For Easy Retrieval from Your Brain’s Database, Give Your Stories a Title
To flush out key accomplishments from her clients, resume writer and job-search Coach Norine Dagliano encourages them to tell her specific stories, guiding them through the SOAR or STAR process. Among the questions she asks to trigger these stories are these:
- What was challenging about that job?
- How have things changed from the time you took the position (or joined the company) to the present?
When teaching interviewing classes or conducting interview coaching, Dagliano teaches clients how to create an “interview cheat sheet.” She asks them to draw a big “T” on a sheet of paper. On the left side of the “T,” clients write the word “Skill” and on the right side, the word “Story.” Dagliano then guides them through the job posting or job description they are targeting to pick out key skills mentioned. She also instructs them to go through their resume to pick out the key skills that they want to talk about in the interview. They then list all these skills on the left side of the “T.”
Dagliano next coaches clients them through the process of thinking through a story to illustrate how they used each skill they have listed “ again using the SOAR process. Once they have developed the details of their stories, Dagliano advises them to give their story a title (using as few words as possible) and write that title on the right side of the “T” on their cheat sheet.
“Once they have the stories worked out,” Dagliano says, “they will be ready to answer almost any interview question that comes their way. To prove it, I ask a few typical “ and some not so typical “ interview questions and coach them on how to use elements of the story in answering. I encourage them to take the cheat sheet to the interview with them and have it with the notepad where they take notes during the interview.”
Dagliano notes that our brains have a remarkable ability to locate things in a pinch as long as we have “told” the brain where we have filed them. Dagliano says that if clients draw a blank on how to answer a question, by merely glancing down at their cheat sheet and seeing the story title, their brains will quickly retrieve the details of the story and the best answer.
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