Ideally, you dig your professional well before you get thirsty.
Real-life isn’t always like that, of course. Work and family responsibilities get prioritized ahead of this upkeep and, before you know it, information that’s been provided on resumes and online profiles has become outdated.
Information today ages rapidly. In the busyness of the 21st-century, memories get lost, including those of important achievements. Ideally, each of us will regularly set aside time to record our professional accomplishments, because this allows us to keep track of the impact we’ve made and are currently making in our industries of choice.
So, we’ve decided to share a series of three posts to help empower you to become someone who fully leverages his or her own talents, skills, and accomplishments.
When you make recording a conscious practice, if and when you decide to look for a new career opportunity, you won’t need to scramble to update your resume, LinkedIn profile, and so forth. In fact, even if you’re highly satisfied with your current position, this is still an important practice to maintain. Why? If, for example, it’s time for your annual performance review, and you’ve been challenged to quantify your progress in your KPIs, you can remain calm, collected, and well prepared. How you respond may very well pave the way to a raise or promotion.
Step 1: Review
Look at your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other professional documents and profiles. Re-read work-related reviews, browse through your business planner/calendar, and otherwise check relevant sources to see what accomplishments you’ve already forgotten.
It can also help to do a Google search on your own name to see what shows up! What memories about your own professional achievements does that query trigger? If it causes you to discover or remember that someone had praised your accomplishments, double-check to see if you’re connected on LinkedIn. If you are, have you written reciprocal recommendations?
Determining Your Work Accomplishments
What are your accomplishments? To help guide you through this process, we’ve come up with a list of questions for you to consider. It’s possible that not every question applies to your professional career. If so, that’s okay. Focus on the relevant ones that resonate.
Bonus tip for resumes: A successful resume is brimming with quantifiable accomplishments, not just job descriptions. Sure, it’s easy to describe your day to day tasks, but it’s important to think about what you did that went above and beyond your role and responsibilities.
Now, on to the questions:
- Were you hired to meet a particular challenge for the company?
- Did you suggest, design, or implement any processes or procedures? What were the results?
- Did you help increase sales? How and by what percentages or $$$ amount?
- Did you participate in developing any specific projects, techniques, processes, operations, or applications that were instrumental in increasing revenues, company growth, or increased productivity?
- Did you save your company money? How much and under what circumstances?
- Thinking in terms of your day to day tasks, when and how did you deliver results ahead of deadline and/or under budget, or exceed expectations?
- Were you appointed to any teams? Why and what did you provide to the team?
- What special projects have you worked on? Why were you chosen and what were the results?
- Have you done anything to improve customer or employee or strategic relationships with the company?
- Have you done anything to improve communications, either internally or externally?
- Did you recruit new customers for the business?
- Did you recruit new employees for the business?
- Were you chosen to train, mentor, or guide others?
- Have you been rewarded with any additional responsibilities?
Step 2: Update
Set aside enough time to update and refresh your resume and online profiles, even if you aren’t planning to search for a new career opportunity.
This is important because an updated, highly professional LinkedIn profile, as just one example, also reflects well upon your place of employment.
It’s hard to write about yourself. If you need help, turn to professionals to work with you to tell your professional story and develop your brand.
Step 3: Record
After you’ve brought your professional documentation up to the minute, then you’re in the ideal position to begin recording your accomplishments going forward. Some people like to use a physical notebook that’s specifically designated for that purpose. Others like to talk into a recorder, whether one on their smartphone or a digital handheld one, capturing thoughts as they speak.
Still, other people prefer digital options. If you’re in this group, here are a few of our favorites. Note that there are free versions and, in some cases, fee-based upgrades that you might choose to use.
- Evernote: This app allows you to take notes, wherever you are, including when you’re sitting in a waiting room. You can quickly and easily organize those notes, share ideas with colleagues, and much more. All can be archived for convenient retrieval and, to quote the app’s website, “with Evernote as your note-taking app, nothing falls through the cracks.” So, when something awesome happens, write it down!
- Microsoft OneNote: This is similar to Evernote and works just as well. It’s really a matter of preference.
- Google Keep: Check this option out, as well, and then choose which app works best for your style. What really matters is that you get started, ASAP.
- Penzu: This is a type of online diary, where you can record your accomplishments, as well as private thoughts. Like the note-taking tools, you can record your thoughts wherever you are, just as long as you have your smartphone or a computer with an internet connection. With Penzu, you can set up customized reminders to keep yourself on track with recording.
- Monkkee: This is another version of a private online diary. This one is funded by donations.
- Journalate: Here’s yet another option to consider if you decide to keep an online diary.
- Trello: Trello is a list-making type of productivity app. To quote the site, its “boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.” You can use this app to keep track of your successes.
- Todoist: This is another list-making option to consider, one self-described in this way: “Regain clarity and calmness by getting all those tasks out of your head and onto your to-do list (no matter where you are or what device you use).”
- Remember the Milk: This choice now works in tandem with Google Assistant. “Tell your Assistant to remind you, and the task will instantly be added to your list. Want to know what’s coming up? Ask your Assistant what’s due and stay on top of your tasks. Need some help with all those tasks? Ask your Assistant to give a task to a helpful contact.”
Step 4: Repeat!
This is an ongoing process, one that’s applicable until you retire. Try spending five to fifteen minutes jotting down your accomplishments, successes, and achievements each day. Is daily too much for you? Try weekly or monthly. The idea is that as things happen, you record them. As you go about your career, you don’t just concentrate on getting the ball to the other end of the court but you also benchmark success for yourself!
By recording your accomplishments, it becomes easy to keep your career branding on point and fresh. You also know exactly what you are bringing to the table and don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling empowered.
Stay tuned for parts two and three!
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