How to Talk About the Arc of Your Career

Not everyone’s career moves up and to the right from beginning to end.

In fact, I don’t think that actually happens to anyone—but some people are just better at hiding the wrong turns, u-turns, and downturns than others. The key isn’t skipping over them—because a recruiter or potential employer can sniff out a story that doesn’t make sense from a mile away. The key is repositioning everything that doesn’t go perfectly as a learning experience—something that reaffirms that you are a better potential employee today than you have ever been.

Everyone leaves a job for a reason—and that reason is that something came up short of expectations. Either you did, or the job did, or both. If a job continuously surpassed your expectations everyday, and you did the same for the people you worked with, you’d never leave.

For some reason, people feel the need to fit their careers into some kind of neat little explainable timeline—and when there’s a bump along the road, they get all bent out of shape because it no longer sounds like a Disney story.

People are afraid that mistakes will reflect badly in a way that won’t make people want to work with you going forward, so they try to avoid talking about the past. No one should have to feel like that.

No matter what the situation there’s a way to share how you are better for having the experience—because you are.

Let’s take all the possible scenarios, based on this chart:

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There (Read more...)