Preparing to Job Search: Figure Out Your Stories |

This next step of your interview preparation is a step between getting your resume ready and interviewing.


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I’ll use a story to illustrate. When my son was really young and it was time to go to bed, he would often ask me to tell him a story.

“Daddy!” I knew he was stalling before going to sleep. “Tell me a story!” One day, I looked over at his nightstand and saw a dollar bill. I held it up to him and said:

“Today, I’m going to tell you story about Bill.” We went on this journey around the world where I would tell a story about Bill … Basically, I was talking about how money moves around the world. Every sentence I ended with ended with an “ill.”

“So, Bill traveled everywhere. He was in a restroom one day and he ate something that he care for and suddenly became . . . My son would say, “Ill!” And it would go on from there, until we got to the point where Bill died and suddenly he needed a “will.” So, we would go on like this.

Stories have a unique way of affecting us and engaging us and that's true in your interviews, too. I want to encourage you, you have got a resume and you be sending it out and some firm is going to call you for an interview,

I want you to look at your resume and what you describe there and I want you to be thinking of stories related to the role, responsibilities accomplishments and such. The format. I want you to think in terms of is

What was the problem that you faced?
What action did you take?
What results did you get?
If you can, the metrics for what you accomplished in terms of dollars saved dollars and dollars earned

I was interviewing a guest on “Job Search Radio” who referred to it as the PAR method. I said, “it's actually Italian. It’s actually PARM.”

Think in terms of comparing yourself by money saved or money earned is the metrics, and, if you are not in a role where you can speak about that, like you are in administrative assistant or you work on a helpdesk, what have you, you can speak in terms of how you handled something 13% more effectively or handle more tickets by 27% than other call center operators did for example.

So, there's always a way of describing it but it starts off with Problem-Action-Result-Metrics. When all is said and done, this is the part of your preparation for your interview that you can do in advance and just jot it down. Become familiar with it so that, in this way, when you get to the first phone interview, a screening call (but is an interview, nonetheless) and they talk with you, “tell me about what you did on the last . . . And they will ask you about something on your resume, “Well, I dealt with a situation where we had a problem with such and such.” Lay out the story of what the issues were. You can just listen to them become engaged. Then, you talk about, “So, I was asked to step in and do such and such.” So, you talk about what actions you did. You mobilized a group people. You talked with the afflicted party. You understood what their needs were and where the deficiencies work, you go on and on and on. Then, you talk about the results that came about from this and how it helped improve results by 70% . . . 2 million dollars. Whatever it was.

Think in terms of PARM


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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