Life-Story Writing for Career Change: Is it Effective? A Report on Research


  • George Dutch Founder & President of JobJoy


Career Change, writing, career, survey, life-story


Thousands of individuals may choose to change careers but due to changing social and economic factors millions will be forced to endure unplanned transitions in situations where they have little or no control over their career decisions. Brown et al (2003) conducted a meta-analysis of 62 career intervention studies involving a total of 7725 participants and concluded that writing exercises were the number one ingredient for effective career choices. However, this study did not distinguish between different kinds of writing exercises or methods, such as narrative-based interventions, which use creative, expressive, and reflective writing in career guidance (Lengelle, 2014). While the theory and methods of narrative-based interventions is well established in the field of career development, research and evidence to support their efficacy for career change is only beginning. To help close this gap, I designed an online survey that was completed by 44 individuals who used a life-story writing process for guiding their career change and a control group that attempted career change with nonwriting narrative tools.  Results of this study indicate a positive correlation between the intent of life-story writing to ‘uncover’ a personal story, create a new career identity and facilitate a positive career change. 


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How to Cite

Dutch, G. . (2016). Life-Story Writing for Career Change: Is it Effective? A Report on Research. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 15(1), 17–24. Retrieved from