How Good Storytelling Can Help You Land a Job
Storytelling is an essential life skill that can make or break presentations, conversations and even job interviews. If you've got a big opportunity looming on the horizon, the following tips can help you create an intriguing narrative to land the gig.
Five Key Elements
While some people regard storytelling as a strategy for getting their kids to go to sleep, experts know differently. Studies have found that spoken narratives stimulate numerous parts of our brains. Effective storytelling allows us to leverage this fact to inspire interest, empathy and memorability during the interview process. For a story to work, however, it must contain the following key elements that help engage the audience and inspire interest.
The Introduction: Perhaps the most straightforward part of the storytelling process, this part involves setting the stage for what's to come. For example, you could say, while your formal education is in business, you've always maintained a passion for design.
The Inciting Incident: Here's where you unveil a pivotal moment or challenge that altered your career path. This is a nice place to show a little vulnerability by strategically sharing failures, struggles or changes in your trajectory. For instance: “Shortly after graduation, I accepted a high-paying gig that made me the envy of my classmates. Still, all the while, part of me knew something wasn't quite right.”
Raising the Stakes: This is where you express unique details that make your inciting incident resonate. For instance, instead of simply saying you studied design at a particular school, you might say you chose design school over a job at GM. It can also include a series of moments that make your inciting incident more memorable. Whatever the case, your goal is to incite interest in your story to intrigue interviewers and help them see how they can play a part in determining how your story will end.
The Main Event: Now you need to show how your inciting incident came to a head. You can explain how you solved your dilemma either by taking proactive steps or by simply shifting your attitude. For example: "After countless sleepless nights, I knew I would never be fulfilled if I ignored my true calling. So I gave up my steady paycheck to focus my full attention on achieving my goal."
The Resolution: Now it's time to recap your story by highlighting its unique characteristics. If you've talked about challenges or failures, reflect on all the things you've learned and explain how your experiences have strengthened your resolve. You should also take this opportunity to sell your competency and commitment for the position in question. This is great way to express your interest - not just in drawing a paycheck - but in passionately contributing to the organization's collective goals.
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