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  Category: Articles » Careers & Jobs » Article

Career Advice: Three Secrets to Telling Your Story for Career and Life Success

By Ed Sykes

When was the last time you received a job promotion? You are doing a great job at work but everyone else seems to get the promotion you want. You may even start making excuses as to why you are not getting the career promotions you deserve. Well, I ask you the following question:

Did you ever tell your story?

The following career advice story will show you how to put your career on the fast track:

Recently, I was facilitating an oceanfront retreat for over two hundred employees of a university. During this session, I had the participants think of something or somebody they appreciate. I then asked for volunteers to share with the group whom or what they appreciate and why this is important to them.

Lonnie volunteered and stood up in front of the group to share his thoughts of appreciation. Lonnie explained that in his job he helps children improve their lives. He mentioned that whatever the lowest pay and title scale was, he was at that level. However, he said that was all right because of the joy he received from helping the children. You could hear and sense the passion in his words as he shared his experiences with the audience.

About a month later, Lonnie was in another workshop I was facilitating, and he asked to speak with me before the start of the session. I could see the excitement in his eyes as he explained what had happened to him since the oceanfront retreat. One week after sharing his story at the retreat, he received a call from the Office of Academic Affairs. Someone of influence, who was impressed with Lonnie's speech and the way he told his story that day, wanted Lonnie to come in for a job interview. Lonnie went to the interview and received the job of Assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs, with a substantial increase in pay and title. That was a career quantum leap from just a couple of weeks earlier.

So what happened?

Lonnie told his story for career success. Like so many of you, you are toiling away in your careers everyday and making a difference for your organization. But if no one knows about your successes, your passions, and your ideas, you will not achieve job and career success.

The following are three secrets to putting you on the fast track to career and job advancement:

    It's Not What You Know... - I'm sure you have heard the old saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," when talking about getting ahead in life. Well, in this new age of information and self responsibility, I am declaring that this saying is dead. Instead, I always say the following:

    "It's not what you know. It's not who you know. It's who knows what you know that creates success for you."

    There are people doing a great job everyday. There are people everyday that know people of influence. Yet, unless these people of influence know what you know (your skills, your knowledge, your ideas), you won't be put in a position for success. Lonnie, during his two-minute presentation, let people of influence know that he was passionate about helping children at his job and he was willing to do it for little compensation. That's a powerful message. It moved people to help him and make him a part of their team.
    Prepare Yourself for Powerful Story Telling - When the opportunity comes to tell your story, will you be prepared? Lonnie was prepared and made the most of his opportunity. However, I have seen many opportunities vanish for a person to tell his/her story because of the fear of speaking in front of a group or in a meeting. Whether it's in a job interview, monthly meeting, or at a conference, have the confidence to tell your story. You may never get another opportunity to do so. Have the courage to work on your presentation skills. There are various resources for improving your presentation skills. You can take a class, join Toastmasters, or hire a presentation skills coach.

    Also, outline what you will tell in your story. Think of your successes and how you achieved those successes. Thinks of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Express the joy you felt while achieving your goals. Relate how your activities helped you develop your skills, your creativity, and your determination. Let your passion show in your story.
    Create Opportunities to Tell Your Story - When Lonnie volunteered, he created an opportunity to tell his story. How can you create opportunities to tell your story? You can volunteer for job-related assignments and give reports during management briefings. You can be active in workshops or seminars and tell your story among a variety of people that normally might not be exposed to your story. Join various associations and groups and tell your story. This is a great way to network among people who are active in their industries. Contribute your story to your in-house publication, local newspaper, or magazine. Create a blog or website and tell your story. The more you tell your story to a wide variety of people, the greater the opportunity to increase your success.

Apply these powerful career advice secrets and put your career advancement on the fast track. Tell your story and others will sit up and take notice.

About the Author
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Goto his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive his free ebooks.

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