What’s your story?

We connect with others through our personal stories; where we came from, where we went to school and what we do for a living. We find commonality with others in our shared interests and values. Most of us have the social networking thing mastered, but many of us, when faced with a career change forget everything we know about basic storytelling.

A recent article in The New York Times, “Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or a Stronger Start-Up” highlighted the importance of crafting a narrative to fund a start-up or find a new job. In a January, 2005 Harvard Business Review article, ‘What’s Your Story?’ authors Herminia Ibarra and Kent Lineback concluded “Getting the story right is critical, as much for motivating ourselves as for enlisting the help of others. Anyone trying to make a change has to work out a story that connects the old and new selves. For it is in a period of change that we often fail, yet most need, to link our past, present, and future into a compelling whole.”

While using this technique is not new, it’s becoming more necessary in a workplace of increased competition and change. This is not a narration of your resume and accomplishments. Your story has to fire the imagination of a prospective employer, client or investor. Do your research and find story elements you have in common. Then tell your story, in your voice, expressing how you have arrived at this point, what is important to you and how you can make a contribution.

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