One of the best ways to be proactive about your career is to keep a running list of your achievements on the job.
This list comes in handy when you are updating your resume and can't remember what to include in your latest job description. It also helps enormously at performance review time when your boss asks you to fill out a self-evaluation explaining what it is you do and what your goals should be for the next year. This should not be a time-consuming or labor-intensive project. Just set aside five minutes each week to update your list, and feel free to tack on achievements whenever you think of them. Keep it somewhere where you won't lose it, such as a notebook you always keep on hand or, better yet, an online document.
Items on your list should include
- Brief summaries of major projects you've been working on;
- New skills you've been using;
- New computer programs you've learned; and
- Quantitative data, such as how much of a product you sold or how large a budget you managed.
The next time you are job hunting or due for a performance review, pull up your list. It'll jog your memory on what exactly you should be saying about your current job duties, skills, and achievements. You'll thank me later.
Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on www.carissadoshi.com. You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.