It is perhaps the enigma or charismatic effect of a story that keeps people glued to it; the art of storytelling comes naturally to each individual, but they do not realise the efficiency that this resource carries with it. Telling or listening to stories has from time immemorial been associated to narrating an incident; but here are the modern times, when development has taken place in every aspect of life, and people have learned to use their resources intelligently. That is why ‘storytelling’ has acquired importance in the professional field.
Since stories have an enchanting effect and the ability to draw attention towards them, experts reveal that this works as a great tool in convincing recruiters in a positive direction. You can use it as a ‘trump card’ to win the hand of association with a company, in your resume, your cover letter as well as your interview. You simply need to know how to design a compelling story without exaggeration and deviation.
You must be wondering if a resume has to be limited within the space of two pages, then how is storytelling possible? See that is what you should not get confused with; by telling a story, it is meant here as a way of giving your details in a fascinating way that can keep the recruiter engaged with your resume. It has been found through analysis that a resume with a story finds a place in the accepted pile of resumes more often than one with the boring conventional way of information that is provided by the potential employee.
The profile summary section on your resume is the best place, to begin with, a bang; of course, you do not have to give it the “Once upon a time..” touch, but surely, you can introduce yourself more creatively. Instead of the traditional beginning like “Dynamic, motivated and proficient individual with a remarkable record of managing projects from inception to execution….”; try something like “ Have been managing projects from scratch to make a mark in effectively hiking the sales…..”. Your aim here should be to catch the attention of the reader at the first instance, because recruiters are known to merely skim through the pile of resumes, considering their time limitations.
The cover letter gives you the opportunity to talk about all that you mentioned in the resume in greater details. However, never consider that it gives you the liberty to write down an epic. Use this space cleverly and creatively, by narrating through short glimpses of your achievement, how you are going to add value to the company. Also do keep in mind that you need to step into the shoes of the employer before composing your cover letter, in order to comprehend which are your skills that you hiring manager would want to know anything more about. Based on that, you can prioritise the particular skill and tell your story. Your story can be one of the most relevant works or what inspired to you land up in the career profile.
This is the best place to showcase your storytelling skills, as you are face to face with the recruiter; being present in person to tell a story gives better scope to put forward your narrative, as you can get the reaction of the listener immediately. Simultaneously, it is far more challenging to sit with direct eye contact, hold your nerves and show the courage to narrate your experiences with the touch of a story. Putting to use the CAR in this situation, could help you work wonders here; it is the acronym for Challenge, Action and Result.
The jitters of an interview are capable enough to make you dumbfounded and leave you utterly confused, but when you have this technique up your sleeve, you can be sorted in your mind of how to go about it and nail the interview. The challenge referred to here, would be the responsibility you were endowed with, the action refers to the methods you had employed to face the challenge, and the result would be, of course, the outcome that you accomplished by your actions.
However, while you do narrate the engaging story of your achievement, be wary of the use of the word ‘we’ as it may get the employers wondering where exactly was your solo role as the protagonist of the narrative. Do not go into unnecessary details in the bid to set the mood for the story; you do not have the provision of endless hours or the mind frame of the people in the interview room that allows you to do so. Hence, practice your compact and effective story beforehand to avoid the interviewer from experiencing any unpleasantness and boredom.
Think of a particular incident, what the issue was and how you worked your way through that haze, as a hero and emerged victorious with your plan of action. Pulling up an event that has an element of surprise in it, (such as you being faced with an unexpected obstacle in the course of action of solving the problem) induces further interest on the part of the listener.
The best stories in an interview are those that are short and speak of the experience of the individual in an unfavourable professional situation of which he/she is presented as a handyman with the perfect solution. During narration you have to have a dual focus – one, you put yourself in the limelight of the story, and two, it needs to be told in a way that the audience would prefer and buy as well.
Do not forget you are telling stories here to improve the chances of your candidacy for a position and not some recreational purpose. So, brush up your creative skills and fabricate your real-life incident into a story that would stay with the hiring people for a long time. After all, a refreshing tale is a welcome change in a mundane life at any time.