To maximize your success in interviews you need to be prepared to tell a compelling story – your story. This is not a fantasy tale of the dream you but the true story of your experience, competencies and goals. The interviewer will have your resume in advance of the interview so they already have the facts. You need to add the context to the facts by telling your story successfully.
Define Your Story – In the job search, you are your own personal brand. Consider carefully who you are and what value you bring to the employer. Think in advance about how you best present that story in your interview. It is not simply stating the facts. They know you pursued your MBA from your resume. Be prepared to talk about why you chose to pursue further education, why you chose the particular school, what your learned that has been most valuable in your career, etc. Show the interview your thought process and motivation while providing context for the facts.
Market Yourself – Often career decisions are motivated by certain realities in the moment but with hindsight you can see a path the evolved from those decisions. You are selling yourself in the interview process so focus on the bigger picture. Instead of saying you went back to school because you’d be laid off, explain that in a difficult economy you realized that you needed to hone your business skills to be successful in the long term. This was the perfect opportunity to seek further education to make a career change or to accelerate your career advancement. Maybe you left a particular job to gain more experience in a new area that would be critical to your longer term goals.
Be Confident and Prepared – These are the questions interviewers expect you to nail. It is your story, you know it better than anyone else. Be well prepared so you tell your story confidently without hesitation when asked. You should not need time to think about the answers to these questions. Practice with a friend to ensure that you can articulate your story effectively. Often you can skip the boring I left this job to this and then took another job to do that. Weave a story to show your progression and motivation while highlighting the skills you developed along the way.
Effectively telling your story in an interview can significantly increase your success.