Career Advice, Interviews

Be The Hero In The Career ‘Story of You’ During An Interview: Part 3 – Act I

All stories that we hear are basically the same three act structure, so there is no reason that  the interview stories that we are used to hearing or telling should not come in the same three acts:

  • Act 1 is the story of the protagonist.
  • Act 2 is the story of the barriers/challenges.
  • Act 3 is the story of the achievement of the goal.

For the past two weeks we have been exploring how you can get the best attention by being able to tell the “story of you” in the most compelling and unique way so that an interviewer/recruiter walks away with her/his own story to tell about you. As a long time talent recruiter the ones who got the job were the ones where I could sit with a hiring manager and say, “you gotta hear the story of this person.”  If I was excited about telling their story to someone else the chances of their getting hired went up exponentially.

Last week we discussed six mini-plots about you that you should have prepared and are ready to go.  Have you gotten those down on a piece of paper yet?  If not, take the time to do so.  Once that is done, then you can wrap those together to create you as the protagonist in the story of your career and you.  What makes a protagonist interesting is that we gain just enough detail that offers insights into that person’s history or motivation.

When you think about how you describe yourself when asked, what are those elements of you that are unique and interesting that have propelled your career and the decisions you have made to this point?  I typically cringe when I hear, “I was born….”, but many times there is something right there that is the catalyst that creates the story arc of someone very interesting. Without doubt, my interests, goals and overall career have been significantly shaped by the fact that my Father was a radio disc jockey when I was born and did radio, TV and theater while I was growing up.  And because, at least at one time, radio and TV people were interesting and intriguing to most people, I have always been able to catch the interest of an interviewer by starting the story of me with “I was born with a Father who was a radio and television personality”.  Everyone has their own unique traits that can set a story in motion. Think about yours.  Find those unique details that when you string them together give someone else a good picture of who you are and what makes up you. If you need help here, go back through your six mini-plots from last week and make a list of the five to 10 unique attributes of you and start working with that list to create the character that is you.

Some other traits you might want to consider in the ‘Story of You’ include:

  • Overachiever
  • Ambitious
  • Athletic
  • Well-educated
  • Unique family
  • Dreamer
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Gifted
  • Listener
  • Reader
  • Outgoing
  • Driven

Whatever the traits are that make up you, figure out what makes you the protagonist in the ‘Story of You’ and find a way to express them in a unique and interesting way that gives the listener just enough detail to catch their attention and  set the story of you into motion.

Next week, we’ll discuss Act II – the Barriers in telling the ‘Story of You’.