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I have a one-year old and I love to read her stories. One of her favorites right now is Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You by Dr. Suess. Yes, I make all the animal noises. I believe she and I love them for the same reason, they are short and to the point. But a few of these stories, like I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan will stir up an emotion every time and remind me just how thankful I really am. Good stories will influence you; even short ones. Telling your career story can be the same.

Fearless job seeker, the truth is you only have about two-minutes or less to tell your career story. In this two-minutes you want to influence a decision to help you get a job. I first realized the power of two-minutes when I was a youth director for a church. Each week, I had to stand up after a prayer and give two-minutes of youth announcements to a very old audience (really, we had five funerals the first week I started). You can imagine the challenge. I had to learn to make announcements that influenced the audience to care about the youth programs.

So where do you start? Here are some questions to help you think about your career story:

  1. What are you looking for?
  2. What is your core background in?
  3. What have you specialized in?
  4. What are the most important jobs you’ve had?
  5. What were the biggest responsibilities you’ve had?
  6. What has been your top career highlight?

Remember, you are writing a career story to influence them to hire you. We all have had bad experiences in our careers. Stick to the positive attributes and challenges that have shaped you. If you have to share a challenging experience, tell them how you overcame it and what you learned. Once you have a written career story – practice, practice, practice. (Honestly, I didn’t get good at my own career story until after a few interviews.)

You can say a lot in two-minutes and it may be the lasting impression with a recruiter or hiring manager that makes the difference.

Who are the people in your career that have most influenced you? What is compelling about their story? How does it relate to your career story? Leave a comment!