Who Needs a Career Story? You Do!

On June 28, 2012, in Blog, Leadership Career Brand, by Christine Glasco

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article titled What is Your Career Story?  I identified why leaders need to have a Career Story, the benefits of developing a Career Story and the difference between a Career Story and the typical networking-oriented Elevator Speech.

I didn’t provide information on how to develop a Career Story.

So, if you are wondering how to develop your Career Story, one approach would be to use a modified Lifeline Approach – or in this case: a Career Lifeline.

The Career Lifeline identifies significant accomplishments, promotions, etc., and is usually depicted in a linear fashion.  The typical Career Lifeline can look and feel very one dimensional and well — boring!  Here’s an example:

After your boss, your team or industry influencers have read your resume or heard your work history once – they really won’t want to sit through the whole story again.

What might be a more captivating or compelling way to tell your Career Story?

I recommend that you develop a variation of the River of Life model.  The River of Life is described as: “imagining that your life [or career] is a river, participants can articulate, using the landscape, water, boats etc., the major events and milestones…

Through visualization, the River can become a compass, a guide as it captures the failures and successes over time. Also, it offers participants [the opportunity] to identify their roles, where they fit in the big picture and where they [have and] can make the most impact.”

A Career River example using the same factual data in the Career Lifeline example above might look something like this:

Steps to Complete a Career River drawing:

  1. Draw a winding river.
  2. On the left side of the river, identify the significant forward motion, wins, triumphs, learnings, promotions, people that helped you succeed, etc.
  3. On the right side of the river, identify the trials, problems, ‘do-overs’, setbacks, etc., and what you learned along the way.
  4. Once you complete your Career River, use the drawing and describe it to a Trusted Advisor or to a career coach.  Hopefully, your Trusted Advisor or coach will ask thought-provoking questions and provide you with additional insights to add to your Career River drawing.

As you prepare your Career Story, even if you are not an artist (GUILTY!) I recommend that you draw the picture first before you verbalize it.

Remember, you will be telling all or parts of your Career Story during interviews; in team meetings; in conversations with your boss and peers; when you meet with industry influencers; when you have a networking meeting where you need more than an Elevator Speech; when acknowledging a weakness; when receiving criticism; when receiving praise, etc.

A question for you to consider:

  • Who needs a Career Story? You do!


© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco, Career Coach – consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management, career transition and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Who Needs a One Page Career Plan? You Do!   Website: www.christineglasco.com   Email:  info@christineglasco.com  Phone:  1.940.367.0837

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