Telling your story effectively

So your perfectly crafted CV has opened the door to that company you're interested in, and you now have the opportunity to interview. It's time to think about how you tell your story.

The usual opening question for most first interviews tends to be along the lines of "tell us about your career". Something that you really are the expert in, so this should be easy. It is worth preparing how you answer this simple question though, as your interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate your ability to summarise relevant information, and engage them with your story.

Firstly, to help tell a compelling story it's worth thinking about why you do what you do, as this can make a more personal starting point to then build on what it is that you have done throughout your career. In todays interview process, particularly in marketing and communications, culture fit plays a big part. If you can communicate what gets you fired up and excited, your values and personality into this story, it can make it easier for you to build rapport.

Try to include why you were attracted to your field of work, what it is that you do, and how you do it. Simon Sinek developed his Golden Circle theory to help people realise what their "why" in their work is, and to encourage people and organisations to communicate this clearly to engage and inspire others. Understanding your "why" can help you stand out from the crowd:

  • Few people understand why they do what they do
  • Many people understand how they do it
  • Everybody understands what they do

So if you have figured out why you do what you do, it might be worth mentioning it!

Try to be concise! There will be other questions to answer, so although it's easy to talk about your background for an hour or more, keep it to a quick summary of 10 minutes or so. Make sure you are bringing your journey to life, as they will hopefully already have read through your CV, so build on that with more personal details about your reasons for each move, what you thrived on, what the challenges were.

Find out if the interview will include competency based questions so that you can think about examples of the behaviours and competencies they are looking for. It's a good idea to structure your examples around the STAR method of answering these kind of questions. Start with the Situation to give context to the story, then the Task that you were given, the Action you took, and the Results you achieved.

Enjoy telling your tale!