What’s Your Story? Tips on Developing a Career Narrative


IMG_13By Tracy Williams, 2014 ProInspire Fellow

What’s your story? What matters to you? Tell me about yourself. Can you clearly articulate who you are in a way that is authentic, compelling, intentional, and relatable? Whether you are applying to graduate school, looking to make a career switch, or networking with others in your field, it is critical to have a career narrative. During our April ProInspire Fellows training, CEO Monisha Kapila spoke about the importance of a clear and compelling career narrative and how it can help you achieve your goals.

New ChapterWhy do you need a story?

The ability to communicate where you have been and where you are going, along with your strengths and interests can help you connect to others in meaningful way.

The story of you is unique, interesting and one of a kind! A thoughtful, authentic, career narrative gives you the ability to share who you are in a way that resonates with others. To begin crafting your own career narrative start by asking yourself the following questions:

ProInspire’s 5 Cs of Career Narratives

  1. Clarity – What do you want?
  2. Commitment – Why do you want this? What is your passion/motivation?
  3. Connection – How dies this relate to who you are?
  4. Credibility – Why should I believe you?
  5. Convincing – Why should I help/hire/admit you?

Goal without a planThe key to creating your career narrative begins with some serious self-reflection. What do I want? Why do I want this? Answering these questions are hard enough, let alone explaining them others! Why should I trust you? When you share your story make sure to provide evidence that inspires trust in you. People will only help you if they actually believe your story. Once you have an idea of what your story is, tell it! Practice telling your story to both those who know you best and to those you have just met.

Crafting your career narrative is an iterative process: it takes time, introspection, and commitment. However, investing the time in yourself to answer these questions will ultimately help you clarify and achieve your goals. It is also a great gut check to make sure that your goals are aligned with what matters most to you! Whether it is selling yourself to a potential employer, investor, or admissions officer, clearly articulating who you are in a believable way is essential for success.

Tracy Williams is on a mission to increase cross sector collaboration and diversify leadership in the areas of education equality and access to economic opportunity. Tracy is a fellow with ProInspire, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and StartingBloc. She uses her experience as a CPA in the private sector and her passion for social change as a driving force for impact. An Atlanta transplant residing in DC, Tracy enjoys a newfound love of running, class pass, culinary adventures and traveling both the world and her backyard.

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