As marketers, we know how important brands are. When it comes to developing one for ourselves, particularly with the pressure of job hunting, it's more challenging. As the CEO of “You,” you know that what you do and don’t do, say and don’t say, and how others perceive you, form the basis of your personal brand. In an interview, do you have the "tell me about yourself" internalized? Do you have an example to share of some impressive success?
It all boils down to telling a good story. About you. About your accomplishments. About how you, in your own way, changed the world.
If you didn’t hear about our “Personal Brand Re-boot” program, you’re still in luck. Our mission is to help all marketers in the DMV whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic with getting their professional lives back on track. Storytelling may seem like it’s an activity better suited for bedtime than a job search, but think again.
Consider impactful leaders, such as Steve Jobs, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King. All told great stories. And think of movies and TV. Global 3D box office revenues were valued at $6.5 billion in 2019, and TV and video revenue worldwide were $286 billion. These entire industries are based on storytelling! If Hollywood doesn’t convince you stories are a great way to engage and to help others understand your perspective, well, read on.
Why do stories matter to you as a job seeker? The whole job search process is about telling your story. Once you understand the storytelling framework, you can develop your elevator pitch, LinkedIn profile, accomplishment stories, and other communication you use in your career journey. You will come across as more confident and in charge of your career because you are comfortably sharing stories about yourself and how you made a difference in the past and how you will bring similar value to a prospective hiring organization.
We couldn’t do it without our expert business storyteller Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller®. Ira took our lucky program participants through a highly engaging and practical workshop to develop and improve the three most important parts of a “compelling You” through the lens of storytelling.
Here are the key takeaways:
- Companies hire on potential: Frame everything you talk about in an interview around the problem(s) you are solving for them. Ensure you can answer the following three questions:
- What problems are you solving for your target audience?
- How will the world around your target audiences improve? Share the value they will receive from hiring you (think “Promise a better tomorrow™”). Don’t make the hiring manager work to figure it out!
- What are the three things making you stand apart from your competition?
- Have a synchronized “Better Tomorrow Message™” across your job search tool kit, including your resume, LinkedIn profile, and elevator pitch.
- Be interesting. Everyone is. To quote Dr. John Medina, “We don’t pay attention to boring things.”
- Go from BBQ stories to business stories. BBQ stories are the stories you tell every day. Business stories are BBQ stories told deliberately in the workplace and have a clear business message that addresses specific problems and issues.
Every life experience can be a great business story. Once you enter into a storytelling mindset, the world will become a richer place for content and inspiration.
Like any skill, you can’t just create one story and off you go. To really become an impactful storyteller, Ira suggests:
- Create a support group. It’s not only more fun, but the group can share stories and help each other improve.
- Develop your story library. Every great business storyteller has several solid stories to pull out when they need to convince others of a good idea or perhaps to persuade them of doing something differently.
- Practice, practice, practice.
"A great workplace story is a universal message wrapped in your personal experience.”
- Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller®
If you need further convincing that storytelling is not only a nice to have, but also a need to have skill when looking for your next opportunity, remember:
The great stories you tell will differentiate you from the competition. They will set you apart. If all the candidates for a position are equal in skills and expertise, the decision will come down to demonstrated potential.
"We are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story."
- Jerome Bruner, PhD / Cognitive Psychologist
You want the hiring team to answer a resounding “YES!” to “Will this candidate (meaning you) hit the ground running? Will you fit in with our culture? Are you a low risk hire?”
Our advice? Tell (more) stories.
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash