"In recent years, much has been written about the importance of career narratives for mid-career and senior professionals, particularly those making a career transition. But, we'd argue, they're even more important for younger professionals who don't yet have a multipage CV or a high-powered headhunter in their corner. What, then, makes for an effective narrative?
First, it should be easy to remember and retell. The whole point is to give your colleagues a narrative that quickly comes to mind whenever they're asked about you, preventing them from making assumptions and drawing conclusions on their own. Two or four sentences, maximum.
Second, it should meaningfully link your past successes to your near and long-term development needs and suggest the kinds of assignments that would help to achieve those objectives. Those goals might certainly be developmental (to test a particular skill; gain experience with a certain tool or methodology; explore a specific industry). But they can also be more personal (limit travel to spend time with family, for instance).Think of it as a 'sound-bite resume' - on hearing it, senior professionals should have two reactions. First, they should be interested in working with you. Second, they should know if it makes sense for you to work with them.
Third, your narrative needs to hang together with the right combination of honesty, humility, and personal flavor. Doing so creates an authentic and compelling career narrative. Narratives that just articulate a string of successes are not credible and are not likely to be repeated. Similarly, boilerplate chronicles without any personal flair rarely get traction."
(Heidi K. Gardner and Adam Zalisk, 15 February 2013, Harvard Business Review)
"Yes you know there’s this view that only special people are creative and it's not me. It's not it's not anybody I really know. It's a very isolated sort of genius you know to be really creative. And you know people doubt their own strengths and their own capacities. So I meet all kind of people who don't really get much fulfilment from the work they do. You know they just get through it and wait for the weekend. But I also meet people who love what they do. And couldn't imagine doing anything else. You know if you set and don't this anymore they wouldn’t' know what you were talking about because this is who they are. You know I mean like I don’t know what else I would do. They are so to speak in their element. And so the book is about that. It's about the journeys people took to discover their own talents and what difference it made in their lives. And I talk to all kinds of people. It's not just interviews. But the book is seasoned as you know with interviews with people in science in business in the arts in sports in technology all kinds of different fields and what's interesting to me is of course it's different for everybody and this is really a key point you know that human ability and talent is highly diverse. You know what turns somebody on might totally turn somebody else off. What excites some propel does not excite other people and I know when I am signing the book these days I always ask people what they do. And when they tell me I ask them if they like it. And I always think it's great when people say I love it. Because you just never [inaudible].'"
(Ken Robinson, Conversations from Penn State)
Fig.1 Conversations from Penn State Episode 207: Sir Ken Robinson, Uploaded by WPSU TV/FM/Online on 6 Nov 2010, YouTube.
"A career narrative is basically a story about a career. It is a story that connects the protagonist's (i.e., the client's) past to the present in the sense that it conveys how the protagonist came to be what he or she is presently. This retrospective aspect of the narrative is supplemented with the career story's progressive aspect, in which the narrative puts into words the future that the protagonist is approaching. A career story is therefore both an account of how the protagonist came to be what he or she presently is, and furthermore, what future is expected for the protagonist to enact based on his or her particular past and present being."
(Torben K. Christensen; Joseph A. Johnston, pg.149)
2). Torben K. Christensen; Joseph A. Johnston (2003). "Incorporating the Narrative in Career Planning", Journal of Career Development; Spring 2003; 29, 3; ABI/INFORM Global.