’re right, but very few of us have either. What an interviewer would find enlightening is a simple story about how you made a difference. A story about how you volunteered to stay late to finish an important project when a co-worker was out sick is an important message to convey. Or how about the time you worked until 6 p.m., drove to your daughter’s soccer game, and then returned to the office and worked until 10 p.m. to complete a project that had to go out that night.
These are simple stories, but they speak to your commitment, your responsibility, your integrity. And, they tell your interviewer that you are an employee who can make a difference.
Your story doesn’t have to take a page out of the hit TV show Heroes; it just needs to reflect how your character and qualities can affect a work environment, and how you can make an impact on your prospective employer’s company.
When deciding on which stories to use, there are three factors to keep in mind:
• Make it personal.
• Stress your skills.
• Be a communicator.
In almost every job interview, your interviewer will say, “Tell me something about yourself.” This is your opportunity to tell a story that will be memorable—not one that should be on the front page of your local newspaper, but one that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates.
The best way to do this is to make your story personal. Your resume and cover letter will tell an interviewer a lot about you, but it won’t tell them how passionate you are about your career, goals, and commitment, or how dedicated you are to your co-workers, to your company’s vision, and to be the best at what you do.
This opportunity to tell your story will allow you to reveal your true personality in a way that your resume and cover letter could never do. It also gives you the chance to communicate your skills in a completely different manner. And, by doing so, you will show your interviewer your communications skills. If you tell a story about yourself and communicate the type of person and employee that you are, you also will be communicating why you would be a good hire.
What Are the Benefits?
The value you will receive in developing, rehearsing, and delivering your personal stories increases each time you tell your story. Obviously your goal is to advance your career and get that new job you’ve been seeking. But there are many other benefits.
Here are five valuable takeaways that you will receive by using storytelling in your job-search process:
• Build Confidence. Using storytelling will reaffirm your skills, values, and abilities to the most important person in your job search: yourself.
• Establish an Emotional Connection. Your story can be the emotional link between you and your interviewer through which you will be able to convey why you would be the right person for the job.
• Know Yourself Better. If you believe in yourself, and believe in your stories, you will come across as a secure, knowledgeable, compassionate, and sound job candidate.
• Establish Trust. Through your story, your interviewer will be able to better see the type of person you are, and why recommending you for the job would be beneficial to the company.
• Make Yourself Memorable. After the interviews are all over, and the candidates are being discussed internally, you want to be the one who stands out. You want to be the one who is remembered. You want to be the person of whom someone says, “He’s the one who volunteered to work several weekends to test the program so it would work for everyone else.” Or “He’s the one who filled in for a sick co-worker so the project wouldn’t miss its deadline.” Or “He’s the one who told us the story about…”
You want to be remembered, and telling a story about how you made a difference might make the difference for you, too.
Randi’s Recommended Reads
The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
http://www.amazon.com/Story- Factor-Annette-Simmons/dp/0465078079/sr=1- 1/qid=1161989819/ref=sr_1_1/102-7540306- 6856946?ie=UTF8&s=books
Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career coach and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid- career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.
If you would like more information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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