It’s that time of year when smart executives take a look at their resumes to update. What has changed over the last year? New email address? Changed jobs? Successfully completed new projects? Overcame challenging business issues? Whatever the circumstances, your resume needs to be refreshed at least once a year.
What’s one of the biggest changes a resume should display when refreshed? New accomplishments—your success stories. Accomplishments demonstrate your skills and strengths. It’s one thing to claim you can do something—it’s another to prove you’ve done it.
Now the challenge is to remember these accomplishments throughout the year to add to the resume. If you are not convinced it is worth your time to track your achievements, here are some other reasons:
- For performance evaluations or an annual review
- To set your personal and professional goals for the next year
- To track the progress of projects you’re working on
- To support your candidacy and qualifications in a job interview
- To make the case for a raise or promotion
- To remind you of your achievements when you’re having a bad day
- To apply for recognition (awards)
Quantifying your accomplishments also helps you stand out from others who do the work you do—whether you’re using the information for a raise or promotion request, or when seeking a new job opportunity. But accomplishments go beyond the basic job duties and responsibilities.
There are several ways you can collect your accomplishments:
- Online. You can create a Microsoft Word file to document your achievements. In your email program, you can create a folder for accomplishments and send yourself emails to store in that folder. You can also use an app like Evernote.
When you receive a “kudos” email, forward a copy to your personal email account. To help you organize it, tag or label it with a specific subject line (like “Kudos”).
You should also print out and/or take a screenshot of any LinkedIn recommendations you have on your profile. These are an important part of your accomplishments record as well.
- Offline. Something as simple as a file folder or notebook can be used to track your achievements.
Keep performance reviews and highlight what could be added to the resume.
If you receive notes of appreciation from customers, coworkers, or your company, compile those. You can make a copy and keep it in hard copy form, or take a screen shot and keep a digital copy.
How often should you update your accomplishments? As often as necessary. For some, it could be frequent updates; for others, that could mean a quarterly assessment. The most important thing is to take the time to do this on an ongoing basis. Put an alarm or task reminder on your calendar so you remember to set aside the time to track your accomplishments regularly.
Whether updating your resume yourself or using a professional resume writer, if you have your accomplishments collected and organized it will make it much easier, and should result in a job search document that is ultimately more effective.