Story-tell your way to your next jobby Robert Hellmann
Telling stories about your experience is one key to making a powerful presentation in the job-search process. Illustrate how you can help an employer by using interesting examples from your experience. Go beyond just telling them what you are good at or what you can do. Give examples– paint a word-picture. Organize your thoughts and presentation using a story-telling format. One example of such a format is Situation/Problem-Action-Result, or SAR. That is, describe the situation or problem your department faced, then the action you took to improve the situation, and lastly the result of your efforts.
Don’t give too much detail, or too little. Rather, focus on making it interesting! Use images, and even drama. Your presentation will resonate far more with your audience when you do. Some clients pretend they are telling the story to a child, which makes it all about interest and drama, and not about boring detail and jargon.
Here’s an example. An interviewer asked one of my clients “What is your greatest strength”. This client didn’t just say “My analytic skills” and stop there. Instead, she said “My analytic skills. For example, two years ago we were seeing a retention problem with our accounts—people were leaving in droves. No one was sure why or what to do about it, and it was threatening the department’s plans. So I took the initiative to analyze the data. I looked at x, y, and z. It became clear to me that the people leaving were all related to one product where we had recently changed the service terms! So I presented my findings to management, and suggested they do x. They adopted my recommendation and over the next six months our retention problem reversed itself!” (Yes, she got the offer)
At the Five O’Clock Club, we recommend that you have two or three such stories ready to share in an interview, examples that are highly relevant to your potential employer’s needs or situation. Look for opportunities to tell these stories throughout the interview (and getting-interviews) process.