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How to Use Storytelling to Ace your Interviews and Land the Job

by Carol Barash, PhD, on Dec 28, 2019 12:00:00 PM

Ready to enter the workforce and find a job that combines your passions and skills with a steady paycheck? Storytelling tools can set you up to succeed at every step of the career-building process.

Stories create powerful connections between people. In a job search, they can mean the difference between a run-of-the-mill resume and one that leaves a lasting impression (and advances you to the next round). Below are three simple tips from the Story2 Moments Method® toolkit that will make your resumes, cover letters and interviews stand out from the crowd.

Start with a Strong Magnet
When hiring for a new position, an HR Director’s first priority is to determine: "is this person qualified?" But they are likely sifting and sorting through dozens, perhaps hundreds, of resumes and applications. So help yourself and them by front-loading your most relevant skills and experience right at the top. At Story2, we call this a magnet – a compelling opening sentence that draws the reader right into the story and makes them want to know more. Establishing your qualifications in a clear, concise way at the very beginning will help your materials make it to the next level.

Bonus Tip: Include keywords from the job description in your resumes, cover letters, and online applications. Those are the skills the employer is looking for, so let them know you have them!

Demonstrate How You Will Make a Difference
Once you’ve shown that you have the skills for the job, you will move on to compete against people who are similarly qualified. So how do you distinguish yourself from other candidates who can all “do the job” to someone who gets the interview?

Shift your focus slightly – instead of asking what you will get out of the job, share what you have to offer, and how you will make a difference to the team. Then use specific examples from your history to show how you will help the company achieve its goals and deliver results. At Story2, we call this building a bridge between your past experience and future success. It’s a powerful tool that allows an employer to see your expertise and leadership in action.

Let Your Authentic Voice Come Through
You’ve ticked off all the boxes. Relevant skills? Check. History of initiative and resourcefulness? Check. But in addition to these important qualities, your employer will want to make sure they are hiring someone who is a fit for their team, someone with the temperament to succeed on the job. So let your own unique, authentic voice come through in your written and verbal communications. The strongest stories are born out of real lived experiences and common, everyday language. You don’t need fancy metaphors or flourishes. Just be succinct, authentic, clear – and express yourself as only you can!

One last thought: don’t give up. Job searches take time – sometimes many months and dozens of meetings until you find the job that is the right fit. So be patient and practice your storytelling skills. The ability to tell a compelling story – YOUR story – will ultimately help you land a job where you can learn, grow and make a difference.

Want to maximize your storytelling skills for career success? HirePower teaches you how to use personal stories to get better outcomes in interviews, resumes, cover letters and emails, networking and social media.