How Tracking Your Work Accomplishments Can Improve Your Career
If you’ve read any of our advice on updating your resume, asking for a promotion, or performing a self-review at work, you probably noticed we place emphasis on the idea of keeping personal records. It might sound silly, but keeping track of your professional life can be extremely beneficial in a number of ways. From your various job titles and their descriptions, all the way to projects, achievements, and performance reviews, you should seek to keep records on just about everything.
Depending on your preferences, you could create a document on your computer, make notes in a device such as a smart phone, or jot things down on a notepad the old-school way. Be consistent when updating your records, and do your best to provide as much detail as possible. Your personal records should act as a sort of “timeline” of your career, so keeping track of dates is incredibly important. Here are some of the advantages of keeping personal records.
Updating Your Resume
You might be wondering how often you should update your resume; a question to which the answer may vary. Some people update their resume as soon as they start a new job, while others wait until they’re actively seeking a new job. Either way, it can be hard to remember each and every detail of your recent history if you’re thinking off the top of your head.
Your resume is one of the most effective career tools you have at your disposal, and it should be treated as such. Keeping records regularly can help immensely when it comes time to update your resume. If you recently worked on a major project or broke a monthly sales record, take note of all the details. Just think—next time you update your resume, you won’t have to remember a thing! Your detailed records will do all the thinking for you.
Asking for a Raise or Promotion
Maybe it’s time to take the next step in your career, or perhaps you want to ask for a salary increase. Whichever the case may be, you’ll need to prove yourself to your boss. If you march into your boss’ office demanding a raise or a promotion and you’ve got nothing to back you up, you can almost certainly bet on disappointment.
Your records will be a major asset to you when it comes to making moves in your career. All of your successes and achievements can serve as ammunition when you’re ready to have that all-important conversation with your boss. Quantifiable examples work best in this scenario, so make sure your records include dates, sales figures, or any other pertinent information. Let’s say you work in marketing, and the campaigns that you put together have consistently led to increased sales. This can absolutely be used as leverage for a raise or a promotion.
Whether it’s a self-review or a performance review conducted by your boss or manager, you’ll need to have your ducks in a row if you want to look your best. Detailed records will help you to more accurately recall various projects you worked on, as well as your accomplishments or any other memorable moments from your recent career history.
If you’re conducting a performance review with your boss either in person or over a Zoom call, keeping your records handy is always an advantage. For example, your boss might forget to mention a significant accomplishment, or they might accidentally leave out important details about your contributions to a complex project. Your records can help to provide clarity in these types of situations. In addition to this, your boss will appreciate your attention to detail, which can only lead to good things.
At some point in your career, you might encounter nefarious individuals who will try to take advantage of you in various ways. Whether they attempt to take credit for your hard work, or they try to place blame on you for something that they did wrong, you want to make sure you’ve got the story straight in the event your boss confronts you over an issue. Yes friends, your records may also save your skin in precarious situations at work.
Another great reason to keep records is in the event you’re the target of any kind of abuse in the workplace. If you’re feeling like it’s time to go to HR, you can rely on your records to help explain your situation clearly, calmly, and with as much detail as possible. The fact that you’ve kept records will lend further credence to your claims, and your records can also be submitted to an HR representative for any investigations they might want to conduct.
It’s never too late to start keeping personal records. Whether you’re a first-time job seeker or a seasoned veteran of the workplace, make the effort to document your career in great detail. Time goes by quickly, and it can be more difficult than you think to remember projects you’ve worked on, your achievements, and even dates and times. Remember, diligence is the name of the game—your success may rely upon it.