Using Storytelling To Market Yourself
Storytelling consultant Annette Simmons has said, “If you wish to influence an individual or a group to embrace a particular value in their daily lives, tell them a compelling story.”
Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketing yourself in your career communication documents. Your LinkedIn profile summary is a great place to tell your complete story — who you serve, where your career path has been and where you see it going, the impact you’ve made for other companies, etc. Your cover letter can include stories of past contributions, skills, and experience that tie into the current needs of the particular employer. And your resume can include stories in the form of accomplishment statements – what challenge did you fact, what action did you take, and what was the result.
At its core, marketing with stories is about making a connection between you and the person with the authority to hire you. But the reader (the hiring manager or recruiter) is who the story is created for. It will address their concerns, their needs, their pain points, and how you can fix those issues. The hiring authority’s primarily objective is to find someone to meet their needs — sharing stories about how you met the needs of other employers will get their attention.
What to Include in Your Stories
Almost every story includes some common elements, or structure, to make it work.
1. A Subject. First, start with an understanding of who your target audience is. What kind of companies are you targeting? Big ones? Little ones? Start-ups? Established brands? Where are they located? Who do they serve, or what do they make? Choose aspects of actions in your past experience that will be relatable to the audience you are trying to reach.
2. A Goal. You must understand what the company wants in their next employee. Is there a specific goal they are trying to reach? What is the outcome they want?
3. A Problem. If you know the goal, then you need to identify the reason the company is having problems reaching their goal. To identify the problem, target “Employer Buying Motivators.” In her book, Résumé Magic, Susan Whitcomb identifies 12 specific needs a company has. These include the company’s desire to:
– Make money
– Save money
– Save time
– Make work easier
– Solve a specific problem
– Be more competitive
– Build relationship / an image
– Expand business
– Attract new customers
– Retain existing customers
4. A Solution. Of course, you need to be able to show that you are the solution to help the company reach its goal and overcome its problems. And, if you don’t know the company’s specific problem, it’s a good bet that you can focus your stories on any of the 12 needs above and you’ll hit the mark in some way.
5. A Moral. No story is ever complete without a moral. However, the moral is not often directly spelled out in your client’s story — although, in a big picture sense, it is probably, “The moral of the story is that you should hire me!”
Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help! www.acareeradvantage.com