Tracking Accomplishments and Keeping Your Resume Up to Date

Congratulations! You got the job! After you celebrate and learn the ropes of the new positions, it is time to wrap up a few details. First, if you interviewed for other positions and have not heard back, let those people know that you accepted a position. Also send thank you letters for those interviews.

Then, once you have a sense of the new position, start keeping track of your accomplishments in the new role. While you do not want to think about looking for a new position again, keeping track of your achievements is a good idea for more than the next time you may be in the job market. This information can also be used when seeking a promotion, when you need to “sell” yourself to potential clients, and during annual reviews.

It can be all too easy to think that you will remember your achievements, particularly for big projects. However it is also all too easy to forget specifics. Keeping a file of your accomplishments is therefore necessary.

Keep two files, physical and electronic, to track your information. The reason you need a physical file is that you will likely have hard copies of performance reviews and other information from upper management. If your company works electronically, consider printing a few of the most important documents to have a backup source of information (and ensure that you perform regular backups of electronic information).

Work-Related Information

First, make a note of your start date. As you progress in the position, also note the dates of any promotions, changing roles, additional responsibilities, etc. Keep track of the names of direct supervisors, and how long you work with each. Others may also progress through the company ranks, and it can be tough to remember who you worked for and when.

As you complete projects, keep track of the details. These do not (at this point) need to be resume-ready. However, keep notes detailed enough to know what was done, budgets, delivery times, and outcomes, such as revenues, increased clients, etc. If you provide a service, make note of positive customer or client feedback. Also keep track of any information that can be quantified, such as numbers of products sold, profits, numbers of customers served, processes that have been streamlined, etc. For big projects, in particular, you will likely remember the bigger details, so keep track of the smaller details as well. These can help provide a complete picture of the project when needed.

Make notes of the dates for each project as well, as it can be difficult to remember the project duration, particularly when you have moved on to the next project or activity. Also, note if the work was completed on time, or, ideally, ahead of schedule, and by how much.

Update your notes on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly. Avoid waiting so long that your memory might fail you, particularly if you are busy. Five minutes of notes can save a lot of time searching for information later.

Also keep track of any positive feedback from customers and clients. Positive feedback from happy clients is some of the best marketing material you can have. Any positive feedback from coworkers and other teams or departments is also worth noting.

You will likely have at least an annual review. This is a great opportunity to keep track of positive feedback from senior management. Many companies provide you with a copy of your review; hang onto this, as it has information from your superiors in their own words. Similarly, many reviews include specific, quantifiable information, and the calculations are done for you. This information can be invaluable and can save you a lot of time. This is also the time to use your own notes to remind your manager of what you have accomplished since the last review.

Some companies provide online systems for employees to keep track of accomplishments in and out of the workforce, where additional information such publishing, speaking, and volunteer activities can be included. Use this system to your advantage, as it is a helpful tool for both you and the company.

Outside Activities

Just as it can be easy to forget work accomplishments, it can also be easy to overlook outside activities that reflect well on you. Volunteer work, community service, and related activities can be a boost to your resume and value as an employee. Just as you considered these activities when writing the most recent resume, keep track of ongoing volunteer and related work.

Education and Professional Development

Many positions require continuing education of some sort, and even if it is not a requirement, there is a good chance you will take part in some type of additional training. Keep track of the provider, the name of the training, and the dates. Make note of special aspects within the training that can help position you for a promotion or new position.

Speaking Engagements and Presentations

Any time you are a speaker or representative of the company or your field, keep track of the presentation title, audience, and dates. Any time you position yourself as an expert in your field, it reflects well on you and your company.

Anything that Promotes Your Brand

Depending on your profession, you may take part in activities that further support your professional development, such as authoring or contributing to research papers, serving on specialty committees or groups, serving as a board member, working with a local chamber of commerce or organization, etc. Any of these activities that help promote who you are and what you have to offer should be added to your file.

While you may not use all the information you keep in your file, it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. It is also a huge time saver later on when you do not have to go through old information or rely on your memory to find what you are looking for. Keeping this information fresh in your mind is also helpful in many work-related situations and as you continue networking. You never know when an opportunity may arise.