In several moments and situations in my life and career journey I have had to answer the following questions – who are you? What do you do? What makes you the best candidate for this job? How would this opportunity fit with your life or career goals? What are your career goals? What do you see as your legacy? What advice would you give me to succeed in this role, this career or this organisation? How did you become who you are today? How have you practiced that soft skill? What would be your value addition to the team?
In all these cases I responded many different versions of my career story that were relevant to the question and audience. In a world where to get opportunities, jobs and to be noticed among many competing voices, our career storytelling ability whether through a CV, a blog, a speech, a social media post, an interview, a performance review or any other means and platform is a critical career planning and career management skill. This Ennie Career Coach Learning Resource has been developed and shared to help you with that.
🌟 What is a Career Story?
A “Career Story” captures your career journey in story format. It is a narrative of your professional life covering experiences from the paid and unpaid work you have done, as well as your life roles.
It is a systematic narrative approach to career construction and career planning, where writing your story can be a facilitated process or an individual exercise.
The presentation, content, length and focus of your career story depends on the purpose you are writing or telling it for.
It answers key questions for you and the reader or listener about your life, learning and career to date.
🌟 Why do you need a Career Story and How to Use your Career Stories?
You do not have one career story, but multiple career stories that narrate parts of your professional life, your experiences and choices in different ways and at different life or career development stages. We are multiplestoried individuals…and they present the various pieces that are you. What you choose to narrate, how you package it and share it depends on many factors…but the two critical ones are audience and purpose. E.g. what and how you share your career story at a networking event, is slightly different from an interview situation.
🌟 Career stories have many uses, namely ~
1. For getting to know you better ~ building self awareness, self confidence and agency;
2. For networking conversations that enable others to know you, connect with you and what you want in the future;
3. For career construction or career planning based on emerging themes, patterns and ideas for your future;
– for documenting and communicating your soft skills in practice e.g. using the STAR Story Technique = (what was the SITUATION; what was your TASK; what ACTIONS did you take that demonstrate that soft skill and with what RESULTS and lessons).
4. For searching for opportunities or as part of a job search strategy;
5. To market yourself, build credibility for your profile, brand and influence others.
6. For use in performance reviews or when asking for a raise or promotion.
7. As a mullet CV or mini biography or profile to introduce you to an audience.
8. To give people in your social and professional network descriptive material for them to introduce you, champion and promote you.
🌟 Self-Coaching Guide to Write Your Career Story or Stories
Below are pointers of what to include in your Career story and present in creative ways depending on purpose and audience. When you have written it, practice telling it to others out loud.
INSTRUCTIONS ~ Answer the following questions and then connect responses in a coherent career story ~
¤ Who are you and how do you describe your value ~ include your name and core skills / strengths / qualifications / occupation / title etc.
¤ What problems do you solve, for individuals, companies, society or a specific sector or group of people? This establishes and communicates your niche and value add.
¤ What’s your vocation or calling ~ what’s important to you, your life’s work? This is personal vision, life purpose and values for others.
¤ What has influenced or is influencing your career? This is a systems approach to career storytelling using influencers at the individual, social and environmental-societal level to tell your story.
Individual influencers e.g. age, knowledge, skills, abilities, passion, interests, personality, health, education, life roles etc
Social influencers e.g. cultural practices, beliefs and expectations, family, friends, networks, community, history etc
Environmental-Societal influencers e.g. economy, labour market, location, citizenship, globalization, trends, politics, environment etc
¤ When and Why you made certain career choices? This is intentionally or due to chance events (unplanned occurrences, encounters or “lucky breaks”).
¤ Where have you come from (PAST)? You can include your career path, choices, influencers, highlights, successes, failures, lessons etc.
¤ Where you are now (PRESENT)? This includes your current occupation, “hustle”, ventures, gigs, education / learning commitments, life roles, career influencers, highlights, successes, failures, lessons etc.
¤ Where do you want to go in your career (FUTURE)? This includes your career goals and where you hope to take your career. What’s important to you in the future. Your influences.
In conclusion ~ a career story is a creative process of learning more about yourself, your life and career journey. It is a systematic way of reflecting and presenting your career as a connected whole, as well as, learning from your journey, identifying what is meaningful to you and being empowered to vision, plan and act to get the future mental picture of your career and life that you want.
Write your own story…update it regularly with new experiences and more layers of stories and gain a lot of value from the process.
Career Coach and Learning Expert 🔥
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*Ennie’s LinkedIn page* with my career story, networks, qualifications and references:
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