Storytelling Makes All The Difference In Job Searching From “So What” To “Tell Me More”

I love a good story. What really enhances it is a good storyteller.

Someone who can captivate you with their words, take you along for the journey, and make you feel that you are right there in the thick of it.

Not everyone is a good storyteller. I’ve found there to be two distinct groups that are not good storytellers:

1. My greats

2. Job seekers

My greats are my great-niece and great-nephews, all under the age of 8. Young children are hilarious, but bad story tellers. Nimble is the mind that can follow along one of their twisty-turvy paths of a story. I’m never quite sure what their point is – did they have one when they started their story? Or are they just weaving together bits of colors, nouns, exclamations they pick up as they talk?

I’ve discovered my greats’ audience isn’t me, it’s themselves, I just happen to be in the general vicinity. They don’t really care what I want or expect out of their story, it’s all about them expressing themselves, and hearing their own voice.

Job seekers have a point. They are trying to convince the audience that they are the one.  The one to lead the team, do the task, launch the product, build, grow, do… They don’t stray quite as much as the greats, they just get bogged down in detail. They forget about their audience and the point.

For career storytelling, it isn’t about what you want the audience to know based on what is important to you. It’s about what the audience needs to know based on what is important to them.

That’s where the storytelling gets convoluted. They will read a resume and think one question over and over: “so what?”.

If you want to significantly improve your story, start telling it from the perspective of the audience:

“Here is what you need to hear because it answers your biggest question: ‘What’s in it for me?’”

Make it all about them for a real connection, which leads them to reach out and ask you to “Tell me more”.

Thank you for reading, I hope this was helpful. If you’re struggling with your storytelling, now is a great time for us to talk, I’ve discounted private resume coaching sessions for a limited time. Together, we’ll work on exactly what you need to take your resume from good to great! Sign up here: Private Resume Session

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (maybe because I’m his meal ticket).

Yoda-ify Your Resume

“Do or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda

I’m not a Star Wars person, I actually heard this quote on Criminal Minds. Yet it is very applicable to your resume.

Applying this rule is a simple two step process that will take you from a trier to a doer in your resume.

Step 1: Delete all the ‘to’s.

  • Built Mega Program to reduce future costs. (hopefully it will in the future)
  • Partner with business lines to identify ways to be more efficient. (not sure that we do)
  • Fostered open communication to encourage cross-functional collaboration. (maybe did some good)

The ‘to’ in these sentences means you meant to, hoped to, that was the plan.

To is wishy-washy.

Step 2: Tell what did or will happen.

  • Laid cost-reducing foundation by building and implementing Mega Program. (set up for success)
  • Increase efficiencies by partnering with business lines to discover time-saving opportunities. (doing now)
  • Fostered cross-functional collaboration with open communication. (made a difference)

Not only are you being more decisive, you are also starting with the value – what people need and want to know.

These two steps takes your ‘to’s to ‘do’s and now you’re talking value, not not mushy maybes.

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Mr. B

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (pretty much because I’m his meal ticket).

The 3-Letter Word That Immediately Begins To Defrost The Learning-Something-New Brain Freeze

I love learning stuff. Fun stuff. Interesting stuff. Cool stuff. Exciting stuff. Not always useful but who-knew stuff.

I’m not a fan of learning boring stuff.

I was always told by others of authority that I didn’t apply myself, or it was too hard for me to learn, or I wasn’t good at “that” (whatever ‘that’ was I was trying to learn at the time). I knew a lot of critics.

I also don’t like to look stupid. I always thought everyone else got what was going on in classes and I was suffering silently.

I learned learning was hard. I adopted this and told myself this mantra. Learning is hard. Old dogs and new tricks don’t match up.

The problem with all this was my subconscious was listening.

Any time I attempted to try to learn something new, I would go back to that mantra “learning is hard” and my subconscious responded with “Okey-dokey, we’re going to make this hard since that’s what you want.”

Instead of a three-letter word, I had plenty of a four-letter one.

Then I stumbled upon NLP. Neuro-Linguistic Programming and discovered that all these years, the harshest critic of all was me.

