You can find a job faster by standing out with your story. Your resume or CV doesn’t show your employer what kind of person you are. A professional story does and that’s how a professional story can help you find a job faster.
If you’re the person sorting through a pile of CVs, most of them are the same. They have the qualifications and experience you asked for in the job posting. So what are employers looking for? They’re looking for well-qualified people they want to work with.
A professional story is your story, a story about your education, motivation, skills, experiences, goal, and vision of the future. It’s an aspirational story of you on a large scale that you can use as a resource in situations where you get the opportunity to tell people about yourself.
The situations can range from a social event like a birthday party to that online coffee networking opportunity or even your cover letter and interview. A well-crafted professional story contains the answers to most stories people will ask you and gives them new ideas about how they can see (working with) you and the future.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of a professional story.
Stories are Interesting
Story is the one thing that can hold a human being’s attention for hours
Donald Miller, Building a Story Brand
We love stories. It’s programmed. When you’re listening to a good story, your focus narrows, time flies by, and you disappear into another world, only to return, sometimes disoriented, when the story is over. When you tell a story instead of rattling off your employment history, you engage your listener in the oldest of shared human experiences. Add to that the fact that we’re more likely to remember things we hear in story form. It’s probably easier now for you to remember the plot of the last TV show or good movie you watched than the different topics covered in the last meeting you attended. Stories are interesting, so tell stories!
A great story releases a rush of chemicals like cortisone, oxytocin, and dopamine.
Carmine Gallo, The Storyteller’s Secret
When you tell a story, even if you’re telling it to a crowd, your brain waves sync. The audience experiences the same emotion that the storyteller experiences. In fact, if someone in your audience goes home and tells their family your story over dinner, the family will have the same brain waves that you did telling the story. Stories literally put us in sync and help us connect on a deep level. Those hormones – they’re the same ones your body releases when you fall in love. I learned that on one of my favorite RadioLab episodes of all time, This is Your Brain on Love. Will your audience actually fall in love with you when you tell a story? Not likely. But, they will feel closer to you and like they know you just a little bit (or a lot, it’s your story) better.
Stories embolden, strengthen, and establish how we can become our very best.
Bobette Buster, Do / Story
When you tell a story about yourself, you do so much more than relate a series of events. You show them how you see the world by the way you describe situations and people. You tell them about your values when you describe dilemmas and the choices you make. You show them how you solve problems when you talk about challenges you face and the way you solve them. You show your audience what kind of person you are, the values you have. Now, imagine that audience is a potential future employer. When you have a professional story, you can start helping them get to know you better from the first time you meet each other on.
A professional story is the way to go if you want to land your next job faster. You can use them to grab your audience’s attention and get them to stick with you.
But how do you put together a professional story?
Well, here’s the first important lesson. A professional story isn’t one neat fairy tale story that you can tell in 5 minutes. Why? Well, because you’re more complex than that. A complete professional story usually has at least four little stories in there, episodes that work together to build a larger narrative about you. Think of it as more Hobbit than Little Red Riding Hood. Putting one together is well worth the effort, though, because you can build on it and use it for years to come.
To get started, try putting together a mini-professional story using three free tools.
- The Story Library Cheat Sheet will help you identify the individual episodes you want to include in your story.
- The Perfect Story Every Time Checklist will help you pick the right story for any occasion
- The Audience Analysis Worksheet will help you figure out just how to customize your story for a specific audience
These free tools are a great way to get started on your professional story!