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Some say that career success is dependent on luck. Others say that we make our own luck and that the harder we work – or in this case the more we prepare, the luckier we get. So how do we prepare for opportunities that bring us career luck?
In the everyday tasks of balancing home, careers and wellbeing, we’re often too busy striving for the next goal to routinely reflect and record our accomplishments. Most employees don’t keep records of their workplace wins. Fewer people keep track of how the organisation is performing using information like sales growth, cost efficiencies, expanded offerings etc). Building a habit of tracking your work accomplishments increases confidence, boosts motivation and prepares you with the right evidence for your next opportunity.
Regardless of where you are in your career, building a bank of accomplishments, success stories or career narratives can be incredibly helpful when you need to:
Update your resume.
Gone are the days where writing your resume was as easy as listing your responsibilities. A standout resume not only articulates what you were responsible for but extends to how you did it and the outcomes. In 2020 a successful resume uses metrics to provide the evidence that demonstrates how, in your role and through your actions, you contributed to the success of the organisation.
Answer interview questions.
Most interviews include behavioural questions that you need to answer with examples. Keeping a record of your accomplishments can be a great tool to remind yourself of situations and successes you may have otherwise forgotten.
Negotiate for promotion or raise.
When backing yourself and arguing that you deserve more, it’s essential to show up armed with examples of how you delivered more than was expected.
Prepare for performance reviews.
While most managers keep records of their employees wins (and losses) you can’t expect them to remember all the contributions you have made in detail. Going into a performance review with ready examples that reference how you have contributed to the success of the business/organisation will undoubtedly lead to a better result.
What type of work accomplishments are important to keep?
If you have left work thinking ‘wow that was a really good day’, it’s likely there was an accomplishment there! You can include things like supporting a team member, so the client got a better outcome, being acknowledged or appreciated by your manager, securing a new client or contract etc.
It is also helpful to keep organisation records like annual reports, budgets, announcements or media relating to your area of the business.
Regardless of whether you are recording a personal accomplishment or an organisation success, it is important to include action verbs, concrete metrics, and clear articulation of the impact you made.
Some examples of achievements to track include:
- Financial goals you’ve reached
This can be through sales growth or cost reduction. Include the relevant metrics like ‘how much’ either as a number or a percentage. Also, include how you did it. Was it through improving or changing a system, process or strategy?
- Challenging situations with clients and/or co-workers
Focus on situations that you feel confident have been resolved. How did you resolve it? What has been the impact of fixing the problem? If it didn’t end well, what was the lesson learned? Think critically to identify how you could change your approach to create a better outcome next time.
- Completing tasks and projects on time and/or budget.
Having a strong record of completing projects on time is a testament to your ability to plan ahead. It also demonstrated skills like organisation, managing time and coordinating stakeholders.
- Stepping up
If you have been invited to step into a management position or a role with more responsibility, note it down. It demonstrates trust in your capability to deliver additional responsibilities.
- Exceeding expectations
Track the times you have confidently delivered more than was expected or have taken on duties outside your scope.
- Winning an award or receiving an acknowledgement
If you have won an award for best-performing employee four years in a row, record it. Even if you won two movies tickets for helping out, record it. They are all a great way of showcasing your employer’s acknowledgement and appreciation.
- Holding a committee or board position
This is a great way of demonstrating you are a leader who’s willing to contribute time and experience to support a good cause.
How to record your accomplishments
Keep it simple is the answer to successfully recording your accomplishments. You can use an app like Evernote or Notes or create Word or Google Doc to record your workplace wins. If you would prefer a more structured or dedicated repository, use an accomplishment tracker. We have created an easy to use Accomplishment Tracker template (Word document) that you can download here. Save this to your desktop and every time something great happens, take a minute to jot it down.
It might seem like another thing to do in an already busy life but keeping good career records is an investment worth making for your future success. More importantly, it will save you lots of time when it matters most and will help you get the most out of working with a resume writer.
Does your resume showcase your work accomplishments and the value you bring to an organisation? Get a free resume critique to find out.
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