Do you keep a running list of your work accomplishments? How about all the professional compliments you’ve received since your last performance review? Are the projects you complete being recorded somewhere? Chances are, the answer is no. Most people consider themselves too busy with work to take the time to track their professional achievements.
Now, imagine it’s time to prepare for your annual performance review. You’re sitting, staring at your computer as the cursor blinks on a blank screen and you frantically try to remember all of your work accomplishments. Are you going to be able to trust your memory and recite your highlight reel off the top of your head? Do you have enough information to convince your boss to consider you for the big promotion you’ve been hoping to land?
While it can be tricky to remember to record your work accomplishments and to decide what is worth including on your list, it is important to keep track of your successes. Here are four tips to help you record and organize a list of your professional achievements. Remember, you are doing great work and you deserve the credit for it.
Use Your Job Description as an Outline
Part of the reason people don’t record their professional accomplishments is because they don’t recognize them as achievements; they consider the work they put in part of their normal responsibilities. If you use your current job description as a guide, it can help you see how well you’re meeting expectations, in addition to helping you spot the achievements that make you stand out.
If you want to land a specific promotion, instead of your current job description, use the job description of your desired position as your guiding light. While many of the duties may be different from your current day-to-day responsibilities, it will be helpful to identify which of the above-and-beyond tasks you’re already doing would fit the bill, such as contributing to committees or mentoring new employees. Also, if you have specific targets to hit, such as sales quotas, and you’ve met or exceeded them, reporting those numbers can really make you shine.
Categorize Work Accomplishments
One way to brainstorm is to create categories, and then come up with things you’ve done that fit into each, reporting them in as much detail as possible. Team building, self-motivation and education are three categories you might consider tracking. Next time you complete a project with a different department or suggest a workaround for a process, take a moment to jot down what you did, along with the specific actions you took to make the project or solution a success.
One way to remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve done at work is by pretending you’re the interviewer. What questions would you ask in a job interview? If it’s been a while since your last interview, The Muse provides 31 of the most common questions. Read through them, considering your answers, and jot down any specific achievements that stand out.
The best part about using interview questions to brainstorm some of your previous accomplishments is that you’ll have studied up ahead of any committee or HR meetings you may need to attend to be considered for a promotion.
Add Reminders to Your Calendar
The easiest way to get into the habit of recording accomplishments is to remind yourself to do it (because it’s easy to forget). Automated monthly reminders can work well as they give you a regular time to reflect on your accomplishments while allowing enough space in between to make notable progress on ongoing projects.
If you find that reminders work well for you, you could also create one in your schedule one week after every project you complete. Doing this will give you time to decompress, yet still allow you to capture all the immediate, pertinent accomplishments that should be recorded.
Take a moment today to write down one of your work accomplishments from the past month. By getting into the habit of tracking your well-deserved professional achievements, you’ll be ready to shine when opportunity knocks.