We recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of storytelling to your career.

The main point of the piece was to say that in business, storytelling is often the key to getting ahead. In fact, companies such as FedEx, Kimberly-Clark and Microsoft are teaching executives to tell relatable stories as a way to improve workplace communication.

Consider how this approach might be useful in your search for a fulfilling career. If you tell your career story in an appealing way, you can sell your experience much more effectively than a resume filled with stats and verbs in the past tense!

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who might be looking at your resume. Most likely, they will be unfamiliar with your company practices and might even be from another field completely (especially if your grey journey has you changing industries). Your best best is to “step back and put yourself into their shoes and take them through the process of understanding. That requires you to distill the most important facts and wrap them in an engaging story.”

When telling a great story, make sure it has these three components (similar to acts in a play):

1. Establish context. “You want to let your audience know who the main characters are, what the background of the story is, and what you’d like to accomplish by telling it.”

2. Describe the adversity encountered and how you fight to resolve it. “Success may require the main character to make additional capital investments or take on new training. Provide real-world examples and detail that can anchor the narrative.”

3. Inspire a call to action. Remember that the goal is to let your audience draw their own positive conclusion about you. You want to intrigue them enough to continue speaking to you about why you are the right person for the role. “Don’t be afraid to use your own failures in support of your main points.”

Have you had success telling your career story? Share any tips you may have with us in the comment section below. 

[Image: James Yang]

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