By Sunny Simon
As I hung up with my new client, I knew he had some hurdles to jump before accepting a new position. Thomas, a long-time entrepreneur, did not lack in the talent or experience categories, but one important factor held him back. He missed the mark in salesmanship. The resume we worked on would easily get him in the door, but I feared he would fall flat during the interview process because he lacked the ability to tell his story.
Thomas is a rather humble low-key guy. Let’s face it, there is no room for modesty in an interview. If he didn’t learn the art of selling his background in an interesting congenial manner he would never make the short list.
The good news is, with practice, anyone can perform well in an interview situation. Thomas just needed to gain confidence. We began our interview preparation by talking about his transferable skills. Sometimes a visual exhibit helps, so I slipped a list of skills in front of him and asked him to check off all off the applicable boxes. Within 5 minutes the list grew to 50 hard and soft skills.
Next we did some interview practice. After Thomas answered the question we switched roles and I retold his story in an authentic manner highlighting his achievements. Again we switched rolls and with more practice, Thomas began to understand the art of communicating his strengths in an conversational manner.
If you’re reading this article you may be wondering how to coach yourself into scoring high on a interview score. In her book, “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It,” Communication Coach, Peggy Klaus, advises the way to successfully ace an interview begins by making your resume come to life, so I suggest you start there. My client’s resume claimed he is “Adept at streamlining processes to improve operations and establish a highly efficient business.” When I asked him to give me an example of how he improved the business landscape, he launched into five scenarios proving his worth.
Have a friend or mentor pick apart your resume drilling down on your achievements. Work on creating compelling narratives illustrating your accomplishments. Remember, you need to be memorable and rise above the competition so average answers will not cut it. Craft a beginning, middle and end. Be specific, be concise and describe how you solved a problem and carried the ball to the end zone. Interviewing is a skill that Thomas mastered with practice. You can too! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com