I programmed myself to struggle against learning.

I’ll make a wager. If someone recorded the way you talk to yourself for a day then a week later replayed it to you and told you that’s how you talked to a stranger, you would be mortified. No way would you be so mean to another human being, especially someone you don’t know!

We’re mean to ourselves. Way. Too. Much.

But let’s get back to this learning thing (yet do reach out if you want help learning to talk nicer to yourself).

This one three-letter word makes all the difference. I’m proof. More than once.

While in the financial industry, in one year I earned my Series 7, 9, 10, 63, and 65.

Over a decade later, in one year I earned my NLP Practitioner and Coach Certification, as well as Emotional Intelligence Coaching and Confidence Coaching Certifications.

The one word that made the difference from struggling to succeeding is yet.

Try it out for size. Add it to the end of your sentence:

I don’t understand this….yet

I don’t know how to do this….yet

I can’t figure this out….yet

You’re allowing yourself a little emotional release of frustration while telling your brain that you will make it happen.

Try it the next time you are stuck on a problem or trying to learn something new and feel the difference that three letter word can make.

Then please, let me know how it works for you!

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog, who thinks I’m hilarious (maybe because I’m his meal ticket?).

Company’s Using ‘Matrix” to Fail Their Employees

It is very natural, when you’re ready for a change in your career, to have a posting catch your eye and think, “That’s it!”

A sound company, decent job description, implying fair pay – let’s go.

But wait, if you step back from that initial excitement and re-read that posting, you might find:

  • A lot of travel is required (you said you did not want to be a road warrior any more)
  • Responsible for managing a team (you want to be an individual contributor)
  • Vague job description (the last job got you that way: 5 requirements listed, 20 expected)

And so on.

Clever wording need examination.

As a communications specialist, it’s my job to dissect the messages, meanings, and implications of words.

I am starting to see a word crop up regarding positions, and I’m not a fan.

Matrix.

As in a matrix role.

You know, Player-Coach. Individual Contributor-Leader, etc.

Call it what you want, yet what I find more often than not, what this word really means is:

We’ve now combined four positions into one job, four times the responsibility, one-quarter the pay!

Please, please, please – take a step back and really analyze those jobs. What is expected? Is it more than one job in one? It’s a great power cost saving move for the company, and a debilitating move for you.

It’s not just misleading, it is dangerous.

The higher up you are, the more damaging this role, especially for leaders who care.

At a lower level, it is easier to realize that this one job is not worth our mental health. We can find another job; we can advance our career in a more healthy way. Even if it seems a step back, we’re just not willing to risk family time or our sanity for this matrix role.

At a leader level, we taking on the failure ourselves. They trust us to do these multiple functions, our not being able to sustain is a failure on our part. We need to keep trying, harder, while being there for our team members. We need to support them to tell them we know it is unfair to ask them to do four jobs…

The intent is noble, the initial thought is wrong.

It is not your failure as a leader, professional, or human being not being able to sustain multiple demanding positions.

The company is failing you. If they had any sense at all, they would recognize your people are leaving due to the undue amount of stress (hopefully they have systems and processes in place to capture this information – if not, I got a girl) and can connect the dots before the whole house of cards collapses.

Let’s bottom line this.

  • Take time to review openings – be wary of ‘the spin’
  • Don’t take on your company’s failure as your own.
  • Give yourself permission and freedom to choose you.

Your sanity, time, and health are more important than any job. You’re awesome, you’re important, you’re needed – don’t let a job take that away from you!

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

3 Steps to Better Problem Solving — Bonus: You Don’t Do the Solving!

Did you know that many (many, many) problems would be resolved by employing one act? It’s true. Just doing this one thing will help eliminate those challenges and smooth out difficult conversations.

That one thing: listening.

It sounds easy and most of us think we are listening because we hear the other person talking.

Hearing is not listening.

In fact, there are different types of listening: comprehensive, critical, empathic, and appreciative. These are all fascinating yet here, I want to focus on the simplicity of listening in general and the three steps to improve your listening ability.

