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Filling in the White Spaces for the Job Hunt

Written by Stacy Blackman, President of Stacy Blackman Consulting. Most candidates believe they are what they’ve done, and totally miss out on the why.

Stacy Blackman     |     Oct 18, 2015


Everyone wants to land the job of their dreams, and for many prospective and current MBA students today that means their eyes are on companies like McKinsey, BCG, Goldman Sachs and Amazon. But the truth is, the odds of a job offer from these companies are almost on a par with buying a winning lottery ticket. And it’s not because the applicants aren’t qualified, or didn’t deliver when it comes to their academic background; it’s because they cling to the belief that perfect scores or the right university will make them a perfect candidate. They believe they are what they’ve done, and totally miss out on the why.

With the competition being so fierce, you have to be more than a resume. If your interviewer wanted formulaic answers, they’d read your resume and cover letter and that would be that. They’re interviewing you because they want to get to know you. Your personality is as unique as your experiences. Share your story and share who you are, and why you made the choices you did. What those choices were is far less relevant—or interesting, frankly. The real story is not the what or the when: it’s in the whys. It’s about filling in the white spaces on your resume.

When the interviewer asks, Tell me a little bit about yourself, don’t relegate your answers to just a bunch of categories on a piece of paper: Background. Education, Work Experience. If you really want to create a memorable impression, whether it’s for a job, admission to graduate school, or heck, even on a date, you need to open up and fill in those white spaces.

What were the transitions that got you from your education to your work experience? Make sure the stories and examples you share give the interviewer a sense of your interests, passions, goals, values, decision-making framework, and personality. Share details that allow the interviewer to get to know you as a person. You might mention where you grew up, or provide more personal anecdotes about family and outside interests. These transitions give the person opposite you a lot of insight into how you think, what kind of team member you’ll be and, more importantly, what kind of impact you’ll have on the world after b-school.

A good storyteller knows the importance of both omission and selection, of leading with the most captivating information in order to hook the reader in. A good interviewee will employ those same storytelling principles to stand out from the masses vying for the same position. And if it feels more like a conversation as opposed to a monologue, you’ll keep the interviewer interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.

You are not just your resume. You are the white spaces in between, which can tell a story that’s just as important as the bullet points on your resume. You are the transitions that got you from A to B and that will get you from b-school to (fingers crossed!) a post-MBA job you’ll love.

Stacy Blackman MBA Admissions Consulting provides personalized, comprehensive assistance with every stage of the b-school application process.

Written by Stacy Blackman - Please submit all responses to jackmara@10Thoughts.com

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