Stories are wonderful! As a professional career coach, I am asked all the time how you can best present your skills, knowledge and experience to a potential (or current) employer. It’s actually quite simple. Telling an engaging story that highlights your strengths is one of the best ways to do it.
Do you get a little nervous and tongue tied when asked to describe your accomplishments in job interviews, an annual performance evaluation or even in networking events? That’s normal. It’s not that you don’t have anything to say – actually you have lots to say – it’s just getting it out there smoothly, briefly and with enough pizzazz to keep your listener listening.
So try this . . . story telling. Everyone loves a good story. And people remember a good story because it creates a visual image for them. We come alive telling stories and listening to stories. Stories are very powerful but they do take planning to avoid the tale going on and on.
Here’s how to design your story for maximum impact. Think of an accomplishment in your professional life that you are particularly proud of – it’s best if it highlights your individual strengths as well as contributions from a team. Now describe it in one short paragraph using the C.A.R. format.
- C = Challenge (the challenge you faced)
- A = Action (the action you took)
- R = Results (the positive results that occurred)
Now the icing on the cake is to tie the story in with the value you can bring to this new position or the continued value you bring to your employer. This is what your listener really cares about – what can you do for them to solve the challenges they are facing.
Do one story and now do a couple of more. Create a cheat sheet for yourself with the C.A.R. format. For each story hit each of the three points briefly. Practice out loud a couple of times but don’t overdo it. You want your natural enthusiasm to come through as you’re telling the story. If you get stuck call me – I would love to help!