Welcome back to our career development series! Last time, we learned that self awareness is the foundation of a successful career. Building upon this crucial component, today we are going to learn how to answer a sometimes elusive question: “Tell me about yourself”.
The answer to “Tell me about yourself” is often known as your career story and we will refer to it as such henceforth. It is a summary of who you are, your strengths and the value you bring. It isn’t about where you went to highschool or your favorite vacation spot or what you like to do do on a Friday evening. As a web developer, of course, your portfolio is the most important element of your career search, but communicating effectively is extremely important too!
Why is it important to have a career story?
- A career story gives the listener a overall picture of who you are and what value you bring, in a few seconds.
- A story gives the listener something interesting, unique and personal about you. It shows that you’re human.
- The process of writing and refining your story throughout your life helps you discover how you have changed.
Where can you use your career story?
A career story is useful across many different situations in your career journey. For instance:
- On your LinkedIn summary section, the profile section of your CV, on a professional career website, the About section on a website or for a volunteering gig.
- Useful in answering general questions at an interview such as, “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you”.
- At networking events when you need to tell people who you are in very little time.
A framework for writing your career story
We recommend that you include the following elements when you write your career story:
- Who I am
- What I’ve worked on in the past
- What I’m really good at
- What I’m looking to do next
- Interests | Side-Projects | Hobbies (optional)
A few reminders while writing your career story:
Make sure you write your career story in first person. First person makes the tone more personable, more human. Your entire career story should be a paragraph written in full sentences, not a list of bullet points. Always start by introducing who you are. For instance, “I am a musician and full stack web developer” or “I am an artist turned front end software engineer”. Stay away from buzzwords such as “detail oriented” or “passionate about people”. There are creative ways to describe your strengths; look it up on the internet! Remember that you’ll need to tailor your career story depending on the industry or role you’re applying to. And lastly, make sure your interests aren’t too generic. For example, instead of saying “I like hiking”, you could say something like, “I enjoy going for nature hikes with friends and I want to explore the trails of South America one day”.
And before we go
Now that you have a basic framework, try writing a first draft of your career story. Keep at it until you’re able to come up with a nice summary about yourself. Chances are that you’ll discover something new about yourself in the process, which is the greatest reward in itself.
For questions or more tips about writing your career story or your career development in general, please contact Shilpa Melissa Rodrigues at firstname.lastname@example.org.