Storytelling Propels Executive Branding and Job Search

by Meg Guiseppi on April 8, 2010

You’ve defined your executive brand and unique value proposition. Now how do you use them in job search?

Developing stories around your passions, values, key attributes, strengths, and differentiating factors is a powerful strategy to help you communicate your unique promise of value, and help recruiters and hiring decision makers more readily connect with the value you offer over your competition.

Everyone loves a well-told story with a happy ending. Hiring professionals are no exception.

Storytelling comes into play in your paper/digital and online career marketing communications (resume, biography, LinkedIn profile, Google profile, etc.), as well as in networking and job interviewing.

Storytelling development goes by various acronyms, including S-T-A-Rs (Situation – Tasks – Actions – Results) and C-A-Rs (Challenge – Actions – Results).

I have my executive clients choose 4-5 (or more) standout contributions, in terms of business value, they’ve made to companies within the past 10-15 years. Using the C-A-Rs method, I ask them to keep their brand in mind while working on the following exercise:

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 specific 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, improve things, 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!

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 digging deep are well spent. After detailing the entire story, we go back, consolidate, and hone the information to create concise value-driven stories.

Developing and leveraging storytelling offers many benefits:

♦  Reminds you of key contributions you’ve made and how your strengths have benefitted employers. This is the confidence-booster you need as you move into the sometimes daunting new world of executive job search.

♦  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? Interjecting your tight, well-rehearsed stories makes her job easier.

♦  In interviewing, helps you deal with behavioral-based questions – “Tell me about a time when you . . .” and any questions directed at your weaknesses. Prepare a success story that tells how you dealt with a weakness and came through for your company.

♦  Generates chemistry and deeper interest in your candidacy better than merely stating the WOW end results of your contributions.

♦  Helps people see how you leverage your skills and strengths to make things happen, and makes it easier for employers to picture you in action, making things happen for their organization.

♦  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 their 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 profiles (LinkedIn, Google Profiles, VisualCV, ZoomInfo, etc.). into high-impact, differentiating career marketing communications.

♦  Fuels your Critical Leadership Initiatives Summary, a stand-alone career document showcasing top contributions. See one I created for a CEO – Global Operations Management.

Take the time to create and rehearse several career success stories. Having them at-the-ready, to communicate what sets you apart, can be the deciding factor in landing your next great gig.

Related posts:

10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand

How to Build a Powerful Executive Network

Best Executive Job Interviewing Strategies

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