Contact: Dr. Randall S. Hansen
November 13, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF: STORYTELLING THAT PROPELS CAREERS
New book and doctoral research reveal value of storytelling in the job search
(QUINTESSENTIAL CAREERS: DeLand, FL) — Job-seekers become memorable and trustworthy to prospective employers when they tell stories, according to a forthcoming book and doctoral research conducted in conjunction with Quintessential Careers, one of the Web’s oldest and most comprehensive career-development sites, celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.
The forthcoming book, Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling that Propels Careers, extends the ideas of current authors who tout the value of storytelling in organizations. It focuses on a narrow yet powerful use of storytelling ‘ telling stories to advance one’s career, whether by moving up in a current organization or landing a job in a new organization. The title comes from the most commonly asked “question” in job interviews, “Tell me about yourself.” Composing stories to reveal personal and professional identities in response is just one way job-seekers can use storytelling to propel their careers.
Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling that Propels Careers, which was developed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the founding of Quintessential Careers, establishes that stories paint vivid pictures and help a job-seeker to stand out, as well as explain key life/career decisions, choices, and changes. Stories told in resumes, cover letters, career portfolios, job interviews, and personal-branding campaigns help portray job-seekers as strong communicators and illustrate skills, accomplishments, values, characteristics, qualifications, expertise, and strengths.
“Through telling stories, job-seekers can establish identity, reveal personality, enhance self-knowledge, and build confidence,” explains Katharine Hansen, creative director of Quintessential Careers and lecturer of management at Stetson University. Hansen’s doctoral dissertation research, which included qualitative interviews with workers and focus groups with recruiters, formed the scholarly underpinnings for the book. “Job-seekers who tell stories also establish an emotional connection between storyteller and listener that inspires the listener’s investment in the storyteller’s success,” Hansen notes.
“The evidence is clear — both from our current research as well as other sources — that storytelling can provide a competitive edge in the job search,” states Dr. Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers and professor of marketing at Stetson University, DeLand, FL.
In addition to an excerpt from Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling that Propels Careers, added to mark the site’s first decade, visitors will find more than 350 articles and tutorials on all aspects of job-hunting, from career exploration to job-offer negotiation included in the now more than 3,100 pages that comprise the site. The site also reviews and links to more than 1,500 external job boards and company career centers, including job sites in all industries in the U.S. and around the world. Visitors will also find career information on writing cover letters and resumes, mastering job interviews, and negotiating salaries.
New Quintessential Careers features in 2006 are sections devoted to storytelling and personal/career branding, with new articles, a new quiz, and a new tutorial. Bringing to 15 the number of free tutorials on the site are new tutorials on finding one’s career passion, career branding, career success, rebounding from a layoff, and internship tutorials. New interactive job-related tests and quizzes are part of a roster of 26 such free tools. Quintessential Careers also marks its 10th anniversary with a tour of Florida colleges in which the Quint team is offering free workshops to students. [The site’s fact sheet can be found here.]
Among additional findings of the storytelling study:
- Storytelling can provide parallel communicative paths through which an individual can make sense of both organizational change and his or her own career. Some of the same stories that organization members tell to make sense of organizational change can help them build their careers.
- Storytelling provides a way to communicate skills acquired as a result of organizational change and thus can be an effective medium for organizational entry and advancement. Change is a pivotal constant in organizations, and individuals passing through organizations and experiencing change possess the capacity to then exit organizations better equipped — with change skills — to begin the cycle of organizational entrance and exit anew. The effectiveness with which they communicate newly gained change skills can be a key factor in their success in entering new organizations.
- Storytelling in career-marketing communications merits earnest consideration from those who wish to advance their careers. The research represents a first step in exploring the effectiveness of using stories in resumes, cover letters, job-interview responses, career portfolios, networking, and personal branding.
- Aligning with previous research, storytelling provides a way to understand the individual lived experience of organizational change.
Throughout its 10 years on the Web, Quintessential Careers has strived to be a job-seeker’s one convenient source for virtually all career information ‘ from college to retirement, offering expert advice on all aspects of job-hunting, including tips, resources, and examples to help job-seekers write a stellar resume and cover letter; information to prepare for job interviews; techniques for negotiating higher salaries; strategies for successfully changing careers; as well as advice and resources for returning to college and/or attending graduate school.
In addition to the gradual enhancement of the site in the past decade, from a professor’s Website to one of the dominate career sites on the Web, the site has also seen a record increase in visitors, from a few thousand back in 1996 to more than a million unique visitors beginning in October 2005.
In addition to teaching marketing at Stetson University and serving as Webmaster of Quintessential Careers and publisher of QuintZine, Randall Hansen also writes a weekly career advice column under the name The Career Doctor, and is co-author of the cover letter bible, Dynamic Cover Letters, now in its third edition. Katharine Hansen, creative director of Quintessential Careers, is the co-author of Dynamic Cover Letters and author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market.
Quintessential Careers is the main site in a network of career-related sites, including: MyCareerBlast.com, CareerDoctor.org, 10CareerStories.com, and Quintessential Resumes & Cover Letters, among others.
Quintessential Careers has earned more than 100 awards and honors, been recognized in numerous career books and magazines, and welcomed the praises of career counselors, job-seekers, and employers from throughout the U.S. and around the world. Its articles have been reprinted in all forms of media around the world.
Editorial Note: More background about Quintessential Careers can be found at https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/home.html.
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