Story telling is a proven method for conveying key messages, usually by teachers, leaders and journalists. It is a technique that can work for job seekers, also, especially at a senior level. It’s a way for you to highlight key accomplishments, and indicate the scope and impact of your work.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Identify three or four accomplishments of which you are really proud. They need to show different aspects of your ability. For example, one story could show your facility with numbers or complexity, another could showcase how you work well with others and team, another could demonstrate how you deal with crises, and the last could focus on long-term payoff of your planning and disciplined execution.
If you’ve used my Accomplishments worksheet, you already have a lot of the raw material for your stories. See my post from yesterday.
If you come up with five or six, chances are that some of them contain similar elements. You can combine them under one heading, to demonstrate a consistent thread through your career and a clear talent and knack for succeeding in those situations. Numbers really help tell the story!
2. Write out the story and then come up with the headline or punchline. This is the core result and the behavior that led to the result. A great result is directional, meaning you affected something – preferably positively. For example, say “increased cost-effectiveness of campaign” instead of “reduced costs of campaign.” People would rather be associated with something that’s growing or happy or positive. The best headlines tell a pretty complete story even if someone doesn’t read the whole story.
3. Edit, edit, edit! The shorter and pithier the story, the easier it is to get someone to read it.
4. Add the stories to your resume. Place a KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS section immediately under your PROFILE and before your EXPERIENCE.
This whole exercise will prepare you extremely well for any interviews you have. It also helps you identify your core value proposition.
Here are three examples.
Telecom Marketing Leader
- Launched successful products in highly competitive markets. As part of nationwide key market launch, introduced wireless company as the 4th entrant into an already competitive market. Launch ranked sixth out of 40 markets, despite company’s smaller coverage area and more expensive equipment. For another company, took over mid-launch of cable modems in Los Angeles area. Increased sales by 150% over first part of roll-out. Created marketing campaign and participated in analyst tour that secured $11M for US launch of Finnish company offering next generation DSL.
- Transformed liabilities into profit by developing cost effective marketing opportunities. Identified opportunity to save customers and revenue by buying third party ISP vendors that were going out of business. Framed opportunity and championed idea internally. Received buy-in and was appointed by the CEO to team building the transition plan. As a result, over 75% of customers were retained and revenues stayed within budget.
- Created groundbreaking effective marketing programs. Created first wireless kiosk and subsequent roll-out as a transformative approach to increasing indirect sales channels. With New Orleans Saints’ owner’s company, created and co-marketed Automotive Dealership Program which put “car phones” at his 12 car dealerships where people were buying cars. Result was 200% increase in sales.
- Generated sizable sales leads through co-marketing and visibility campaigns. Created program with malls to offer their customers free or discounted wireless phones when they purchased a specific amount. Increased sales by 150% during the holiday season. Idea was converted into a company-wide program. Utilized NFL sponsorship to wildly promote launch of [company] with advertising, speaking engagements, grass roots marketing and an on-site promotion that generated 4000 sales leads pre-launch.
Financial Services Marketing Executive
- Transformed internal culture after financial crisis. Conceived of and sold idea for video featuring senior leadership discussing Prime Finance looking forward past the financial crisis. Created look and feel of video in collaboration with producer. Kept production on time and under budget with shooting in NY, London and Hong Kong. Well received by teams at all levels; shown at several senior off-sites throughout the year. Long term impact is significantly improved staff morale and productivity in each region.
- Maximized revenue by focusing on world-class platforms for most profitable hedge fund strategies. Identified revenue opportunities by segmenting clients by strategy, drawing on internal knowledge gathered by sales team, especially those who worked at other firms and at hedge funds. Assessed competitive environment and client needs. Got buy-in from senior management to shift development priorities to focus on most potentially profitable strategies. Revised product development platform and supplied sales team with information on key attributes and benefits.
- Increased sales results through targeted internal marketing campaign. Designed multi-step, easily repeatable Cross-Sell Campaign targeted to regional trading and sales groups in the US. Crafted marketing messages with Heads of Sales and Equities to generate buy-in across diverse teams. Developed materials aligned with [company] brand and business goals. Facilitated the cross sell roundtable sessions. Impact included immediate significant increase in cross-sell, tighter relationships between sales desks within capital markets, and increased visibility for Prime Finance.
- Reinforced overall brand strategy by ensuring cultural alignment throughout operations. At Prime Finance, led the merger of three distinct Prime Brokerage businesses. Rapidly wove them into one cohesive business group, in part by creating Prime Finance University that taught staff about shared business goals, culture and values. For [company] office build-out, communicated company brand clearly to architects, designers and contractors. Oversaw all elements of the build to ensure adherence to the brand. Final offices delivered on time and within budget, reflected the company culture and brand, and well received by senior management and staff.
High-Impact Senior Operations Executive
- • Brought several new products to market. Commercialized 3 new instant imaging products last assignment. In a prior post, diversified existing medical imaging portfolio at cGMP plants by introducing diagnostic, radio-diagnostic and immunoassay products. Appointed by CEO to Board’s Technology Investments Committee to contribute to key product development and technology investment decisions. Experience in all aspects of Product Lifecycle from design, development, scale-up and launch to portfolio management and exit-planning.
- • Transformed liabilities into profit through sales of plants and assets. Identified opportunity to generate cash by selling plant was scheduled for closing. Framed the opportunity and championed idea internally, and then partnered with Corporate Business Development to find a buyer. The parent firm sold the plant to a new entity, in exchange for an equity stake, a board position (that I held), and cash. Sales of assets exceeded cost of closing the product line. When the new company was sold within one year, we realized profits of $XX. In earlier positions, closed other plants, and sold operating sites and manufacturing equipment while meeting all US and foreign regulatory requirements.
- • Exceeded profit targets. Closed a $500M product line, by developing and successfully implementing a Long Range Plan including a communications strategy. External consultants predicted minimal gain on the sale, yet successfully delivered $168M in operating profits on revenue of $960M over thirty-month period – 266% higher than expected. Profit margin was 17.5%. In another position, turned around $4M division from operating loss of $250K to operating profit of $400K in 18 months.
- • Reduced worldwide inventory and increased cash flow. As CEO-appointed “Product Czar,” led a global initiative in key $700M world-wide division that reduced inventory and improved cash flow while maintaining excellent customer fulfillment performance.