“Once upon a time…” [Tell Stories – Get Hired]

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10 Engaging Ways to Get Hired by Telling a Story.

Who could have imagined that  the ability to be a good storyteller could be one of the hidden keys to secure a good job? But it’s true. Whether you are networking and building relationships, or actively looking for a job, telling “your story” can truly springboard your job search and career advancement.

Especially when searching for a job, or preparing for the interview, your ability to engage the recruiter with a well-developed story about your experiences and skills is probably the single best way to stand out during the entire process.

Remember, employers hire people – not resumes. And thus, stories allow you to demonstrate competency and passion in a way that a resume never can. Your hard skills are what typically bring you to the interview table. From then on, it is up to your soft skills to take over – and ability to engage through storytelling that can differentiate you from the competition.

Employers often ask behavioural-based interview questions, like “give me an example of a time when you set a goal for yourself” and “the steps you took toward reaching that goal” or “tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult situation, delivered a difficult project, demonstrated leadership” and so on.

Here’s where you can confidently answer them by sharing an experience from the past. Through stories that exemplify soft skills like ‘articulate communications, organization and research, leadership, teamwork’ etc, in a unique, authentic style.

A great way to engage your audiences is to format stories in the STAR format:
S – SITUATION – What were the circumstances that you faced?
T – TASK or TACTIC – What was your strategy and thinking?
A – ACTION – What action did you take to complete the task?
R – RESULTS – What was the measurable impact of your work and effort?

Good candidates ace their interview sessions by prefacing  the STAR methodology with “as you can see on my resume.” They focus on anecdote proven past experience to predict behavioral future success.

The STAR technique is highly recommended to organize and frame stories. The best interview stories demonstrate your skills, interests, and motivations in action. You will want your prospective employer to see you at your best in your interviews, so take the time prior to your interviews to practice verbally sharing your stories.

Remember:

  • Your stories should be personal and should include details that make them specific to you, your experience and your accomplishments.
  • Keep your stories short. One to two minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s world.
  • Make your stories to the point, but be sure that they include a beginning, middle and an end.
  • Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message you want to deliver, and the one that will linger.

As you work to fine-tune the stories relevant to your life and career, here are 10 useful tips to improve your storytelling abilities:

Think about your story like a movie. As the screenwriter and director of your story, make it interesting by starting with a challenge and concluding with an overcoming angle. 

Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations.

Stories shared with passion can help add meaning to your accomplishments, career transitions, or important decisions you’ve made.

Stories help you know yourself and build confidence. Not only can telling stories enable others to know you better, but they can help you get to know yourself better.

Stories establish trust. Trust is becoming a rare and high value commodity in recruitment. As a job seeker, you can quickly gain an employer’s trust by integrating a story in your interview.  

Stories help you stand out from many other job-seekers who are also vying for the same position you seek in probably less engaging ways.

Stories illustrate skills, accomplishments, values, characteristics, qualifications, expertise, strengths, and more.

Stories explain key life/career decisions, choices, and changes. Especially revealing to employers are personal and career stories about coping strategies, choices made under pressure, and lessons learned from mistakes and failures. 

Stories establish an emotional connection between you and the listener and inspires them to take the desired action in your interests.

Stories told well help to portray yourself as a strong communicator. 
Effectively using stories in your job search offers the further benefit of articulating your communication expertise, which is precisely the employer’s first preferred skills, regardless of the profession or industry.

Go ahead, tell a great story, get hired and live happily ever after.