Leading up to our April course – ‘What makes me ME?’ – we’ll be featuring a series of blogs looking at ways that people define themselves. Today we focus on crafting and telling your story.
Storytelling is so commonplace in the human experience, we barely register that we’re doing it. Telling an anecdote about what happened at work, sending a text message cursing the trains because you’re running late, or even ordering your sandwich with extra hummus all tell some small story about who you are and what you care about. Even a simple statement such as ‘I grew up in Leeds, but I’ve lived in Bristol for 16 years and I consider it my home now’ when introducing yourself to someone new gives them a wealth of information that the person you are meeting could use to ask you more questions or introduce you to other people.
However, in a professional setting, we sometimes tend to tell one aspect of our story: ‘I got a 1st from Plymouth, I then got on a graduate recruitment scheme, I worked there for four years, then I moved to a new job’ and so on. We focus on qualifications and work experiences, forgetting that employers will want to hire us for who we are, not just what we’ve done.
In the last two blog posts we’ve talked about life experiences and passions. If you’re crafting your story, this is a good place to start. You may have trained and worked as an accountant for the past eight years, but there is definitely more to you than that.
If you’re passionate about accounting, why do you love it so much?
If you’re not, why have you stayed in the job? Do you work for an organisation you love? Does the money you earn allow you to pursue your passion for heli-skiing, or does it support your family?
When you are able to craft a story around your career and its place in your life, not only does it give possible employers insight into who you are, the simple exercise of coming up with your story often gives you a better idea of what you want and what you stand for.
Having a clear idea of your story and the best way in which to tell it gives you a huge number of advantages. Sure, you’ll get a catchy tag line for your CV or your LinkedIn profile, but it also means that going into a networking event, you’ll be ready to instantly give people an idea of who you are and what you want. This also works in a job interview. Your interviewer may ask you to ‘Tell me about a time when you overcame a setback’, if you have a solid idea of your personal story you can fit an answer to this or any competency-based question so the interviewer gets the full picture of who you are, instead of just bits and pieces of your work history.
No matter what you are doing – searching for a new job, speaking to potential clients, trying to find investors for your new business, or even going on a date – people want to hear your story, and it’s important to make it a good one. A story that is real, relevant and interesting.
Not sure what fits into your personal story? There is still time to sign up for our course on the 18th and 19th of April!