1. Hush

Stop talking. When the other person is trying to communicate with you – do not talk. Out loud or inside voice. That inside voice talking is thinking about how your going to respond.  No. Not allowed. Focus fully on the other person – what they say, how they say it, word choice, and body language.

Think about the words – do their words fall into categories? For example, are they saying things like admire, appear, see, observe, watch, envision, reveal? These are clues that they are Visual people.  They generally see things in patterns, big picture, holistically.

Are they gesturing a lot or very little? Is their body tense? Do their words and their delivery match? 

Noting these types of factors will help you in two ways: it will help you focus on listening and help you confirm.

2. Confirm

In your own words – without judgment – tell them what you heard and ask them if it is correct.  I have seen over and over again bookending with these two phrases: “So, what you’re saying is….”  to “Is that correct?”

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “So, what you’re saying is…” it’s like a little trigger that makes me feel placated. I like to make it personal and speak with them, not to them. How about, “I want to make sure I understand where you are…” then summarize – without judgment – what you think you heard and ask them if you are understanding them correctly.

If you have, move on to step three. If you are not, take a moment to think about how you best understand something. Remember above when we were talking about visual people? Maybe you are a Kinesthetic person. You’re a hugger, a arm toucher when talking. You related to feeling words like grasps, get a hold of, turn around, move. Ask them to clarify from your perspective (i.e. “How is this weighing you down?”) to see if you can come together.

Be careful not to lead. It can be easy to say, “I think what you meant to say was…”  this can subtly convey to the other person that you are expecting them to feel differently than they do, and this will become a barrier in communicating. It means you aren’t listening; you’re trying to guide.

3. Validate

This is simply telling them that how they think or feel makes sense. You are not condoning any behavior, not judging, not agreeing. Simply letting them know that you get it how they see things from their perspective.

The most important part of what you are doing is validating how they felt, their emotion; not justifying, condoning action, or condescending.

You can say things like “I can see how you would feel that way” (notice what we did there, we put in a visual word in the validation).

At this point, the person may be able to solve the problem themselves by feeling more confident that they were heard and understood, which empowers them to see the next steps more clearly.

If you do need to problem solve: don’t assume, stay on task, focus on outcomes, converse vs dictate, continue to practice good listening throughout the process.

“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.” ~ Jim Rohn

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

Don’t Remove Yourself From The Interview Process

Getting that email or call that a prospective employer wants to talk to you is invigorating.  Let’s face it, it feels good. We’ve been selected, chosen, seen as special among a sea of candidates. Rightfully deserved fist pump here.

It’s great and yes, you are awesome! Now, let’s not forget that.

Somehow, after that initial call, our brain checks out and we forget  we are part of the process.

Interviews are a two-way conversation. They aren’t just interviewing you to see if you’ll fit in with their organization; you should be interviewing them, too.

As much as I cringe at this example, it really is the best one I can think of: interviewing is like dating.

You’re starting to get to know each other, but are still on your best behavior. Meaning, both of you are going to fudge and cover up tiny little areas that perhaps aren’t the most attractive until you get to know you.

You know pretty early on if  your date has ventured into crazy chick or bad boy. There are signs. You may be ignoring the signs because you’re enjoying the ‘attention’ by one of these two, but there are signs. Always listen to your gut and pay attention when dating – and interviewing.

One of the best measures you can use to judge a person and a company are their manners.

  • Do they treat you with respect before and after the date/interview?
  • Do they return phone calls?
  • Are you given appropriate information to be prepared?
  • Do they seem interested in you (not just filling their need)?
  • Do they treat the wait staff nicely? (watch how the interviewer treats fellow employees)
  • Do they keep you strung along until “someone better” comes into play?
  • Are they dodgy about what they are looking for in this relationship?
  • Is it everyone else’s fault (past ex’s or employees – do they badmouth people)?
  • Do they have future goals (showing growth, maturity)?
  • Are they humble (can they admit to their mistakes or shortcomings)?

One last thing to ask yourself: why are you there? Are you talking to them because this is a healthy relationship to build your future? Or are you running away from a streak of bad decisions or don’t want to be alone? 

