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A Job Journal is Career Gold!

A job journal is career gold!Your greatest assets in job search and career advancement are your accomplishments from your  jobs – success stories that you can add to your resume and talk about in interviews. I get excited about discovering these treasures as I talk with my clients. They’re solid gold!

But many of us have trouble remembering our work accomplishments from last week, let alone last year, or a five years ago.

So can we take just a moment to think ahead to your next career move? If you’re working (or when you get your new job!), it’s extremely useful to keep a kudos file or a  journal of your successes. 

Obviously, this needs to be a regular habit. Decide when and how you will do it. Try taking a few minutes at the end of each workday to make a few notes in a notepad, on your phone or in a file on your computer.

Include items like these:

  • Problems you solved, and maybe a quick note about how you did it.
  • Projects you started or completed.
  • Anything you’re proud of.
  • Positive feedback you received, verbatim. This may be the best part!
  • You may also want to include something you learned, whether you learned it from documentation, training, a website or even by making a mistake. That way the journal is useful in your current job, not just your next job search.

If you can’t think of anything to write on a particular day, going through the motions of noting “Nothing to report today” will help you maintain the habit.

A word of caution: If you’re keeping this journal on your office computer, don’t write anything that could be damaging if found, like “Today I’m proud I didn’t punch my boss in the face because he was being such a jerk!” And do make sure to send your journal home regularly. If you’re ever laid off you might immediately lose access to your work station.

Start a job journal now. Don’t ever again be in the position of struggling to dig this information out, years after the fact. Store up your gold!


This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated.

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