Do you have an interview, career fair, or networking opportunity coming up? If so, learning how to tell stories in a compelling way will help you nail your first impression. Storytelling is a great way to show off your communication expertise and portray your qualifications for the role. We asked Gartner recruiters for their tips for effective storytelling. Read on to hear what they had to say.
Kamla Charles, NA Sales Recruiter
Being a great storyteller is an important skill candidates can leverage to stand out during the interview process. From a recruiter’s perspective, we review hundreds of resumes and LinkedIn profiles each week. When on-campus, we speak to a lot of students at career fairs, classroom presentations, or at networking mixers. The ones that we remember are the ones that were able to tell great stories. You want to be able to communicate who you are, your interests, skills, and how they align with a particular role in a concise way. We want to see how all your experiences have been curated to be the perfect fit for the job or internship. Even if students have limited experience, storytelling is a good way to showcase transferable skills you’ve learned in clubs/organizations, academic settings, or through an internship. Beyond the interview, in a professional setting, you’ll be asked to present a concept, lead a meeting, and do a report for clients. Mastering these skills will make you a more impactful and engaging communicator.
The best stories are the ones where students can demonstrate how they strategically overcame a challenge or problem and have quantifiable data to back it up. I am looking for themes of perseverance, determination, curiosity, and critical thinking. Also, I am looking for authenticity. I want to see who you are and how you view the world. Gartner is a people first company, so it’s important for me to get a sense of how you’d interact with peers and clients.
Jacey Martin, NA Sales Recruiter
Storytelling is critical for a candidate to be able to highlight their experiences and interests while relating it back to the position. Examples should be concise while still getting the point across and demonstrating how that scenario or situation prepared you to be successful in this role.
Students often sell themselves short when describing their experience. If students are involved in organizations and clubs on campus or fundraising for philanthropy efforts, this all counts as experience! As a student, work history may be limited to retail or server roles and not directly related to the position you applied for. However, you should be able to use those to showcase time management of working while attending classes, dealing with customers that may be dissatisfied or difficult at times, thriving in a fast paced environment and learning new things quickly, upselling to customers by identifying their needs and so on and so forth.
When it comes to setting yourself apart, I am always listening for the “me versus we”. When a candidate describes a group situation, do they talk about how the team worked together to achieve an outcome, or do they only give credit to themselves and their individual contribution? It is important to be proud of accomplishments while still remaining humble. I love to hear stories that demonstrate a strong work ethic and positive attitude. Examples of working in a team and taking feedback to improve performance show coachability and how well a person can collaborate with others. Don’t be afraid to share a personal story of how you were able to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve a goal.