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One of the things that I’m always talking about is the need to be a story teller in your job search. You always have to retell the stories of your past accomplishment, experiences, and adventures in the working world to people who weren’t there. Otherwise, they would already know you and wouldn’t have to ask!
There are many ways to tell a story, and in the job search, it will come out in certain ways: in your resume, your cover letter, the interview, your tweets, your online portfolio, your Facebook wall, when I google your name, what someone else tells me about you, etc. The thing is that you need to know your stories first before you know which format to put them in. I find that a great number of my clients want me to help them with their resumes, but they don’t know what stories to tell. As I see it, there are three levels of the story of you:
- You in Your Essence: On the highest possible level, who do you say you are, and what do you want people to think of you. You can think of this in some way to be in line with your vision of yourself, but it could manifest itself in many ways.
- You in the Roles of Your Life: You as a college student is different from you in your current job. You have the story of you in each of your jobs, in every volunteer leadership role, and you as the captain of your middle school basketball team. How do you want to be known in each of these?
- You in the Projects You’ve Accomplished: Within each of your roles, you done some projects. Those projects might have been big (running a convention) or small (writing a press release) but they were all projects that had a beginning, middle, and an end. These are the stories that are easy enough to tell and get your point across about how you can help others.
What I’ve found is that many people are trying to tell a story about them at their essence (I’m great! I have great skills!), but it’s so vague that it doesn’t come across as meaningful, interesting or compelling. It’s really only in the stories about the projects you’ve accomplished that you can really make an impression. They build up to the areas of your essence and your roles. (For thoughts about how to tell your story, check out my post about Fairy Tales and telling your story.)
Granted, you will tell your stories differently depending on the audience, but that’s an entirely differently blog post.
So, do you know who you want to tell your stories to, and what stories you want to tell?
Two things happened this weekend that gave me a new perspective, and it was totally unexpected.
On Saturday, I got up, went to yoga class at The Arlington Center (highly recommended), went and did some shopping, came home, cleaned up, and then about mid afternoon noticed that I hadn’t been on line all day. At that point, I just said to myself that I should continue this and see how it goes. I ended up relaxing and doing some drawing, and then went to the great Nowell Sing We Clear Christmas concert and saw a lot of friends.
On Sunday, I went to church and heard a great sermon by Ministerial Intern Elizabeth Nguyen on “May We Be Interrupted“. In the sermon, Elizabeth talked about this time of year is when we naturally stop, or interrupt our natural activities to slow down and reflect. Of course, our commercial world doesn’t want us to do that and hypes up the energy level to jolt us out of that. We can interrupt that if we choose.
Also, unexpected things can happen when we make ourselves available to that “eureka!” moment. How many things in life have been discovered because things didn’t go to plan? How many new, cool places have you found because you went off your normal route? I had that experience on Saturday as I didn’t check my email and messages all day. I interrupted my normal pattern and found something new. Granted, I still felt secure in what I was doing. I might not have felt the freedom to do new things had I not felt I had to take care of myself.
Many of the experiences I’ve been having in the past year seem to be reinforcing the same message: Take care to set up a safe, comfortable space for great things to happen, and get out of the way. In many ways this follows my career development philosophy, in that you need to take care of your own professional development with an eye to your goals and what’s needed to get there.
So, what interruptions have you been allowing in your life, and what discoveries have you made from them?