Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
– Ed Sabol, Founder NFL Films
I read a story today in the Huffington Post titled Your Story is Your Brand. It’s a great illustration of the technique we recommend in the #CareerGravity Blueprint when articulating your personal brand. Here’s an excerpt:
What’s your story? This is the secret sauce of communication: Can you turn a list of skills and job experience into an interesting narrative that will resonate with people and make them interested in hearing more?
The key to storytelling is creating an arc that moves from an opening value to a closing value with points of conflict in between.
This “career arc” should describe your professional evolution by combining your skills and experiences in a way that tells a story. For example, the opening value would represent your early career as a wide-eyed college graduate, retail floor salesperson or front desk receptionist. The “conflict” in the story becomes a series of challenges you met through the application and development of your professional skillset. For example, “After earning a certificate in graphics design from [institution name], I was able to move from receptionist to full time designer for . For eight years I designed brochures, websites and product packaging, while also establishing branding guidelines. I subsequently founded and have been designing desirable deliverables ever since.”
In the previous example, note how the story moves from an opening value (receptionist) to a closing value (freelance designer) and uses the personal mantra as a closing line. The conflicts in the story are represented by skills that were developed and applied to solving problems. In two sentences, it creates a career arc that ends with your mantra in a way that is compelling and memorable.