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Facts Tell; Stories Sell

Have you heard the one about…

Facts tell; stories sell. A clever sounding phrase. But does it hold water? What exactly does it mean? Does it really mean anything? Let’s start at the beginning.

Looking for a job is a job. And to complete that job successfully you need tools. And fortunately you have a plethora of tools at your disposable.

For starters, there is your resume. An essential tool for any job search. For the most part, what does your resume contain? Facts – and lots of them. There are facts about your previous jobs – dates, titles, responsibilities, names of supervisors, etc. There are facts about your educational background – graduation dates, degrees or certifications, maybe grade point averages, etc.

Lots of facts. Most of them are pretty straightforward… assuming that you are straightforward. But there are facts. Generally speaking facts are precisely what they say they are. Some people may try to fudge the facts to position themselves in a better light. That usually doesn’t work. It’s about that word straightforward again.

In the final analysis, your resume is not going to get you a job. What will carry the day for you is the interview. That’s where you can shine. That’s where you can differentiate yourself from the other candidates. That’s where you can be you.

And how best to do that? Stories. Good stories. Compelling stories. Stories about how you excelled at your last position. Stories about how you overcame some challenges to reach your objectives. Stories about how you increased sales, grew market share, expanded the business. Stories about how you decreased costs and improved the company’s bottom line. Stories about you and your successes.

That’s where you sell yourself. That’s where you get the offer.

Before you go into an interview, do you have your stories prepared? Have you rehearsed them? You really don’t want to stumble about while you’re trying to sell yourself. It’s part of the interview preparation. Be confident in what stories are appropriate for specific jobs and how best to tell them.

As important as facts are – and they are important – in the final analysis, it’s your story, or stories, that reflect who you are and what kind of an employee you are/will be. Because the phrase is accurate and beautiful in its brevity: facts tell, but stories sell.


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