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Storytelling can help you land your next job

809618775 cc40405ac3 Storytelling can help you land your next job
Photo credit: Felipe Morin

Companies hire you based on your experience, ability to solve their problems and how well you fit into the "culture." If you are called in for an interview, you've passed the first step. More than likely the hiring managers have already seen your resume or heard about your work. They know you have the qualifications to do the job - that's why you are interviewing.

The interview is the company's opportunity to evaluate your ability to handle its organizational challenges once you have the job. Since the hiring manager may not be the most skilled interviewer, it's up to you to demonstrate you are up for the challenge. This is why being an effective storyteller is so important.

Stories will help you interview better and land your next gig in a number of ways:

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  • Stories engage the listener and help you become a memorable candidate. People tend to remember stories more than straight facts. That's why the best history teachers are usually great storytellers. Turning your career accomplishments into short mini-stories makes you a stand out against the competition.
  • Stories help build trust with the listener. Stories give more detail to back your claims and explaining the details builds your confidence and the hiring manager's confidence in you.
  • Stories reveal your personality and your communication skills. It helps you and the interviewer determine what it will be like to work together.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Part 2: Star Approach to storytelling A History of Violence divx

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5 Comments - Add yours!

Louise Fletcher (December 8th, 2008)

I couldn’t agree more.

One of the main things missing from most resumes is context – don’t just tell me what results you achieved, tell me how hard it was to do it. Tell me what challenges you faced. Tell me what glass you had to crawl through. THEN I can appreciate the 10% sales increase you delivered. Without the story, I don’t even know if 10% is all that good (maybe the industry was up 20%).

I’ll be blogging this post this week because it’s such an important point. Thanks!

Christopher Drinkut (December 8th, 2008)

Lindsay, well said. Powerful insight there.

I recently (3 months ago) interviewed for a job that I thought fit my education and experience, represented where I am headed in terms of career and ambition, and I was geared for the interview.

As I approached the building (an art institute) the president (who would be my interviewer) stepped out of a neighboring building and we walked side-by side into the building, chatting along the way. All seemed to be in order.

But, the company “culture” ultimately won out and I declined accepting the job. It just didn’t feel right. I thought the work would really interest and challenge me, and the people were great, but the management style just didn’t fit (I need room to roam).

I hadn’t experienced the clash so smartly before (other times I have realized it only after I’m hired and 3 months into the job). It certainly is true that culture is a not-to-miss point in hiring and seeking employment.

I appreciate what you say about storytelling too. Powerful stories are easier to remember than facts. See you tomorrow for the next installation – and hey, why isn’t Brian Solis’ PR 2.0 on you blog roll? Just asking.

Katharine Hansen (December 9th, 2008)


I could not agree more; in fact, storytelling in the job search is my “thing.” I have a no-cost e-book on the subject, Tell Me About Yourself:
Storytelling that Propels Careers; the book is also serialized in this blog: A new edition of the book, in print form, published by JIST, and with a slightly different title (Tell Me About Yourself:
Storytelling to Get a Job and Propel Your Careers, comes out in April.

Lindsay Olson | Archivo » STAR Approach to storytelling (December 9th, 2008)

[...] I wrote about why storytelling will help you land your next job. This is a follow-up post on how to effective tell your stories in a job [...]

Lindsay Olson (December 9th, 2008)

Chris – As you experienced in your recent interview, the “fit” is just as important many times as having the right experience to do the job. 8+ hours of your life ever single day and countless moments outside of work is spent working within the organization and with the management and although one never can assure organizational perfection, your gut can does a great job of telling you whether its going to be right or wrong, assuming you are armed with questions.

Brian Solis isn’t in my blog rolls because… well I don’t have any reason why really. I read his blog, but wanted to keep my list short and change it up every now and again.

Thanks for your comments!

Louise, I read your blog too. I’ll be looking for your upcoming post!

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