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Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career Paperback – April 1, 2009
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Katharine, who writes my favorite blog on applied storytelling, interviewed job seekers and studied reams of resumes while earning her doctorate. She supplies step-by-step story construction tips and illustrates her points with actual resumes and cover letters gathered in her research.
She clearly did an exhaustive literature search to gather a wide range of expert opinion on the subject. My only criticism is that Katharine could have synthesized the academic literature a bit more and taken a few risks by providing her own opinion.
Katherine puts the issue well for all of us, whether we are in the job market or are building our careers where we are: We should carefully nurture our own personal brand. And we know the best brands are those that evoke intrigue and emotion through the story that they tell.
Our work focuses on self-analysis of one's God given gifts (their uniqueness), branding, resume writing, the use of social networks with an emphasis on LinkedIN, development of networking skills, interviewing, closing the deal, and more recently, STORY TELLING.
Katherine Hansen, Ph.D., with her "Tell About Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career" has provided a much needed guide and resource for groups like ours and for all in career or life transition.
Storytelling is a critical communication tool for career success, regardless of walk of life. Human beings are storytelling naturals since we lead storied lives. Good storytelling conveys events that bridge gender, age, and occupational divides to transfer knowledge and experience. Stories engage listeners and are therefore remembered, more than facts. Listening to a story being told can create personal connections and foster a deeper understanding of the storyteller.
"Tell Me About Yourself" begins with the basics of good storytelling, then applies the basics to the job search process - branding, networking, resume writing, cover letters, portfolios, and interviewing. It concludes with the use of storytelling beyond the job search to career advancement - managing organizational transitions, subtle self-promotion, and managing stressful situations. Hansen provides ample examples throughout.Read more ›
I've been at this for a while, but I did find the section on story structures useful, though overlong. In particular, tying the moral of the story - the lesson learned - to future action can be very powerful.
But there are too many stories, and too little analysis and structure, and too many of them are couched in a way that would make me either wince or guffaw if I were the hiring manager. E.g. "At the very instant I read your ad for a Merchandising Specialist, everything clicked. The description of the job became one with my passion, and I knew the match between me and this job was perfect." Please.
The book also has numerous examples of successful resumes, cover letters, bios, and other correspondence to help "sell" yourself to a prospective employer.
Here's my take:
1. The book is an excellent book on interviewing, and also how prospective employees should present/introduce themselves to employers
2. The book is more suited to people who are trying to obtain a management, supervisory, or white-collar job. The author already assumes that you know the basics, (like, don't show up in jeans and flip-flops). She assumes that you have some skills and education, so this isn't a book for someone trying to get a job waiting tables. It's geared towards working professionals.
3. The book's best points are the cover letter tips & examples, as well as the story examples, of which there are many. She also goes over how to handle a termination with dignity so you don't burn any bridges.
Overall, I think this is an excellent guide, especially for the price, which is quite reasonable for the material provided and the page count. I felt that the title was a poor choice, and maybe even a little misleading, but I don't feel that's enough of a reason to give this book less than 5 stars, considering the quality of the material.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Easy and informative read. It was the best 15 bucks I've spent when it came to interviewing. Would highly recommend.Published on March 2, 2014 by Jeffrey W. Hancock
I am a volunteer co-leader of a large career transition support group. We try to help people prepare for job interviews by teaching them how to use stories to respond to behavioral... Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Triangle Al
This book has several practicle tips and guidelines for anyone wishing to develop powerful and meaningful stories using details from ones personal experiences. Read morePublished on March 15, 2013 by William A. Harris, Jr.
The title of this book caught my attention because the response to the question, "Tell me about yourself" is what employers want to know whether or not they ask the specific... Read morePublished on January 8, 2013 by NJ Miller