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How to Craft a Compelling Career Story

26 August, 2016

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

It’s the question some job seekers dread. Should you talk about your hobbies? Why you’re looking for a new job? What you ate for dinner last night?

Answering this question is why knowing your career story comes in handy. Your career story sums up what has happened in your professional life, taking into account where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re headed. It is a good way to introduce yourself to both new and prospective colleagues as well as provide insight behind the bullets on your resume.

So, how can you craft a compelling career story? Here are a few tips.

Chuck the lost footage; show your highlight reel.

Of which accomplishments are you most proud? What milestones have you experienced? Have you lived in interesting locales for work? Think about two to three notable aspects of your career and be sure to share them. Career stories combine the strongest and most colorful parts of your trajectory and leave out the less compelling parts.

Make it “per-fessional.”

A compelling career story is both personal and professional. It showcases why your interests and personality align with the career path you’ve chosen.

Channel your first grade self.

When you were six years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? If you’re in sales and your answer is “veterinarian” what aspects of that job fit with your aspirations What inspires you now in a work environment? Do you value freedom? Creativity? Autonomy? These are important aspects of your career story.

Be honest.

It seems simple, but it can be easy to say what we think people want to hear instead of telling the truth. Be honest about your career path; when you shift careers or part ways with a company, share that in a way that is both professional and forthright. Avoid playing the blame game when it comes to previous employers.

Know what to save for the appendix.

A compelling career story is simple and short. If there are other things you’d like to mention about your career journey, you can always refer a recruiter or potential employer to your resume or even an online portfolio.

Ready to craft your career story? Check out these sample stories that propel careers.

 

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