My clients are well aware that the resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles I develop for them are premised on the stories they tell me about their careers, professional accomplishments, core competencies, integrity, goals  . . . .  the list goes on. The focus of today’s blog, however, is the stories prospective employees need to tell hiring authorities, as these are equally critical to successful employment and career advancement.

As prospective employees, you need to learn everything you possibly can about the company for which you would like to work. Your ability to communicate your potential value / return on investment to your potential employer directly relates to your chance for hire and your opportunity for sustaining employment that constitutes a “good fit.”

Having knowledge about your prospective place of employment will allow you to relate important anecdotes that prospective employers want to hear. To achieve this end, relate accomplishments, not responsibilities, but don’t get bogged down with the incidentals in your storytelling. Just as when I’m interviewing you to develop your career documents, I don’t ask you how many phone calls you made in a day (unless you’re perhaps vying for a job in telemarketing, which requires you to initiate so many calls an hour). Your objective is not to bore the prospective employer with inconsequential information. Your objective is to entice or compel the prospective employer to want to learn more about you, consummating with the ultimate question: “When can you start?”

Tell (truthful) stories that demonstrate results. Provide prospective employers with demonstrations of how you increased market share, slashed costs, reinvigorated employee commitment to customer-centric objectives, spearheaded change-management programs, delivered efficiency improvements, mentored newly hired staff, led training and development program, etc.  Concurrently demonstrate your work ethic, integrity, expertise, analytical skills, and / or ability to work either independently or as a vital team member.

Be aware that prospective employers often solicit stories from hiring candidates when they ask behavioral interview questions. Such sentences that begin with, “Tell me about a time when you …” or “How would you handle a situation such as …” indicate that prospective employers want to “know your story.”

Although there are no correct or incorrect answers to these kinds of questions, you want to be able to provide indications of your potential value to the company. When you relate workplace stories to prospective employers that demonstrate your potential value / return-on-investment, be prepared for the next likely question: “When can you start?”


February 16, 2016


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