This is a story that is common where I hang out. I hear tale upon tale of what mums and dads are looking for career and business-wise, their aspirations and their challenges. What I always want to know though, is what it is about your life and your journey that brings you to where you are now? However, not everyone can answer this, apparently, simple question. When it comes to the next step in your career, be it a CV, interview or a presentation, there is one thing that moves you from ‘meh’ to marvellous. Storytelling.
Even before I started my writing journey (from blogger to author) there has been something consistent in my career and life. That the people and topics that have captured my attention have always ignited my imagination! They have painted a picture, given me valuable information or have moved me, emotionally. As a recruiter and manager, the people that have got the job, have been the ones that have carried me along with their examples about how they will do the job for me.
We are all primed to pay attention to stories. From childhood bedtime stories to scary ones round a campfire, to inspirational, motivational speakers, are neurons light up when the words we speak create a picture in our mind. Not only does it impact you at that moment, but it also releases chemicals which tells the brain that this is important. To pay attention. To be remembered.
And surely, you want to be remembered?
How to tell the story of your career
There is a way to uncover the story of your career which starts with answering the question “So What?” to the bottom of why you do what you do. Why the work you do makes a difference. Why your career path is where it is now. Many of us aspire (rightly so) to have a job we love, but to able to get other people on board, we need to show them how we can help them and to swap your skills and experience for money!
It is the question I asked myself when the seed of a book idea started in my head. To share my baby loss story to the world, felt a little raw and vulnerable at first. Then it felt like it might be a bit self-absorbed. But, as I dug deeper and deeper into “So what?”, I realised my why was to reduce the taboo around baby loss, miscarriage, and mental health. It has now given me a string to my career bow (Author) but also developed a new set of skills.
So, ask the same question to yourself. What is the point of what you do? This can help you build a picture of who you are then add it to the next stage in your storytelling journey.
The best way to structure a story, is using STAR, which will work for you once you have unpicked what you do and how you do it through your “So what?” exercise. STAR stands for Situation (background /set the scene), Task (what, when, where, who), Action (what you did) and Result (what happened, or the lesson learnt) and can create flowing example that can be used for CVs, interviews and even presentations (once you get the job, of course!)
Being able to provide a narrative to show how you are suitable for a role, both on paper and in person, goes beyond your job applications, and can be applied in a variety of ways in your career; maybe it will even be the background of your book?
I’d love to read your “So what?” answer. Come along to The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and share what your answer is.
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