How to Write Your Career Story

Career Path | Phenomenal Image

Assess Your Career Journey

Whether you are aware of your career path or you are finding your way, conducting a self-assessment will help you get closer to work that fulfills your purpose and is meaningful to you. Self-assessment is taking inventory of what makes you who you are: Your past experiences, core values, your strengths, and weaknesses. Together, these present your unique story and offer insight into your purpose and the role your career plays into achieving that purpose.

Your career journey is a story about you; a culmination of past experiences and decisions you’ve made over the years. Reviewing your career journey will provide insight into what is important to you and possibly highlight some unconscious ideas that may be sabotaging your success. In writing your story, we’ll review your past key personal experiences and past work experiences to take inventory of what works for you and what does not. We’ll begin with

*Past Experiences

Sometimes we are not always conscious of the decisions we’ve made and the impact those decisions have on where we are in the present. There are key moments in your life that took you on your career path. For example, let’s say that when you were young, you loved to create stories and so you would hold plays for the kids in the neighborhood. But as you got older, someone you trusted (and meant no harm) told you that it’s unrealistic to make a career of playing make-believe, so you begin to look for “realistic” jobs that paid the bills but you always felt like something was missing. Reviewing key events in your life may offer clues as to what is important to you, what your are passionate about and can help you make future career decisions.

Exercise:

1. ) Take a sheet of paper and make three columns. The headings for each column are Event, Age, and Impact. Think about significant events that occurred throughout your life from as early as you can remember through now. Under the corresponding column, write your age at the time and the impact the event had on you. Continue until you have reached your current age.

Review what you’ve written. What patterns in your career or life to date can you identify? Is there a constant theme throughout the course of your career? What do the patterns tell you about yourself? Who or what influenced the decisions you have made? How much control do you feel you’ve had over your life? What has helped you during the difficult times in your life? Do they reveal anything about your attitude, attributes or career goals? Did any of these events motivate or demotivate you? How?

Please note that this exercise will take time as it reflects your life. This is designed to bring out key moments in your life and to understand the impact those moments had on you and how we can use those moments to help us.

*Work Assessment

Work is a constant in our lives and according to research, we spend a majority of our time at work. So it’s important that we spend this time doing something we enjoy. Finding work that fulfills your purpose will energize you. Knowing what you like and don’t like in a job will help you recognize those things that make work unbearable as well as those things that feel motivate you. Assessing your past jobs will also help you figure out what you want in your next job or clarify that you are on the right career path.

Exercise:

You may also use the free template that was in our January newsletter to complete this exercise.

Take a sheet of paper and make three columns. Head one column “Job”, the next column,” Liked” and the last column “Disliked”. Under the Jobs column, write a list of the jobs you’ve held to date. On the corresponding line, under the appropriate column, write down what you liked about each job and what you disliked.

Review your list of likes and dislikes. Pick out common themes. Were there any particular types of jobs that you really liked? If so, write down what they were. Now, look at the things that made likable. What do these factors tell you about what you need and/or want a new job? Rate each factor on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is important and 1 is unimportant.

You have now designed your own criteria for assessing career opportunities and targeting your job search activities.

Please let me know how these exercises helped you or if you have any questions.  Please feel free to reach me on our Facebook page.

*Exercises are based on template by Kogan page
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Nancy Kirk-Gettridge is founder of Phenomenal Image, an executive development firm focused on helping her clients gain confidence and take control of their careers. Confronting workplace challenges and her own limiting beliefs, Nancy is committed to helping her clients see themselves as qualified leaders and risk-takers. Nancy frequently writes about resolving gender bias in the workplace. Key topics include career management, leadership training/development, succession planning and overcoming workplace issues.
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