Do you know your story?  Sounds like an easy question, right.  You should know it, it is ‘your’ story after all.  You’d be surprised to learn, however, the number of students who have a difficult time articulating their own stories.  You’d also be surprised to learn this is the biggest detriment to your landing a job after graduation.

College graduates can feel like a dime a dozen these days.  Companies have many applicants applying for a limited number of positions, so what is it that makes your management (or history or finance or English) degree stand out from all the other management degrees competing for the same position?  It’s you.  There are thousands of management degrees but only one you with a management degree.  This is your story – the unique experiences in your life that make you who you are.  This is what you need to leverage in cover letters, interviews and follow-ups.  So let’s talk story for a minute.

With only a limited number of words or amount of time allowed to impress the gatekeepers of companies, how do you know which parts of your story to share?  And how do you best share them?  Start by listing your strengths – your greatest skills.  We all have them, now is not the time to be modest.

Review your list and think back to times in your life that helped develop or sharpen these skills.  Was it that time in college you led your team to victory in the Entrepreneur challenge?  Or maybe ended that challenge in an epic failure but with a major lesson learned?  Share that.  Was it when you were tasked to work on a project far above your skill set at a previous job and rose to the challenge?  Tell them what you did to rise up…and don’t forget to share the outcome of the project!

Maybe your story involves being raised wealthy but learning to overcome entitlement and work doggedly hard for things?  Or perhaps being raised with no money at all but becoming very proficient in raising funding for goals?  Tell them how you did it, how much capitol you raised, and what you learned from it.  Discover how to pull out and articulate these aspects of your life and you’ve got your story – and a candidate with a story will always stand out.  Show them “you” and land that dream job now!