Accomplishment Stories Your Most Powerful Tool to Get the Job Offer – Part 2 of 2

Friday, December 28th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, News item

Select 5 or 6 work-related examples from any time in your career, and answer the following questions to complete the “stories.” Each of your answers should constitute its own paragraph on the page (so each full story will be written in 5 separate paragraphs). Give a short title to each story, and type it at the top of each respective page.

  1. What was the problem, need or challenge?
  2. What did you do about it? (Not the team or department – YOU).
  3. How did you do it, specifically?
  4. What positive, tangible results did you produce? (Quantify if possible)
  5. What skills did you demonstrate?* (List 3-4 skill words for each story).

*Skill words include the following. Use only the words below; selecting 3 to 4 maximum per story, to answer question #5 above.

Management, Observation, Communication, Leadership, Presentation, Persuasion, Analysis, Innovation, Team-Building, Problem-Solving, Follow-Through, Organization.

A Checklist to Help Jog Your Memory about Your Accomplishments:

Was there ever a time when you …

  • Managed teams, departments or projects?
  • Saved money for your department or company?
  • Achieved greater results with limited/fewer resources?
  • Received special recognition, awards, or letters of commendation?
  • Implemented new systems, processes or procedures?
  • Opened new client accounts or expanded an existing one?
  • Increased your company’s productivity or profitability?
  • Solved an unusually challenging business problem?
  • Increased sales revenue?
  • Were promoted or given more responsibility?
  • Achieved something that had never been done before at your company?
  • Designed or developed something unique?
  • Wrote papers or reports, or conducted presentations?
  • Trained or mentored employees?
  • Increased efficiency or speed?
  • Recognized challenges before they became real problems?
  • Improved safety standards?
  • Brought-in projects under budget and before deadline?
  • Exceeded expectations of the boss?
  • Organized and carried-out new initiatives?

Putting Your Accomplishment Stories to Work:

By asking probing questions, you can uncover the “pain” of the interviewer and discover the company’s/department’s/boss’s biggest problems and challenges. Then, you can tie your relevant Accomplishment Stories directly to those pressing problems and challenges. When you can do this effectively, you will often receive a job offer! This is also how you can successfully differentiate yourself from all the other candidates. The process goes like this:

Candidate asks probing questions to get at the challenging issues/problems of the company. Candidate listens for, identifies, and confirms the specific need or gap, in the form of the skill words (Communication, Organization, Follow-Through, Analysis, etc.) Then candidate says, “Ms. Smith, it sounds like you have a challenge in this department with Organization, is that right?” (Or whatever the appropriate “skill word” is). Employer says, “Yes, we do.” Candidate says, “Well, I have very strong Organizational skills. In fact, I’d like to tell you a story about a time when I leveraged my Organizational skills at my last company, to generate exceptional business results in a similar situation. Would you like to hear it?” Employer says, “Sure!” Candidate tells the full Accomplishment Story in the five-part sequence (just as it’s written). Candidate concludes the Accomplishment Story by saying, “So as you can tell, Ms. Smith, the skills I demonstrated in this example include Analysis, Problem-Solving – and most importantly, Organization!”

If you develop and use your Accomplishment Stories in this manner, there will be a high likelihood that the employer’s will response will be, “Great! When can you start?”


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About Ford Myers

Career Success and Job Search Expert, Ford R. Myers

Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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