Career Management

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Phase 3, Step 11 - Develop Your Story

You are the best one to tell your story! Practice makes perfect. You want to develop your perfect story before sitting face to face with an employer for an interview.

Think of ‘your story’ as answering the question “Tell me about yourself”. This is typically the first question in an interview. It is also often used when introducing someone as a speaker or at a networking event. First, draft bullet points that you want to convey. Second weave it into a story that will be interesting for the listener. There’s a great article by Herminia Ibarra that outlines how to tell your story in a way that others will listen. It is guaranteed that you have been asked the question, ‘Tell me about yourself”. Be honest with yourself. Have you been 100% satisfied with what you said about yourself? If not, it is time to develop a killer answer to this all important networking and interview question. A good story has a turning point and shows your personality while drawing a straight line between who you used to be towards the person you want to become. This step is completed when you have not only drafted the ideal answer, but have practiced it a few times, gotten good feedback and feel comfortable enough that it flows naturally.

Deliverable for GSM5108: Draft your story and practice it. Video yourself giving your story and send it to your PCA to review for feedback.  Be prepared to share your story in class and in your Career Action Plan meeting with your Career Coach.

Questions to ask yourself:
  1. When I am asked the question, “Tell me about yourself”, what are the first 5 things that come to mind? Do they convey your brand? Do they set-up your value proposition? Do they tell a hiring manager the top 3 reasons they should hire you? If not, start over.
  2. Why did you decide to enroll in an MBA program? Were there jobs you wanted that you didn’t qualify for? Were you seeking additional knowledge? Did you need additional schooling to make a career change? Did you enroll because you knew that business, leadership or management were the direction you wanted to take? Whatever the reason, typically, this is your catalyst or the turning point of your story and should be included.
  3. How would you summarize your previous work experience (or education if you’re an Early Career MBA)? What are the key things you contributed to your last few employers? If you and John Smith had exactly the same job title at the same company, what did you do that made you stand out and add value to your employer? These are some of the things worth bullet pointing.
  4. What job do you want? Why are you a great fit for the industry, job field or employer?
  5. What are the top 3 things that set you apart from the rest of the applicants?
  6. What is your knowledge base? What do you know more about than anyone else that makes you uniquely qualified to add value to this opportunity?

Going Deeper:
  • Read the Article called "What’s your Story” by Herminia Ibarra.
  • Write down your answer to ‘Tell me about yourself’ assuming that you were being introduced as a speaker or being asked in an interview.
  • Practice the story with at least three colleagues or other students and ask for direct feedback. Edit your story.
  • Practice your story with 10 people that you don’t know. Take notes on what works, what feels comfortable and what doesn’t. Edit your story.

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