Telling Your Story

tell them your story

The average human will get more out of a talk, lecture, or discussion when it’s told as a story. In school, at church, or simply listening to someone talk, when their topics are story driven, people become more rapt and attentive to what’s being said. How often have you started to listen to someone tell a story, and within a few seconds, you are listening and getting their points. We’ve all been in a situation where someone comes in with facts in hand, but the delivery is dry and unimpressive. In the end, regardless of the data provided, many cannot remember key takeaways. When told in the form of a story, almost anything will be interesting to the listener.

This is especially true in an interview process. I’ve seen so many candidates come into the interview, and most are quite personable, but are not effective in delivering the critical takeaways to separate them from others. In reality, for every posting, there’ll be multiple people with similar experience and skillsets. Reflect back on your education and experience, and frame as much as you can in a story.

Tell Your Story

In a situation where everyone has similar skills and experience, what separates one candidate from the others is in how they showcase their skills. How did you use your hardware support skills to save the day? Suppose you encountered a problem with a critical PC. Maybe it was a machine that was used to send jobs to the assembly line, or perhaps a server locked up and prevented a department from printing during pay period. What was the problem? How did you respond? Most importantly, how did you save the day for the organization?

Instead of stating you have experience with hardware support, tell it in a story form. Something like this:

Interviewer: What kind of hardware support experience do you have?

You: One evening, as we were getting ready to leave for the day, I noticed an influx of work orders about our check cashing printer not printing, and took it upon myself to check on it before leaving. When I walked over, the accounting staff was on the verge of panicing. If the printer was offline for too long, it could affect staff from receiving their paycheck on time. The printer looked to be fine, but noticed I wasn’t able to remote into the print server, and ran down into the server room to physically check. Things looked to be normal, and at that point I began to receive calls from our end users. It was the last day of the month, and the checks needed to be sent out that next morning. Realizing that a problem may result in delayed pay checks, I began to work the problem…detailed troubleshooting descriptions… and then I verified the server was back and the checks were printing once again.

The point is to frame your experience in a story that will resonate with the interviewer. Simply stating your experience is not enough. This is just a hypothetical example, but through a story, a job candidate can show much more than an amount of experience. This example not only shows your skills in supporting printers, but also managing a crisis situation, customer service skills by keeping the staff calm, good troubleshooting methodology, leadership by taking control of the situation instead of leaving for the day like some of the others, etc…

Showing how your experience was used in a real life scenario will always leave an impression. Even if the job is awarded to someone else, if you leave enough positive impressions, it may reward you down the road. When completing or updating your resume, take the time to write down some of your experiences and have them ready when you have that interview. Just make sure your story is non-fiction. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, so don’t shy away from telling yours in your next interview.

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