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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Create Your Story

We all have our personal story. However, when it comes to telling it in an interview, it is usually done horribly. We want to play it safe and minimize gaps in employment. Unfortunately, that makes for a very boring story.

Hermina Ibara and Kent Lineback published an article in the Harvard Business Review (January 2005) titled, "What's Your Story?" The article explains how as people, our attention is captured and focused by a good story. RingCentral Online - Free Trial plus 10% Off

A good story is one that has drama, structure, and follows some basic themes. Whether it is overcoming adversity or discovering your best self, your personal narrative has to be compelling, and most importantly, true.

Each of us has suffered ups and downs not just in life, but also in our careers. Sometimes things have gone terribly wrong and it has taken time to correct them. Other times, events outside of work have required us to make changes that have taken us down paths we would have never thought to go. These events are compelling! They are certainly more compelling than a resume recitation. Find high-end jobs on Doostang. It takes 30 seconds to join. JOIN TODAY.

Here are some common themes from the Ibara and Lineback:
  • A protagonist the listener cares about - a struggle we all can relate to
  • A catalyst requiring action - often found the first act of plays
  • Trials and tribulation - the struggles and questions we face
  • A turning point - When clarity is achieved and action is taken
  • Resolution - The results of our decisions
Like any good story, our personal narrative should explain our career in a way familiar to listeners. As our lives are full of twists and turns, so are our careers. There is no shame in being laid off or fired, so long as you learned from the event and are better prepared for the next step. Communicate how you had to make hard decisions, difficult changes, but are better for it. Your life is important, so is your career. Tell your story, people will like it!

America's counting on them, can they count on you?

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