Getting a Career – The Art of Story Telling


You have probably heard most types of story there is, but at the same time, you are being asked to think of your USP (Unique Selling Point). So how does story telling make a difference to employers?

On your application you have the right course and hopefully grades, some valuable work experience, but what employers really want to know is how you piece together your experiences in a way that will make it the right time to be working for them. Tell the story in a way where the conclusion leads to them, then you are much more likely to sound convincing.

Interviews often contain questions such as ‘Tell us a bit about yourself’ This presents an ideal opportunity to include key components to a story which sound interesting, present new sides to your personality and also show that you have thought about your history in relation to the needs of their business. Yes, ending your story with the employers needs in mind can provide a real point to ‘telling them about yourself’.

As the picture above shows the brain takes on board messages, based on how they are expressed. Rush your story and this can overload the listener. Show enthusiasm and dynamism for how you put across the key episodes and you will have the listener wanting to hear more.  This involves not only being able to use your voice, but express the emotion and meanings through the colour in your voice, your facial expressions and body language.  In essence you are telling a story within the first 6 seconds of a meeting, by your choice of what to wear, how you use gestures (including the all too important handshake) and the rapport you build with the person who will listen to the meaningful experiences in your life that will make you the perfect personality to fit with their business.

Becoming aware of body language will help you to understand how you create emphasis to parts of your story. Get this wrong though and your story will become less convincing. How many times have you switched off, just because what is being said does not fit with how it is being expressed.  It is often difficult to pinpoint the reason, but something feels awkward. Being relaxed and confident in what you are saying, adds to the impression that you are comfortable with the details you are explaining.  Breathing in the right places, using appropriate pauses and phrasing, all add to your ability to take your audience with you.

This article offers a supporting view of this within work environments


Within recruitment situations the demands on your ability to tell a story could come in an interview, in a role play exercise (where you take on somebody else’s story!), or in delivering a presentation. The language that you choose to use reflects a story of you knowledge, but also of your history and personality. Being comfortable with the language of that industry or in the ethics and values of particular employers, helps and employer decide about your fit.  The way that those words are used and expressed is likely to give the lasting impression of whether you will turn up for work with the right commitment and approach.


The storyteller provides so many opportunities to present a clear, believable and attractive message about your personal history, your achievements and your personality.  Getting it right and meeting the employer’s needs is a real art. It needs to be clearly and concisely expressed, have definite components to it, but lead the reader wanting to hear more and waiting for that killer conclusion.

Hopefully it will have a happy ending!



Posted on October 21, 2014, in Interview advice, Job hunting, Professional development. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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