How to Nail the Job Interview with Your Story

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Landing a job is a two-part process: (1) creating the resume to get the interview and (2) interviewing well to get the job offer. Both require different skills sets. Some people are good at both, whereas, others have a competency for one or the other. Creating a best practice resume is usually the easier task, because there’s an abundance of technical support in the market. On the other hand, the interview can be more challenging, because you have to go it alone.

So, how does one ace the interview? There are many factors that contribute toward nailing the interview including “making a good first impression” with eye contact, wardrobe, and handshake. Next is how well you answer the interviewer’s questions. Most will ask a range of open-ended questions to learn more about you—how you think, work, and will fit into the company culture. How you structure your answer is just as powerful as the content.

A powerful way to answer questions is through storytelling. People naturally learn, relate, and retain more when information is shared through stories. So, if you’re asked, “Tell me about a time when you struggled with a work project or situation,” answer it with a story that has the following structure:

  1. Briefly describe the experience. No need to provide too much detail, because the interviewer will ask if he or she wants to know more.
  2. Explain what actions you took. And why.
  3. Describe what happened. What was the main outcome of the action you took?
  4. Summarize what you learned from the experience. Keep it simple, positive, and impactful.

If you’d like to learn more on how to create a powerful resume and/or be your best in the interview, reach out for a conversation.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Six Key Job Search Strategies When You’re Unemployed

shaking hands 2Finding yourself involuntarily unemployed can bring stress and sometimes a big bruise to your ego.  In a few cases, people exhale a temporary sigh of relief when they receive a small severance and feel they have a bit of time to re-energize. I certainly see the merit in why many choose to pause in their job search as opposed to dusting themselves off the next day and jumping right back up onto that horse named “Job.”  A few of the common reasons:

  • I need some rest and a chance to get my bearings before going at it again.
  • This is a good time to spend more time with my kids and family. I won’t get this opportunity again.
  • It makes sense to spend some time exploring a career or job that I’m more passionate before I accept the same type of position.

Many job seekers are fortunate to make a successful job transition at the timing they choose. However, others are not as lucky. What you do in the few days after your work release will likely affect your mindset and motivation toward action. In these cases, job seekers may start to experience one or more of the following:

  • lose confidence in their ability to find a job
  • fall into a daily routine not productive to job hunting
  • lose touch with their network of people
  • become more isolated from the habits of the working world
  • evolve into a daily pattern without intentional purpose

Any of these factors erode the chances of securing a job that excites you as part of your career journey. Job seekers should be aware and intentional in their job strategies and decision-making.  Below are a few habits that effective job seekers should consider to improve their chances of landing that next great gig.

  1. Create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile. Make sure both are engaging and tell a story about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you’ve accomplished, and what you have to offer. Consider hiring a career/job coach if you need help. You can’t afford not to invest in these calling cards. Don’t let either become outdated once you’ve put in the hard work and expense.
  2. Treat your job search as a full-time position. If you don’t have a home office already, create a space in your home where you can work full-time. When you are in that space, it will be easier to focus your attention on activities that advance your search.
  3. Get out and network. With the internet and abundance of social media platforms, it is easy to apply for jobs online that you’re qualified for and to expect hiring managers and recruiters to call. Eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking. Schedule meetings, calls, and lunches with networking groups, friends, and colleagues that may be able to help.  Alumni groups, professional and trade associations, and former coworkers are excellent sources of support, information, and referrals.
  4. Create a one-minute elevator pitch. When someone asks you what you do, be able to confidentially and succinctly articulate it and the impact you can have.  Be specific, passionate, and memorable.  Consider having more than one elevator pitch depending on your audience.
  5. Join a job search support group. Although job search groups provide opportunities for networking by design, they usually have free resources that can also be useful in your search.  Resume writing, LinkedIn strategies, and interviewing classes can provide support while learning of open jobs.
  6. Continue to invest in your skills and knowledge. While working full-time in your job search, there will likely be gaps in your schedule. Consider offering your services for temporary work, volunteer for a non-profit using your skills, and take classes/webinars that would keep you current.

Certainly, take the time you need to care for yourself and family, but understand that falling out of a daily structure after a job loss can influence your ability and motivation to re-engage.  Although some people seem to have luck in landing a job when they want it, others need a more strategic approach. I recommend creating your own luck by adopting these job search strategies.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.