Doesn’t everyone love a well-told story with a happy ending?
That includes recruiters and hiring decision makers. Compelling career success stories with the WOW! results you brought to companies generate chemistry and help them picture you at work, driving the same kinds of advances for their organization.
Concise stories elevate your career marketing documents (executive resume, career biography, etc.) and online social networking profiles with evidence to support your promise of value to your future employer.
To build career stories with my c-level and senior-level executive clients, I have them follow either of these frameworks:
Challenge – Action – Results (C – A – R)
Situation – Task – Action – Results (S – T – A – R)
Here’s how it works:
Describe a few of your most important contributions to companies within the past 10 years or so. Think in terms of business value that had significant impact on the company. Think about the strengths you tapped into to make those things happen.
Answer these questions for each of the situations you chose:
1. What was the specific CHALLENGE (or Situation) facing the company and/or your team? Were you/the company facing particularly difficult odds with this situation? What were the stakes?
2. What ACTION(s) did you take to meet the challenge and improve things (whatever the goal was or whatever needed turning around)?
3. What were the long and short term RESULT(s) that positively impacted the company? Did you meet the goal and/or turn around the situation? How long did it take to see the results? Monetize the results and/or use hard facts whenever possible – NUMBERS TALK!.
When I’m working with my clients on this exercise, I ask them to tell the story in depth, step-by-step and not to worry that they’re compiling too much information – their efforts are well spent. After detailing the entire story, we go back, consolidate, and whittle down the information to the essentials.
Benefits of developing C–A–R stories:
♦ Helps you uncover your key personal brand attributes and link them to your value proposition. While developing your stories, you’ll probably notice that certain qualities, strengths, and areas of expertise consistently run through.
♦ Reminds you of key contributions you’ve made and what strengths of yours have benefitted your companies. This can be a terrific confidence-booster!
♦ Helps you become accustomed to articulating your value in interviews and when networking. Have you ever been interviewed by an inept communicator? Someone who either hasn’t prepared, just doesn’t know what questions to ask to get the information that will help them assess you, or is so busy talking she never asks you any questions? Find a way to gently interject a story.
♦ Adds brand reinforcement to your executive resume and career biography. Include a few tightly-written, to the point success stories (2 to 3 lines each) in your resume. With a narrative format, career bios are custom-made for storytelling. Including stories makes for a much more interesting read than a typical dry bio.
♦ Transforms your online social networking profiles (LinkedIn, Google Profiles, etc.). into high-impact, differentiating career marketing communications.
♦ Generates a stand-alone career document showcasing top contributions – a Critical Leadership Initiatives brief. See one I created for a CEO – Global Operations Management.
Storytelling is a powerful tool to help you define your unique value proposition and help recruiters and hiring decision makers connect with what sets you apart.