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Job-Hunting? – The Best Story Always Wins!

There’s an old joke about two men hunting in the jungle. Suddenly, they come upon a man-eating tiger that hasn’t eaten for days. The hunters both start running with the tiger in hot pursuit. As they are running, one hunter says to the other. “You know, we’ll never be ble to outrun this tiger.” To which the other hunter replies, “I don’t have to outrun the tiger; I only have to outrun you.”

The point of the story is that, yes, there will be many other candidates in the stack of 500 cover letters and resumes that the hiring manager will receive for just one ad and many will have more experience and better qualifications than you.

You just need to be sure that your cover letter and resume shows off your strengths and experience better than the other guy. And if you follow the ideas in this section, they will!

Job-hunting is like the sales profession. It always comes down to – he who has the best “story” wins. Unless your boss was either friends with the hiring manager, or the nephew of the owner, or had compromising photos of the President, he/she probably got into the position because they had a great “story” to tell.

Here’ a question I hear all the time – I have better credentials yet they got the job. How did they do it? The answer is simple: They did their “homework” ahead of time. They put the time required into the job-hunting process.

In addition all the pieces of their job-hunting process had the same CONSISTENT look, feel and style. Not only did their cover letter, resume, interview, thank you letters, and negotiating have the same style, it was the style the company was looking for. As a matter of fact, the hiring company felt damn lucky to land such a find!

What does it mean to have the “best story”? Let me define “story”. A great story essentially means that to the employer, you have “The Right Stuff”.

A great story evolves from a well thought out job-hunting system where all pieces of the “campaign” are closely aligned. It requires thought, logic, study and of course practice. It’s a theme that continually shows up in anything and everything you write or say.

Developing a great story takes time and it takes thought. As agonizing as it can sometimes be, the process of gathering information for your cover letter and resume will prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences in the job-changing process. It forces you to compile and summarize the most important facts and significant achievements of your career. It also helps you narrow down the focus of your current job search objective and develop your story.

In the StreetSmart Job Changing System, there is a self-analysis section designed to help you answer some important questions that will be the basis for developing your story.

Some of these questions include:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I like to do?
  • Where do I want to be in 5 years and what would I like to be doing?
  • What do I want to get out of my next job?
  • Where do I want to end up?
  • What do I really want to do?

As you go through your self-analysis, remember, there are no “right or wrong” answers to these questions. The answers to these questions however will help you create the entire make up of your resume.

The purpose of exposing your strengths and weaknesses at this stage is so that you can accentuate the strengths and either not expose or work on/explain your weaknesses.

Remember, during the all-important screening process you have less than 30 seconds to convince the hiring manager that you have a great story. You do that by clearly showing the hiring manager:

  • What you are looking for,
  • Your major skills,
  • Whether or not you can you help solve their problems and
  • Your greatest accomplishments

Jason Adams is President of Street Smart Sales and Marketing and author of the highly acclaimed book The StreetSmart Job-Changing System.

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