Most people can tell the story of their career journey in a few sentences or less. Most of us can “walk someone through our resume,” to use the popular interviewing prompt.
What most people do not do, however, is take the time to build a narrative around their career story that is meaningful, authentic, and strategic to their goals. Your career narrative is an opportunity to provide more than the facts of where and when you worked at various jobs. Your career narrative encompasses the goals you started out with, how they shifted along the way, how you have grown, and where you’re ready to go next.
Your intentional career narrative will not only help you in interviews, but it will also help you connect and build relationships with colleagues, customers, and partners. Being able to tell your story demonstrates a level of self-awareness and confidence that draws aligned connections. If you work in healthcare marketing but your narrative is all about science and learning, then telling your story will attract others with shared and complementary interests.
Most importantly, taking the time to create your intentional career narrative will help you understand your journey better, including all those unexpected twists and turns. Maybe you stayed longer than you planned to at a particular company, but the commute was too good to pass up when you were also caring for a parent. Maybe you made a move that didn’t work out as planned, but you learned how important it is for you to align with leadership on a values level. Making peace with all the moves – the good, the bad, and the ugly – is another way to demonstrate insight and maturity in your career journey.
If you’d like to work on building your intentional career narrative, ask yourself what prompted each move on your path, what key skills you developed, and the important lessons learned. Consider each position a chapter and include important educational and volunteering experiences too. Then share your story and watch as your connections deepen and flourish.