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What We're Reading Now

9 May 2011

Rachel recommends Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. When it comes to an effective job search, everyone has a story to tell. 

Tags: careers, coaching, communication, rachel read

There are a lot of reasons that people choose to work with a professional coach. Feeling stuck? Building a skill? Improving relationships? Tapping your strengths? Practicing balance? A good coach can help with all of that. (In case you're interested, I'd say that the coaches at Allison Partners are pretty good. Granted, I'm biased.) Another reason people seek the support of a coach is to navigate career transition or a job search. Let's face it: the process of finding and getting a new job is daunting at best, and having a coach to help from the sidelines can be a real difference maker.

Now, a coach can't (or at least shouldn't) do your job search for you. But a coach can help you identify what you want and forge a path from here to there. Don't have a coach? Don't worry. There are lots of books and other resources to help you. So many, in fact, that were you to walk into your local library or bookstore, you might be overwhelmed by the compendiums proclaiming, "1,000 Best Resumes Ever" and "Never Write Another Cover Letter Again." (OK, so those exact titles are fictitious, but you catch my drift.) Take my advice: once you've figured out what you want, you can find most of the tactical job search how-to advice that you want online, and Tell Me About Yourself can help you figure out how to talk to your future employers.

Whether or not your next interview begins when someone asks you these famous words, you'll be well-served by Hansen's approach to storytelling and the abundant examples she provides demonstrating how stories can help you with networking requests, resumes, cover letters, interviews, performance reviews, and more. Less a book for reading cover-to-cover and more a resource to work your way through, this guide explains why stories unlock doors and shows how to convert a list of experience and accomplishments into compelling narratives. It takes some effort, but I've seen this approach work for many, many clients. 

So before the next time you're asked, "Tell me about yourself," in an interview, do your homework. Pick up this book. Or hire a coach. Or both. You'll be well on your way to creating a happy ending for your story.


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