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Job Seekers: How to Tell Stories to Stand Out

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One way job seekers can stand out from the job search competition is to tell stories that illustrate their professional experience. According to Katharine Hansen, the creative director and associate publisher of the Web site Quintessential Careers, story-telling, when done right, reveals a job seeker's personality, makes him or her more memorable, and helps a job seeker establish an emotional connection with hiring managers. At the end of the day, hiring managers really want to learn about job seekers' personalities and their communication skills. By spinning compelling stories about their experience, qualifications and fit for a company, job seekers can demonstrate their uniqueness and ability to engage people during every aspect of the job search.

First of all, every job-related story must have a structure. The best narrative structures have an introduction, confrontation and conclusion that effectively bring out the conflicts, tension and drama of a professional IT career. For jobseekers, a situation-action-result structure can be an effective method to describe professional challenges and accomplishments. Moreover, this same structure can be applied to everything from résumés to job interviews. Job seekers can switch around the elements of the situation-action-result formula as necessary. For example, for résumés, job seekers should start with the result and explain how their action led to it.

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