Just how well are you telling your story?

3e70006961b61b3b55aWhen I graduated from California State University at Fullerton, it was the best of times and the worst of times. In California, we were experiencing rolling blackouts in the midst of the Enron Scandal. Governor Grey Davis was in a mountain of trouble, soon to be ousted and replaced by the Governator. Businesses were nervous, and therefore not hiring. Meanwhile, just one state over in Nevada, Las Vegas was experiencing a ridiculous housing boom and seeing the boundaries of its city stretch clear to Red Rock. Interstate 15 might as well have been paved with gold.  I, of course, followed the money to Sin City and found myself interviewing for a job in radio sales when the only things I’d ever sold in life were Girl Scout Cookies. Still I was determined to get that job.

The manager asked, “We don’t require prior sales experience but I still need to know why you think we should take a chance on you.”

I said, “No matter who you are in life, you’re always selling yourself. The way you look, dress and speak, your ideas, your feelings, everything is a sale. I’m selling myself to you right now.”

She replied, “You’re right about that.”

Then I added, “Look. I’ve got 25 cents in my purse and about two dollars in my bank account right now. I’m highly motivated.”

I got hired and began working the very next day.

In that moment, I realized how important it is in business to make a personal, and perhaps vulnerable, connection. Therefore, when I write bios and articles for my clients, I ask them to tell me their story and give me as much detail as possible. They may not think the minutiae of their life journeys are important (or that revealing things like failure or heartache are good) but that’s only because they are living it and familiarity (and/or supposed shame) can be blinding. But for anyone and everyone else, it’s these little tidbits of experience that really humanize a person and cultivates the desire to form a meaningful relationship with him or her.

When I write and revise résumés for my clients, I practice the same storytelling approach. Any old résumé can recount the duties and responsibilities of a job. It’s that special résumé, however, that articulates how a person’s performance of those duties proved to be an invaluable asset to their company.  Therefore, I’m always sure to communicate the personal success of a client, and often they don’t even realize just how many valuable contributions they’ve made to an organization until we go through the résumé editing process together.

How well are you communicating who you are on your business website? Do your would-be clients get a good sense of your background, your values, your commitment to service excellence or your friendliness and sense of humor? Are articles about you engaging and illuminating or vague and sales-focused? Does your résumé  articulate what an asset you are in every task you undertake or portray you as just another rote and replaceable cog?

In all of these things, never discount telling the story of you. It could mean all the difference in your career success.

Copyright © 2017 Nikki Igbo, Writing Goddess. All rights reserved. Do not use or reproduce without permission.

 

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