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Third, revise your life story so it’s compelling and coherent. Revising your life story involves revising your resume and story you’ll tell during informational and job interviews. You need this revised story for two reasons. 1. To convince yourself during a time of turmoil and confusion that your career change makes sense; and 2. To convince a prospective employer that hiring you is worth risk.
A good story is like a good movie. Good movies cause you to “suspend your disbelief”. You care about character, believe in him or her and relate to struggle he or she is going through. You watch with bated breath as protagonist struggles against obstacles that cause fundamental changes in character. You believe in character as he or she reaches point of no return and resolves his or her struggle, either successfully or unsuccessfully. You care and you believe in them.
How do you suspend your interviewer’s disbelief? By making your story compelling and convincing. Demonstrate to your interviewer that your transformation is complete and sensible. Explain internal reasons for your career change, for example, I changed to do something I’m really good at or that I really enjoy. Show how you’ve learned from what you’ve tried and how you used that learning to deepen your understanding of yourself. It’s best to avoid external reasons (i.e. I was fired or laid off) to avoid impression that you simply accept fate rather than actively shape it.
Cite as many reasons for your change as you can, and point out any explanations that have deeply rooted causes. Family or financial circumstances may have prevented you from realizing a goal from long ago. Persevering and overcoming obstacles are attractive qualities to employers.
Show continuity and causality – a natural series of unfolding events that make sense. Connect your past work life to your present situation and project it out into future. Tell your story so that obstacles you’ve overcome and what you’ve learned about your character inspire your prospective employer to believe in your motives, character and ability to reach your goals. Tell it so they can see you doing same things for them!
No matter how you cut it, change is messy, and career change is no exception. Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers, in A Simpler Way, share that life uses messes to get to well-ordered solutions. But messes don’t feel very good while you’re in midst of them!
That’s where professional help comes in. A broad shoulder to lean on when you need it. A productive mind to help you brainstorm experiments and shifting connections. A capable life story editor to help make your story compelling and convincing. If you know you need a change, but don’t feel comfortable going it alone, contact a career coach!
Copyright 2005, Fruition Coaching. All rights reserved.
Rick Hanes is a life and career coach, writer, outdoorsman, gardener and tireless advocate for living life with purpose and passion. He founded Fruition Coaching in 2004 to lead the fight against leading lives of quiet desperation. Check his website at http://www.fruitioncoaching.com to contact him about rekindling the fire of your life!