Promoting You: Four Ways to WOW during Your Job Interview: #1


Four Ways to WOW:  1.  A Powerful Story

In a previous blog I focused upon strengths as a key part of sharing your story.  Now that you know how to identify your strengths, where they go on your resume to make you stand out on paper, and the benefit of being prepared to share your strengths verbally during the job interview, let’s focus for a moment on the story itself for your job interview.

Why do you need to be prepared to share your story at a moment’s notice, particularly if you are in a job search and in career transition? 

Have you ever been asked “So how did you end up doing that?”  “That” referring to a job you have done or in which you are currently working.

How many times have you stammered and weren’t sure where to begin your story in order to answer that question?

The teller at my local branch asked me this question about Promoting University just two days ago.  “How did you end up starting a business where you help people get head in their career, but you worked in banking?”  I swear to you, I am not making this up just because I am writing this blog.  I loved that she asked me because I was ready with an answer, which went something like this:

“Well… I created a career management process, now called  the Career Common CENTS™ formula, while working in my corporate job about seven or eight years ago as a communications consultant.  At that time, I realized I needed to get better control of my career and get a “yes” to what I was asking for to move my career forward.   So whether it was flex schedules, access to special projects, raises and bonuses, even training dollars-they were all things I got by making the “ask” in the right way and with the most effective language.  That quote, unquote “right way of asking” came about through a combination of reading about business communication, doing my own research, observing peers successful in the art of self-promotion, as well as some trial and error on my own part.  After all that, I began sharing my process with peers- many of whom were stuck and then also had amazing success stories by using this new approach.  Fast forward a few years later and I formed Promoting University where I’m lucky to run my own company and continue to help hundreds of professionals get what they want in their career too.   So there’s no downside to helping others who are really stuck, to move forward.  I absolutely love what I do- and that’s how I ended up doing it!”  (Total verbal delivery time, under 1 minute.  Keeping in mind no one was behind me in line so I had the luxury of more time and more detail, without it being too long.)

My story may be slightly shorter or slightly longer- depending on what the context is and how much time the person appears to have.  Result:  the bank teller nodded her head enthusiastically and remarked, “Wow, that is so cool that you get to do that!”  The story captures some strengths (highlighted in the paragraph above), as identified by my peers and is not a chronological, boring timeline of how I ended up where I am.  It also engaged her, her boss who overhead me, and told her my story in a succinct, conversational way.  The boss has asked that I contact their sales department to offer to bring this method to the tellers in their company who lack confidence in talking with customers.  Who knows where it will lead, but at the very least there was engagement, versus boredom or indifference.

Now, transfer this to your JOB INTERVIEW.

The three main things your story should contain:

  1. A conversational, relaxed tone and every-day language.  Don’t sound too formal or too stiff- sound like you’re in a conversation with a long-lost friend with whom you are catching up after a long absence from one another.  By being conversational, you will not sound rehearsed or insincere.  This is what will keep you from sounding like the bad type of braggart and your information will be easier to digest and to remember.
  2. Your strengths.  I have talked about this in multiple blog posts which you can refer back to.  They are a snapshot of what things you are great at and why.
  3. Emotion.  Yes, do you want to have emotion in business, particularly when self-promoting in a job interview.  If you are bored with what you are saying, then your interviewer will be too.  If you share that you love what you do, or love a certain task or skill set you are able to use- express it in your own way;  you will be more memorable to your listener(s) and your emotion will be contagious.  Express gratitude, surprise, pride, passion, or curiosity and typically your listener will too.

What other elements of a story do you think are important to have and to share when networking or interviewing?

See our next blog post on:  Four Ways to WOW during Your Job Interview:  Part 2 – Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Emotion in the Job Interview

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