Make sure you’re going into this with eyes wide open about them and yourself and it could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

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I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

The Super-Secret Answer You’re Looking For To Do That Thing You’ve Been Unable To Do

Do you know that you can talk yourself into anything? You are the biggest influencer of any of your decisions. Groundbreaking, I know.

From the mundane, like for me: why did I think a horizontal stripe top and cropped pants were a good look on me? I have a freakish combo of short torso and super long legs – it is definitely not a good look.

To the deep of thinking: why don’t I write that blog, why won’t I change jobs, or why can’t I be happy?

Good or bad, inconsequential or life-changing, you’re going to have that conversation. Self-talk is important. And it is influential. But it isn’t the secret to doing.

In all that self-talk or thinking it over (seeing other people look cute in stripes and cropped pants) you’re not looking for reasons to support your decision. You can make those up all day long.

Nope, what you’re looking for – and here’s the super-secret – is permission. If we could get permission before beating ourselves up, yeah, that would be great.

Like seeing a pair of to-die-for shoes and trying to justify the price by number of wears….

Here’s a career / job search example. I spoke to a woman who has an amazing career. Stellar in her field. Very unhappy with where she is now. Nearly 45 minutes on her cool stuff, her not so great employer, an employer she wants to target and work for.

Then she mentions that someone in her network works for ideal employer and has been trying to recruit her for a long time.

She has had the answer the whole time, but she got stuck in justification mode. That was the self-talk.

Once I heard that, it was guilt-game over. I told her “you got this”. Her contact has offered to help, so call them up, tell them you’re ready and ask what’s next.

She needed permission. She wasn’t giving it to herself, so she was needing it from someone else – not connected personally to her or the situation.

I don’t know about you, but I spent way,  way too many years of my life seeking validation and trapping myself in the self-talk guilt-game. I still have to remind myself that I give myself permission without having to justify it.   Let’s stop it now. This is for you:

I give you permission!

Now go do it, go try it, go have that conversation, test it out, look stupid, feel awesome, fall down, get up, do it again. Who cares! Do you! If you fail – who cares! Try again. You learned, you tried, you’re well beyond where you were yesterday. Go!

Here’s the thing, I know I’m not an influence on your life. I don’t matter. That’s ok – you’re looking for permission (unwilling to give it to yourself first) and I’m filling that need!

You have permission!

Think that super-secret of giving permission without justification doesn’t work? Yeah, say that to my sexy pointed toe, teal croc pumps or black leather three-inch dress booties now residing with me (as the striped top and cropped pants have found a new home).  

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I help amazing people get career happy and client-centric companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

Pay Attention to a Company’s Courting Style

I’ve always found there to be great symmetry between job searching and dating. Actually, I think dating would be a lot easier – or quicker decision making – if you just handed the person your life resume and cut to the chase.

The two processes really are similar, so is the anxiety. When you are going through the interview process and wondering about every little thing, like you’re completely exposed and vulnerable. Like that terrible dream where you’re naked in front of you high school or college class.

Oh, and the rejection – let’s not forget about that. The  friend zone. We really like you, just not for this job. Even better, the ghosting and catfishing! It just gets better and better!

A lot of those decisions and actions taken by a potential employer you have no control over – and most don’t even have anything to do with you.  But this doesn’t mean that you are powerless here.

Your best weapons are your power of observation and intuition.

One point that I want you to especially pay attention to is the courting phase, i.e. interviewing.  Like a client of mine who was just given the phone screen questions (literally labeled this) to complete and email back to the internal recruiter.

Wow.

Here’s the thing, if a company isn’t very nice or respectful to you during the interview phase, what do you think they are going to be like if you take the job?

Think about it – the interview phase is when everyone is trying their best to get the other party to like them. You and them. So if a company is treating you poorly, how much worse will it be when you join?

If they are going to require you to complete a 10-page document with detailed questions  – but not read it and make you repeat everything you wrote during a 15 minute follow up call, well, that’s just rude. They are being disrespectful, dishonoring your time and those actions scream out that their time is way more valuable than yours. Is that the kind of environment you want to be in every working day?

What about the company that gives veiled threats to pressure you to hurry up and answer or return information only to ghost you for weeks with a response or what’s next?

