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Record Your Achievements. The 5 Minute Career Coach Update July 2010
July 15, 2010

Helping Career Changers Around The World

July 2010 Update


Are you recording your achievements?

'What achievements?' I hear you ask, glumly.

If you are stuck in a negative place with your job, you may well feel that you are slogging away and achieving nothing. You may look back over your work and think there is nothing noteworthy in what you have done so far.

This is precisely why it is important to keep a record of your achievements.

You are possibly thinking that you have nothing to put in this 'record', but just stop for a moment and take a closer look.

Remember how you felt on your very first day at work when you were 16, 18, 21 or whatever. Think of how scared you were, how unsure of your abilities, how confusing all the systems and procedures were. Now think of how you feel now. Whatever you have done over the intervening years, you are much more confident and capable than you were back then, so something must have improved! You have certainly achieved a lot in terms of increased knowledge and understanding of the world of work and of your job in particular.

What are achievements?
It is worth just checking how you interpret the word 'achievements'. Are you thinking of really big outcomes – rapid promotion, major project responsibilities, dramatic changes that you have driven through? All well and good, but achievements do not have to be on that grand scale to count.

I remember working in retail many years ago and getting that sense of satisfaction when I had spent time with a customer and in the end, it was not just about making a sale, it was the smile and the thanks from the customer that mattered. They had been looked after and their needs attended to. That was the achievement that I felt proud of.

So start looking for the little moments in your day- to-day working life when you feel you have achieved something. These are the things that are worth recording on a day to day basis, because these are the achievements that are easily overlooked, dismissed, forgotten.

Of course there are bigger things that matter too – the promotions, the qualifications gained, the bonus payments for especially good work, but these are situations where others are making the judgement about you.

It is the smaller scale achievements that really help you to identify for yourself what makes you proud – and this is a crucial piece of understanding and self awareness that will help you to define where you should look next to move your career forwards.

Create your achievements file
So start today. Get yourself a folder, a ring binder, a notebook – anything that you can use to collect ideas and information. From now on, ideally on a daily basis, but weekly at very least, make a note of the little things you have done at work that are significant to you in some way.

It could simply be supporting a colleague in their work, finally working out how to do pivot sheets in Excel, getting a genuine thank you from a client whose problem you have resolved.

Include the feedback you have had from others too – whether it is a positive appraisal or a promotion on merit. Everything should be included.

Once you start recording what is going on now, you will find it a lot easier to look backwards over your previous jobs and identify the important achievements there too.

Once you have started to build up this file or folder, you can look back on it in your 'low' moments and remind yourself that your work so far has not been a waste of time. And you will also find this a great resource when you are job hunting. Never more will you need to fear the interview question 'so what have been your most significant achievements in your job?'

And last but not least, it will be a great resource to help you plan the career change you are dreaming about.

With best wishes

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