7 Reasons Why You Need to Control Your Career Narrative and Get Your Stories Down

Blog Post Graphics.png

Imagine you’re a reporter and you’re sitting down with Tim Cook at Apple and you ask him, “What is the core message of the Apple brand?” And Tim replies, “Um, well, we make electronics. You know, stuff like smart phones and personal computers.”

Weirdly factual, but no feels. Right?

Now imagine that an advertising executive at Apple asks the creative director to come up with a new ad for the Apple Watch. The creative director asks, “What’s the copy strategy?” and the executive says, “Oh, whatever you think is best. What are your thoughts?”

Crazy, right? Apple would be out of business in a hot second if they left their brand messaging to chance. 

Same goes for you. You would be out of work in a hot sec too if you don’t control your brand narrative or what you say about yourself--in interviews, promotion convos, new project opportunities, etc.

For some people, this self-promotion feels smarmy, but here’s the flip side of that coin: If you have a “what’s in it for them” approach to answering questions like, “why do you want this job?” or “why do you think you’re a right fit for this project?” you aren’t bragging, you’re solving a problem.

Here’s an example of a problem-solving, “what’s in it for them” approach:

“What I bring to the party is a finely tuned ability to listen with respect, spot gaps and fault lines, build trust, and inspire people who don’t agree to sit at the same table. And when I think about this period of immense growth and change the company is experiencing, you need someone who can help people manage the discomfort of that change.”

After an opening statement like that, you would undoubtedly be asked to give an example. To tell a story. 

So let’s take a look at the 7 reasons why you need to control your narrative and have your stories down:

  1. If you don’t control your narrative, someone else will. And you won’t like it.

  2. If you have a vanilla answer to the “tell me about yourself” question, you’re going to get vanilla results.

  3. If you don’t tell people who you are and what you can bring to the party, nobody will invite you.

  4. If you’re worried about what people will think of you if you boldly claim your strengths, you lose and they lose.

  5. If you rely on your résumé to tell your whole story, “the end” will be the last sentence of that story.

  6. If you think that decision makers are fully apprised of your strengths and the value you add, then you should already have the role or project of your dreams. 

  7. If you want to be seen, heard, and valued, you have to value yourself first.

Noodle on that.