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How Fairy Tales Can Help You Land a Job

I like to say that a major part of the job search process is storytelling. The exchange of ideas that happen in any search to find the right fit is going to involve stories from the point of view of the employer (e.g. Job descriptions, describing company culture, etc.) and the job searcher. You need to know what stories you want and need to tell (Hint: 5th grade science project is not a story you need to tell). You have many stories from you can tell, but you need to figure out which one are the important ones and then how to tell them in a compelling way.

I’ve found that although most of us have been listening to (and maybe telling) stories most of our lives, many people don’t know how to structure stories in a way that really is effective. I like to say that you should organize them in ways that people are familiar so that they don’t have to figure out the structure, but just focus on the content.

So, what form are people most familiar with across cultures?

Fairy Tales

Most fairy takes have a very basic structure that works well for job search purposes:

  1. Our Hero Enters the Scene: Usually there is a little back story to the story. What does the Hero see when entering? This is the Situation.
  2. Our Hero Has A Quest: Upon understanding the Situation, the Hero does something to change the situation. It can be a duel, a test, or something, but the Hero takes some Action to change the situation.
  3. Our Hero Leaves the Scene: Once done with the Action, the Situation has now changed. Hopefully it’s Happily ever after, but there is a Result.

When you are telling the story of any experience in your life, it’s as real as a fairy tale to the listener.  You have to let them know the Situation you walked into, what Action you took to change the situation, and what Result came from your action.  This is to show that you actually made a difference in your being there.

Hiring managers want to know how bringing you on can help them out, so you need to show that you’ve done this in the past.  If you can’t relate it to them, they won’t believe it. (Note: these stories will have to come across not only in your resume, but any online presence, your networking, your interviewing, etc.)

So, what stories do you have to tell, and is it something that will make a difference in my life?

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