- Stories that touch the heartstrings. Emotional stories can be extremely effective, but they must be handled with kid gloves. While some employers might be touched by the examples below, focus-group participants did not find stories with a “negative” element to be enticing. One participant said, “None of these conveys a positive experience [that] would transfer to their employment and make them a better worker:”
- I can make a valuable contribution to Maplewood Children’s Hospital, based on my past experiences. As a child I spent a lot of time in hospitals, and I vividly remember my feelings in response to the environment. I would like to ensure that children feel as comfortable as possible in an otherwise scary situation.
- While working in a summer internship with the Red Cross in Rwanda, I was exposed to human suffering far worse than anything I ever could have imagined. It is out of the sensitivity I acquired toward the misery of oppressed people that I decided to dedicate my career toward trying to ease suffering. That is why I am writing to you about the social-worker position you currently have available.
- Recently I have spent many long hours at the bedsides of my two brothers, who were both hospitalized for lengthy periods for separate traumas. I thus have personal experience with both short- and long-term patients and the problems they endure while in the hospital.
- A particular strength of mine is establishing rapport with patients, often perceiving nonverbal cues that communicate how they are feeling. I am then adept at motivating them to manage or even overcome their dysfunction. I will always remember my 88-year-old patient, Dottie, and the way she smiled with tears in her eyes after my therapy enabled her to write a letter to her first great-grandchild.
So, what kinds of “heartstrings” stories are effective? Those that make a more positive connection between the job-seeker’s heart-tugging experience and his or her ability to do the job as in these samples:
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