What is a Career Story and why you need one!
Simply put, a Career story is a narrative about your professional work history.
It outlines your career journey, how and why you got to where you are now, where you want to go, all while sprinkling in some key accomplishments along the way.
The trick is to remember that your story needs to be told in a strategic way to best align with your current career goals. This means, focusing more on the parts that are transferable to your desired role and less on the other parts that are less relevant.
The beauty of a career story is that it’s YOUR story, and you get to decide how you want to tell it!
Why create a Career Story?
Pro-tip: Having a clear career story will help you answer questions like the often ambiguous “Tell me about yourself?” with ease
It allows you to reflect on your career journey so far while enabling creative brainstorming on how you can leverage your experience to get to where you want to go.
It sets the tone for your entire job search process and will definitely make you feel more prepared for several steps of this journey. From networking events to interviews this will be a handy tool.
With your career story outlined, you can ditch the feelings of concern you have about those short job stints, career changes and other shifts in your work experience because you’ll work out a way on how to positively reframe them. Cool eh?
It can help you realize your strengths and accomplishments. It’s a real confidence builder!
It strengthens your personal brand and helps you really get in touch with yourself by helping you get super clear on your values, passions, and unique attributes.
Let’s get writing your Career Story. Bullet points are fine; however, if you write it out completely, your chances of retaining it quicker are higher. Seriously!
This is your HOOK —attention-grabbing. Perhaps you start your story with your career goal and what inspired you to start this career journey or your need for change. Or maybe you start with where you are now in your career and why you love it. Once you settle on a beginning, you can start going through your story chronologically.
This is your LINE — the meat of your story. Working chronologically will ensure your story is easy to follow and the listener doesn’t get lost. So, the next part of your story might be education.
Next is your experience. If you have had several jobs, you don’t have to describe everything. You can group similar jobs together.
Pro-tip: Every story has highs and lows (these can keep the listener interested)—just remember to explain how the lows inspired you to make changes. Maybe, it made you realize what you did or did not want to do?
This is your SINKER. This is where you simply connect the dots and tie everything together. Explain how your education, experience and interests led you to your current career goal. The goal is to make it obvious that the role(s) you are now targeting (or the one you are being interviewed for) is the logical next step based on how you reframed your career story.
By starting the job search process by reflecting on your career story, it will help you write an effective resume, compelling cover letter, a powerful LinkedIn profile introduction, and eventually help you land your dream job.
Good luck, you’ve got this!
Jen Narayan, Career Consultant