Telling Your Life Story at Your Next Interview

John Krautzel
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Researching the company and rehearsing answers to common interview questions are not enough to ace a job interview. It's also important to tell some of your life story to your interviewers, because you must convey how your personal brand fits with the position. Examine some tips for developing your personal narrative so you can illustrate what you represent as a professional.

1. Discover Main Themes

Think back over your life and determine what experiences made you the person you are today. These experiences become starting points for telling your life story during a job interview. Perhaps your family loved a particular brand of car growing up, which is why you want to become an engineer for a particular auto industry heavyweight. Maybe you went on a two-year journey of discovery and decided why you want to work in public relations. Emotional events that stick with you are the main reasons why you seek certain types of professional fulfillment.

2. Narrow Your Focus

Narrow your main ideas and identify specific events that tailored your brand to your current profession. A high school teacher saw your knack for repairing cars and math, and he fostered your sense of building cars from scratch. Along your journey of discovery, a mentor said you had a great way of convincing someone of your point of view, which is a behavior that's perfect for a PR job. Relate these stories in a job interview to make them a part of your narrative. The point of having these stories about your past is that they set you apart from other candidates. Interviewers remember your story and connect that story with you and only you.

3. Talk About the Job

When a job interview question comes up that seemingly has little to with the job at hand, answer in a way that complements the position. For example, you interview for a sales job at a company that sells software. In your free time, you tinker with apps behind the scenes to try to improve them. This gives you insider knowledge that other salespeople may not possess, and that also sets you apart from the pack of interviewees.

4. Stay Positive

Tell stories that relate how you value positivity in your work environment. Rather than discuss the better pay at this position, talk about the values you share with the company. Tap into the firm's mission statement and explain why you plan to stay loyal to the firm's mission. Don't forget about your principles of teamwork.

5. Own Your Destiny

Own your destiny by using an active method to show how you succeeded in the past and why you can bring your past successes to this position. That means tapping into the STAR method of storytelling. Lay out a situation you faced, the task you needed to complete, the actions you took and the result of what happened. The STAR method, regardless of your circumstances, shows how you took action to get something done in your life. Rehearsing this method over and over leads to job interview success no matter what question comes your way.

A job interview is a two-way conversation. Make your interview a valuable experience by telling the story of your personal brand that goes beyond the basics of your resume and cover letter.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at


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  • Mira G.
    Mira G.

    Thank you for the information. I greatly appreciate it!

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