Was there a time when your quick thinking saved the day at your company? Perhaps you devised an out-of-the-box solution to a problem, or stepped up to tackle a project and achieved great results?
If so, you should consider practicing the way you talk about that experience in your next interview. Turning your shining moment into a well-thought-out and carefully worded story that focuses on your results might help you land the job, as research shows interviewers best remember candidates through the stories they tell to prove a point.
You should also create and practice telling “your narrative” in answer to open-ended questions such as: “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” Rather than just rattling off a list of past experiences and future goals, carefully package your brief career history, peppered with quick examples of how you overcame struggles and put your key strengths to good use, into a streamlined pitch. Connect the dots and include interesting details to paint a picture of yourself the interviewer won’t easily forget.
Other common open-ended questions are often behavioral in nature and take the form of, “Tell me about a time when… .” You can arm yourself with an arsenal of possible responses by practicing telling stories such as: how you learned from a mistake during a less victorious moment in your career; how you dealt with a difficult personality at work; or how you completed a project in spite of an obstacle. Again, effectively communicating great results is key. You definitely don’t want to stumble your way through these stories, so practice, practice, practice!
Compelling stories about yourself and your career will provide examples of how you can add value to a company and solve problems, as well as exemplify your skillset and reflect your personality. Mastering the telling of these stories will prove you are well spoken, well prepared and generally on top of your game.
You might even want to consider creating a list and bringing a cheat sheet along to the interview.
Kay Ford is the director of MBA Career Services at LeBow College of Business.