Look around you. Story is everywhere. Increasingly, advertisers are telling stories in TV commercials and print ads. In an age of minuscule attention spans, marketers know that stories are the key to drawing in their audiences and connecting with them emotionally. A growing body of literature describes the link between storytelling and marketing/sales including an article in which Warren Hersch discusses the value of storytelling in insurance sales (“storyselling”Â in the words of Mitch Anthony, a financial planner that Hersch quotes). Merely being educated about a product is not enough to motivate a buyer to take significant action, Hersch notes; clients need to be emotionally energized through story. Given that that the intuitive thinking associated with stories leads prospects to conclusions more easily than does analytical thinking, Hersch advises salespeople to “use storytelling to build rapport and credibility with the prospect. Substitute “employer”Â for “prospect”Â and “job-seekers”Â for “salespeople,”Â and Hersch’s advice about using story in sales becomes instantly applicable to the job-seeker selling himself or herself to an employer.
- Stories illustrate skills, accomplishments, values, characteristics, qualifications, expertise, strengths, and more. Employers don’t want to know merely the dry facts of what you’ve done. They want examples, anecdotes, illustrations “Â stories. You can showcase just about any skill with a story (Chapter 2 tells you more about how to do it). Washington advises that “using anecdotes to describe job skills is a highly effective interview technique.”Â Truly scrutinizing the stories behind your life and career enables you to recognize patterns that reveal and reinforce who you are, what you can do, how you are qualified, what you know, what you value, what you’ve learned, what you’ve accomplished, and what results you’ll produce for the employer.
- Stories paint vivid pictures. Remember when your parents read or told you stories when you were a child? You undoubtedly visualized the story as a sort of movie in your brain. Job-seekers can use colorful and even entertaining stories to imprint lasting visual images onto employers’ minds.