Tuesday, July 30, 2013

words mean things // my story

Though the job search has been far from puppy dogs and rainbows, I have had the privilege of participating in several interviews. And every single one has started with the same question:

“So, Jenny, tell me a little about yourself.”

Now most people would respond {like me} with a series of facts about themselves. I am originally from Danville. I graduated from John Brown University. I have a degree in journalism. And their response {like mine} would be average and forgettable.

I recently read an article called 10 Ways to Ace Your Job Interview that said to respond to the question with a unique story. It states, “Your life experiences, achievements, failures and ambitions make you a unique person. Make sure that your story highlights your strengths and downplays your weaknesses.”

So, what’s my story? Why do I want the jobs I want? And what experiences and achievements make me qualified for those jobs? What’s my story?

I have given a lot of thought to that question, and I think it would go something like this:

I grew up in small town Arkansas and by graduation I knew I loved Danville, but I wanted bigger experiences than it could offer. I did something unheard of and chose to attend the small private Christian college three hours away over the local public University. I had no idea what I wanted to study, but I was pretty good at writing in high school so I visited with the journalism professor during early registration.

The professor was a former journalist and one of the most pessimistic and cynical people I have ever met, but I distinctly remember what he had to say that day. “Words mean things. Never forget it.” And that calloused old professor went on to tell how words could share truth, grab attention and provide hope. A simple story could change someone’s world. Words mean things.

I immediately declared journalism my major, aspiring to change the world with my prose. With the journalism major came life on the student newspaper. I started out covering women’s basketball articles eventually being promoted to Sports Editor to Graphic Designer to finally Editor-in-Chief. By the time I had finished my last issue, I had experienced every aspect of publishing a newspaper and all the challenges that come along with it. Though I developed some editing, time management and leadership skills, I knew that life on a hard news publication was not for me.

My junior year I discovered the wonderful world of marketing. I was fascinated by all the processes behind creating and communicating the value of a product, place or idea. Some of my favorite {and toughest} school projects were creating a marketing plan for Mama Carmen’s Espresso CafĂ©—a coffee shop that supports a Guatemala orphanage—and competing in the Collegiate Effie Brand Challenge conducting research and forming strategies for MINI USA.

Through these projects I realized how I could still use my skills in communication and design to create value for a company and its customers. My dream job would be a marketing director for a nonprofit organization, using my words to share truth, grab attention and provide hope. I still want to tell a story that will change someone’s life. I want my words, my life, to mean something.

So, that’s my story. What’s yours?

"...all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
-Psalm 139:16


  1. Jenny! I love this. My coworkers joke all the time about how the reason they hired me was because in my interview they asked the question "why should we hire you?" and I said "Because I want to be your friend" -- I have no idea why I did that in a professional setting but they left the room and said that girl is real & authentic and we should hire her. and it makes for a great story! one & a half years later and we still all joke about it!

    Being yourself and sharing YOUR story is really the best for a job interview. then they will know what they are getting into ;)

    1. That is so awesome and sounds exactly like something you would say. Real and authentic are perfect words to describe you - and I know they haven't regretted that decision. Thanks for the tip and the encouragement! I hope you have a great day!