Keep on top of your achievements and set career goals to gain the momentum you need to move ahead.
IT’S SPRINGTIME (AT LEAST HERE IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE), and it’s time to do some deep cleaning. And I’m not talking about emptying the garage or sweeping the dust bunnies out from under the couch.
Let’s talk about your career documents, because if you’re like most people, you’ve let them gather dust and only clean them up when you actually need them…for a job interview or in the event of job loss or a layoff. By keeping on top of your achievements and setting career goals, you’ll gain the momentum you need to move ahead.
Freshening up your career assets ensures that you are ready to respond to opportunities as well as unplanned changes…and it’s essential to your overall career management. An up-to-date document will help you decide what skills you want to add, and what organizations you need to join to boost your networking IQ. (And don’t treat these docs as obituaries, as in: “Susie did this” and “Susie did that.”)
But before doing anything else, you need to create a career management file. It’s your catchall place to store memory triggers, so you don’t spend hours trying to remember what in the heck you did five years ago. In your career management file, you’ll put:
- Kudos letters from co-workers, bosses, colleagues and clients;
- Extra copies of educational event registrations (seminars, workshops, conferences, conventions, trade shows, webinars, classes);
- Membership certificates from organizations and associations;
- Staff reports;
- Work plans;
- Event recaps;
- Performance assessments/reviews;
- Any metrics that measure job success;
- Volunteer, committee or board service documents; and
- Any accolades you’ve received (awards, speaking engagements, features, quotes).
When it’s time to update your career documents, you now have all your updates in one easy-to-locate place.
Next, update your work history with concrete, measurable wins. Under education, list the actions you’ve taken to enhance your professional development with jobs-specific knowledge. Include volunteer service (MPI is a great résumé boost) to demonstrate involvement and leadership.
Once your résumé is up-to-date, turn your attention to its online companion, LinkedIn, and add in the same information to freshen your profile. And don’t forget to occasionally add a status update as well (like a tweet on Twitter), so potential employers know the lights are on and someone is home.
And, finally, rest assured that you’re ready for any opportunities that come your way. One+
One+ April 2012,