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Sep 29 2016
Have you mastered the art of telling concise, meaningful, high-impact stories in all of your career marketing communications?
Just as it can be a challenge to be objective about yourself and your career, it is equally difficult to “self-edit” the information you share with others during critical career transitions. It can all seem important because you’re so close to it. And you don’t want to omit something that might possibly be relevant, so the tendency is to share everything and trust your readers/listeners to sort out the gold.
But if you’re sharing too much information, providing too many particulars, flooding your readers and listeners with nonessential details, you’re making it harder for them to understand who you are and your unique value.
Below are some suggestions for transforming your “too much” messages into “just right” communications that help rather than hinder your job search.
- Too much: Three, four, or five-page document that details every one of your positions in dense text, long lists of bullet points, and exhaustive detail.
- Just right: Sharp two-page executive presentation that focuses on the most meaningful highlights of your career.
To achieve the “just right” version, start with a clear understanding of your current goal and align everything in the resume/CV with that goal. Focus on results and save comprehensive details for further discussion. Omit or briefly summarize older and less-relevant experiences.
- Too much: Five-minute ramble through your entire career.
- Just right: Concise 60- to 90-second presentation of your “career story” – who you are, what you’re best at, what you’re looking for, and how your contact can help you.
Prepare your introduction in advance, and practice until you can say it smoothly and naturally. You’ll feel confident knowing you can launch into a self-introduction at any time, whether meeting a casual acquaintance, introducing yourself at a networking meeting, or beginning an interview.
- Too much: Sweeping generalizations about what you “can” do or how you “always” handle certain tasks. Lengthy responses stuffed full of details that confuse your interviewer or cause him or her to lose interest in what you’re saying.
- Just right: Clear presentation of a unique success story that relates to the specific challenges of the position at hand. Then, another succinct story that relates to another challenge. And so on.
Define your greatest and most relevant successes and practice stories that quickly convey the challenge or opportunity, what you did about it, and the results. Keep your stories interesting, and don’t get lost in the details. Practice your delivery and make sure you’ve conveyed enough detail so the success is clearly understandable…but no so much that the story gets bogged down.
- Too much: In-depth exposé of your professional and personal life.
- Just right: Interesting presentation of your career highlights as well as selected personal information that will “humanize” you and help you make connections.
Build your online profile by starting with a great resume/CV, adjusting the tone for less-formal online dialogue, and adding appropriate personal details. Keep your truly personal pages just for friends and family.
Pulling It All Together
Learning to tell your story is an essential step for successful career transition. If you’re overwhelmed by the challenge or drowning in a flood of information, our expert coaches and resume/CV writers can help you sort through the details, focus on the essential information, and craft meaningful messages – for your resume/CV, your interviews, your online profile, and every networking interaction.