Episode 33 – Sher Leen’s Story: How I Learned Communication Skills and Landed a Job Out of 1000 Applicants

Communication skills and confidence CAN be learned. The important thing is to keep an open mind and be mindful of areas where you can improve.


Meet Sher Leen. Christina Canters design draw speak sher leenShe’s one listener who has proven that you CAN learn communication skills and achieve awesomeness as a result!

Sher Leen reached out to me because she was feeling very nervous about an upcoming job interview (actually it was an ‘assessment day’, so a whole day of interviews. And that was just the first round!).

She was changing directions in her career and wasn’t too confident about convincing the interviewers of her capabilities, given her lack of industry experience.

But she was determined to do her very best, and was open to learning some tricks to help with her confidence and communication.

She had only been listening to the podcast for a few weeks, but after taking on board a few key lessons (plus a couple of chats with me) and lots of practice, she has already found success in her recent job hunting experience.

Out of 1000 applicants, not only did she make the top 20 who progressed to the final round, but she was offered one of the positions! How cool is that! Big congrats to Sher Leen, you worked hard for it, so well done.

Sher Leen actually sent me an audio testimonial, which she is letting me share on the podcast. I want to share her story with you because it shows that you CAN learn communication skills and totally kick butt in a highly competitive job market!

Sher Leen’s key lessons:

  • Think confident and you’ll BE confident. Tell yourself “I’m a rock star!” (Discover more in my interview with the energetic Andrew Lovick in Episode 23)
  • Answer questions with ASSERTIVENESS. The more you do it, the easier it gets. (Blake Eastman and I talk a lot about this in Episode 22)
  • Mindset – don’t freak out about the interview questions; you are just sharing stories about yourself!
  • Be enthusiastic with everyone! Practice this leading up to the interview. On the phone, ordering coffee, other staff members, etc. When it got to the interview, she was already ‘warmed up’ and blew them away with her enthusiasm. For example, when they asked her why she wanted to work for their company, she said “I LOVE this question!”
  • “C.A.R.” approach to answering questions. This is the “Challenge, Action, Result” formula that Diane DiResta talks about in Episode 29. Sher Leen came up with 5 stories/examples and mentally tagged them with an attribute she wanted to demonstrate (ie ‘leadership’, ‘initiative’, ‘teamwork’ etc). This made it easy for her to recall them when asked “Tell us about a time when you demonstrated …….”

Challenge of the Week

Pick one thing that Sher Leen did. It could be answering with assertiveness, telling yourself you’re a rock star, or just being enthusiastic with a boring phone call – maybe to your bank, or phone company, or electricity provider  – make it a challenge to get a laugh or a non-robotic response from the other person. You may find they’ll treat you a bit nicer, plus you’ll make their day a little brighter too. And isn’t that what human interaction should be all about? :)

And finally…

Last episode’s challenge was to ask someone for advice. I gave this a shot and made a simple video for Donald Bates, professor at the University of Melbourne and Director of LAB Architecture. Want to hear his response? Listen to the episode!

What are your thoughts?