Some companies treat you as though you should be thanking them for talking to you. Really?

If you are going through the process and you’re getting the ick feeling in your stomach, listen to it. If something feels off, it very well could be. At this point, remind yourself that this is a two-way process. You want to make sure this is a good fit for you.

And, I know there are some people out there that are just not great at interviewing or following up. If you are interacting with a few people and all are great except that one – then you need to take a step back. Look at the situation – is that one person just a bit of a ding-a-ling? Are you going to report to them? Do they really reflect the organization or team as a whole?

But if it is a vibe or treatment from everyone you interact with or really strong from one person you’re dealing with,  nope.

If their courting (interviewing process) is disrespectful, the marriage (working for them) is probably going to be miserable.

Run, baby, run. There are more fish in the sea and you deserve better than Charlie Tuna.

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I help amazing people get career happy and client-centric companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Brand

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

Stop Decapitating Family or Making People Look Up Your Nose (Profile Pictures)

I don’t know about you, but I hate getting my picture taken. It is sheer agony trying to decide which one I detest the least for my profile picture. I don’t like any picture of myself. Yeah, I’m that person that can find something wrong with every single one. Seriously. It’s a nightmare.

What I find is I normally sorta-kinda like a picture of me that has someone else in it. Especially a pup. But I can’t exactly use Mr. B in my profile picture. I think a lot of people are with me on this. They find a picture they are okay with, they just happened to be snuggled up next to another person. That’s why I see a lot, lot, of profile pictures that are super zoomed in (we could count nose hair) and yet, we can still see the scalp of that other person.

There’s a better way.

If you have Paint 3D in Word, there’s a much better way. You erase them. If you don’t have Paint 3D – I’m all ears to hear of another solution. I’m checking into it myself.

Here’s a visual step by step to help you with this so you can have that great picture you want without having to have a profile picture that is your floating head with a partial scalp of a friend.

If you think I’m going to use my own photo so it appears multiple times in this article, you’re nuts!  Let’s use my old gang. This was my last pack. Meet Luke, Lexi, Brutus, and Mr. B:

That lawnmower in the back just takes away from the ambiance, let’s take it out. First, copy and paste that picture in Paint 3D.

Great, now click on the three dots on the upper right corner (view more options):

Click on “Canvas Options”

And turn “Transparent canvas” ON:

Now on the top left menu, click on “Brushes” then the eraser:

And erase!  I start with a larger thickness to get the bigger pieces:

Then zoom in and a finer thickness for the small, close spaces – like around Brutus’ ears:

When you’ve erased all you want, save that sucker! If you copy and paste, it will look like this:

Cool, right? But I think that’s pretty bland for my pups, so I think I’ll add another picture behind them to create a new vibe, look, underwater dogs!

Oh wait, that bench just isn’t cutting it. Let’s erase a bit more, maybe a different background, bring Luke in a bit more with the bunch….

Oh yeah, that’s it.

Again, if you have found a way outside of Paint 3D or any easier way – do share!

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I help amazing people get career happy and client-centric companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Life

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

The Response That Could Silence Macy’s

I was taken to school at Macy’s last weekend. My teacher was a petite, mature woman with a slow gait, quick smile and soft, gentle voice.

Our classroom was the Men’s Shoe Department. Ms. Sondra alone tended to each person in the very long line.

Someone asked her about being busy, noting the number of customers. She said she was even busier yesterday.

That set up the lesson.

She was given the opportunity to complain. They tossed her the softball: “I bet it was a madhouse, people are just crazy around this time.” 

She didn’t even step up to the plate. She didn’t even bat an eye. Not the slightest hesitation when she responded:

“It’s wonderful, I met so many beautiful people yesterday and today.”

That is perspective. That is joy. That is goodwill toward men. That was beautiful.

If the rest of Macy’s could have heard that, I imagine the entire store would have fallen silent.

Most would see crowds, rude or impolite people and complain.

Ms. Sondra saw beauty, and expressed gratitude.


Thank you, Ms. Sondra, for that lesson and sharing your beautiful soul with me. With us.

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