Do you know the most important part of making a career pivot?

It’s not learning about your new path or building a new network. It’s not developing a strong plan or honing new skills.

It’s your story.

Don’t believe me? A director of people operations at Google stated “I want to hear the plan they had in mind: I liked what I was doing, but I didn’t have the depth in design that I needed, so I consciously took this next job with a small design firm.”

It is about you, you, you

Your story is the way you sell yourself. It is your motivation and the logic behind your choices. Your story plays a part in how you build your network, how you learn the skills and why you make the plans.

Your personal brand is the purposeful molding of your choices into a captivating story that explains why you are the perfect fit for your audience.

And stories have never been more important than in careers defined by change and punctuated with randomness!

The key is to purposefully mold your own story, even if you don’t think you made such conscious choices at the time, you can still connect the dots looking backwards!

Four steps to a career pivot story

Step One: Identify Your Audience
As always, start by identifying your audience. After all, if you don’t know who they are and what they want, you’ll rarely be successful in crafting a story that will captivate them.

Step Two: Look Back At Your Experiences
It’s time to take stock of your experiences. Make a list of your major professional and personal milestones. Brainstorm a list with 2-4 ways each experience has brought you closer to the reaching the goal your audience is also after.

Step Three: Identify Learning and Trends
The highlights of your story will focus on decisions that enabled you to learn new skills or industries as well as trends that have followed you for a long time. Write down your 2-4 biggest learning curves and two trends that have followed you throughout your career. Feel free to be creative! Learning can be a trend, change can be a trend, growth can be a trend — as can any specific industry, type of boss or type of work.

Step Four: Captivate with Words
You have all the components of your story written down, now it’s time to make the magic. You can either start by writing the story of each of your career moves (as the Google director explained above), or you can start off with your overall career and how your experiences and choices make you the perfect candidate for your audience.

Either way, you’ll come out armed with a host of stories that will sell your ability effectively and authentically, enabling you to pivot your career with ease.

Please share! What has been one of your biggest learning curves?


Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.