At job interviews, do you freeze up when you start to talk about your history? Do you have a hard time figuring out what to tell and what to leave out? What about the things you did that didn’t really turn out exactly as you’d planned? How do you talk about jobs that you absolutely hated without detouring into Negative-land?
The good news is that as the storyteller, you have the ability to craft your story. This isn’t to say that you should lie or in any way misrepresent yourself. Don’t. It will come back to bite you in the ass. But if you had a job that you absolutely hated, the one thing that you CAN say is that you learned from it. Whatever it was about it that you didn’t like, it more than likely made you wiser than when you started. Give it a positive spin - going negative in a job interview is a big turn off for employers. Think about it, would YOU want to be around someone who complains all the time?
Focus on talking about what you really love and are passionate about. This is the same advice I give to my workshop attendees at General Assembly and Brooklyn Brainery. When you speak from a place of passion, your audience (in this case your potential employer) picks up on that and you rise above the other interviewees.
Of course, your passion is hopefully connected to your job - but that’s not always the case. Perhaps this job is a foot in the door. This might be the job you need to get you closer to the job you REALLY want. Communicating your desire to learn more and build on what you already know is a great place to start.
The one thing that you must do is spend some time looking at and writing out your personal history. Yes, it’s jobs that you’ve had, and school you’ve attended - but don’t forget to think about the things that you do that you might not have been paid for - sports, hobbies, gardening, family history, traveling, etc. These are important elements that reveal who you are and what makes you unique.
Once you’ve written down your personal history, and included all of the things you’ve done and are good at (paid or not), think about a way to tell your story that emphasizes your strengths that will give a brief history of what brought you to where you are today.
Practice telling the story out loud. Time yourself. Have a five minute version ready. Then, a two and a one minute version. Obviously, you can’t tell everything, but you can hand pick the important elements that are relevant to your potential employer that brought you to where you are today.
By planning in advance and having your story ready to go, you’ll avoid some of the interview anxiety that can result in missing an opportunity to land the job you’ll love.