You have just convinced yourself to take a leap of faith and pursue the career you REALLY want. You’re venturing into unchartered waters…….so how do you convince potential employers that while you may be out of your comfort zone, you ARE up to the new challenge?
It’s time to craft your story. A credible and compelling story is the key ingredient for success when you are going through a career transition. It can make the difference between potential employers warming to you and believing in your untested capabilities or writing you off as a ‘chancer’.
Ever wondered why biographies are so popular? We are fascinated with the voyage of people’s lives, particularly those who have experienced a diverse journey, filled with twists and turns, with major struggles that were overcome. This combination can be captivating. That person becomes relatable, we gain hope. To understand someone is to know their story.
A story that links your past professional and personal experiences with your new career path is the gateway to your new role. Piecing together the ‘disparate’ threads of your career and experiences into a story that honestly illustrates how you got to be who you are, where you are going, including your turning points can make listeners believe in your credibility and care about your success. Your story is the glue that holds everything together.
So what are the ingredients of a winning story?
Your story should illustrate continuity. Highlighting the common threads that connect your journey builds credibility and trust. It emphasises stability, even though you are in transition. It says you are essentially the same person and will be tomorrow, and you won’t be off chasing another venture six months down the line after you’ve experienced a new epiphany.
Ask yourself: What is the glue that holds my story together?
Piece Together the Jigsaw
How do your skills, experience and interests point you in this new direction? If you look back you will probably see lots of evidence throughout your career giving you clues; trying to steer you towards your current career goal. If you have completed the exercises in Discovering your strengths and unique purpose, you’ll already be aware of the answers. If you haven’t, use these exercises as a guide to help you uncover the clues.
Highlight your Inner Motivations
Keep your reasons for change grounded in who you are and what motivates you, rather than what you have done in your career. This is a sure fire way to pull together coherence from your experiences.
It’s easy to understand a statement like; “I discovered that am good at building teams and drawing out the strengths of individual members….” By emphasising learning and self discovery, you are showing that you have tried something, learned from the experience and used it to deepen your understanding of what you really want.
Ask yourself: Who have I been in my previous roles?
Promote your Transferable Skills
Focus on your transferable skills rather than previous job titles or industry qualifications. This will help to connect the dots and make your career transition appear more logical.
Ask yourself: What skills have I used consistently well in the past that are essential for my new role?
Emphasise Drama and Success
All good stories need the listener to remain interested and even concerned, while rooting for a good outcome. To add flavour and impact to your story write down the answers to the following questions and use your responses to help craft your winning prose.
Ask yourself: What challenges have I overcome? What are my personal and professional reasons for wanting this change? What was the conflict and events leading up to this point that has driven the change? How have I successfully navigated this?
Finally, be ready to tell your story at networking events, interviews, presentations, in short in any opportunity that can take you closer to obtaining your career goal. Good Luck!
Professional coach, Suzanne Simmons-Lewis helps her clients clarify and achieve their true purpose and ambitions in their careers and businesses, drawing out their unique talents. She inspires supports and challenges clients in their journey to making their long-held dreams an exciting reality.