I recently had “virtual coffee” with an old colleague.

As we caught up on each others’ personal and professional lives, we also updated each other on news about fellow colleagues from the place we all worked together. She filled me in on one gal who I hadn’t known as well as her. She started by saying, “I have to tell you about ___. She has the greatest career story.”

My friend proceeded to tell me the juiciest story about all the drama that unfolded at this woman’s current employer. It was rich with details, full of highs and lows, and ended with our mutual colleague landing a promotion. When it was over, she said, “Isn’t that an incredible story?” I thought, “Good? It could be a movie!” She knows me well. I’m always looking to celebrate success stories over at CAREEREALISM. We even started a success wall contest HERE >>.

Why Some Career Stories Are More Memorable Than Others

As I analyzed what made that story so gripping, I realized it had all the elements of the most captivating fairytales I heard growing up. There was a:

terrible obstacle to overcome
evil sidekicks
mild-mannered (yet powerful!) allies
lots of unexpected turns of events

(and most importantly)

happy ending
We ALL Have Career Stories

Each of us has a career story. It’s the way we summarize and share what has happened in our professional lives. They explain where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are trying to go. These stories are very important to our success. Why? When we share them, they create our personal brand. The better the story, the more likely people will connect with our message. These stories are especially important when we are trying to affect change in our career (i.e. get a promotion, a new job, switch careers, start a business ,etc.) These stories become our “marketing message” – and if they aren’t good, our ability to succeed suffers. For more evidence on the power of stories in your career, read fellow Linkedin writer, Peter Guber’s article here on our “hunger” for a good story.

Bad Career Story? It’s Time to Change the Plot

When a client comes to me and is miserable in their career, the story I hear usually sounds a lot like a fairytale that stops short of its happy ending. There’s plenty of drama, but the story lacks key elements. I tell them, “If you couldn’t get your happy ending with your career story told this way in your head, it’s time to change the plot.” We then work through their mindset towards their situation, slowly changing their assumptions and perceptions, until finally, it can be told in a different way. When that happens, a happy ending usually comes into view.

FYI – In my next post, I will share an example of how this works. I’ll introduce you to Mike, who I helped go from “poor me” to “woo hoo” with his career story. (CLICK HERE >> to read it now.)

What do you think makes a juicy career story? How can people be more memorable (in a good way!) when they share their career stories?

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for Linkedin, but I’m also founder of a popular career advice site,CAREEREALISM,and currently run the career coaching program,CareerHMO. I hope you’ll check them both out!