Effective Storytelling

Career Blog

Storytelling-v3Reader Question: Can storytelling help me on interview?

Yes. Assuming they are not fiction. If you have a flare for the fictitious be sure to bifurcate your endeavors. For example, my novels can be found at www.timtoterhi.com. Tall tales should never make their way into your resume or professional assertions.

That said story telling, when done properly, can bring to life your experiences. Those that highlight achievements, clarify learning points, or provide insight to your leadership style, decision-making skills, or communication ability can be extremely powerful during interviews. While each has a different structural frame, a great starting point for highlighting achievements for example is to break the story into three brief parts.  These include:

  • The situation your faced (the challenge, obstacle or antagonist before you)
  • The action you took (your protagonist’s journey)
  • The result you achieved (the measurable win or learning point)

In the world of books and movies this can be framed as:

  1. An evil emperor and his asthmatic, cape-wearing sidekick were hell bent on using the dark side of the force to control the galaxy.
  2. I sought a mentor, studied diligently, and once prepared, partnered with a band of like-minded professionals to foil their plans.
  3. While I was unable to capture the emperor, I did save the princess, destroy the death star and, in doing so, earned the respect of my peers and a special accommodation award. 

The professional world may call for different content, but the process remains the same. For example:  

  1. Our cash cow product line needed a fresh image to appeal to a changing demographic.
  2. I developed a new logo and branding strategy to appeal to a broader, youthful, global market.
  3. The design gave a new look to our products and increased sales by 10%.

Recruiters and hiring managers interview countless candidates, most of whom offer little more than stock answers and statistics. Storytelling is an effective way to convey your experiences in a more memorable way. Take a look at your most impressive accomplishments and try to reframe using the method described above.

Need a career coach? Contact me via www.plotlineleadership.com.

Be sure to check out my new book The Introvert’s Guide to Job Hunting and follow me on Twitter at @timtoterhi

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