We see it with job seekers all the time. They get laid off—perhaps for the first time ever—and begin to struggle mightily. They struggle to document the key accomplishments from their last job. It may the first time anyone has ever asked them to prove their worth, and they’ve got nothing.
You’d think remembering how you helped your last company would be easy. After all, you just left a few weeks ago, right?
But the truth is most employees don’t keep records of their own accomplishments along the way. And we certainly don’t monitor the specifics of the company’s successes (like increases in sales or cost savings achieved) the way we should, especially if we didn’t feel like a major contributor.
People in critical support positions—including administrative assistants and customer service—often struggle the most to create strong accomplishment statements. But everyone contributes to the company’s success. And everyone can and should take credit.
Here are some tangible ways to keep track of those wins along the way:
Use LinkedIn. It’s a good idea to regularly update your LinkedIn profile. So why not use your profile as a journal of your successes? Anyone who looks at your completed LinkedIn profile will see your ability to contribute in real time. They will also see you are engaged in the business. Be careful you don’t share any sensitive company information, of course, since your profile is public and visible to everyone.
Treat your resume as a strategic visioning document. Usually after a job search, the resume file gets buried in a cabinet or folder. But what if you kept your resume on your desktop at home? Not because you’re looking for a new job, but because you’re looking forward, with an eye on your next position (a promotion to the next level). This way your resume becomes a career-planning tool, rather than a static, one-time use document.
Keep a manila folder on your desk. Everything coming to you via office mail, interoffice mail or even email can be placed into this folder. Call it your “wins” folder. Use it to track specific personal, department, or company wins. Company newsletters, updates from the CEO, press releases, notes from your boss, and the annual report all are great potential sources of wins.
Bonus tip: Also save great samples. A great analysis, summary report, or communication you like works. These might come in handy for your next job.
Share your wins with friends and followers. By sharing your wins as they happen, they live a little longer and help you build influence in both your industry and community. Here’s how:
- Share on Twitter – A quick 120 character tweet (leaving room for a re-tweet) of your latest personal or company win shares the news and lets followers see the pride in your work.
- Share on Facebook – In addition to updating progress on your 5K training program, let friends and family see your work contributions as well. Write these with a fun and upbeat style.
- Write a blog post – If you have a blog (or want to start one), use it as a way to establish your subject matter expertise. Wins contribute nicely here.
- Summarize in a presentation – This is a great way to capture your win as a story, especially if your path to get it accomplished included some great stories. And offer to share it in the next industry group dinner or networking group meeting.
By documenting your wins as they happen, you’ll be more conscious of the role you played. You can save related emails or notes from your supervisor, as well as data to support the specific impact of your contribution.
Tracking “wins” is also great for your confidence on the job. The habit of tracking them leads you to look for new ways to create them.
How are you tracking your wins today? If you’re not, which one of the ideas above works best for you?
Tim Tyrell-Smith is founder of Tim's Strategy, a site that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy. Follow Tim on Twitter, @TimsStrategy, and share his 30 Ideas Book with job-seeking friends.