It's a jungle out there in the working world. Employers aren't as loyal to their workers as they were a few decades ago. And many, if not most, employees are more likely to just jump ship and look for new jobs if they don't feel they're getting what they want out of their current ones.
The problem is that many employees begin their job search unprepared. They don't keep track of their most recent accomplishments, so when it comes time to write or update their resume, they've forgotten most of the big things they've done. And forgetting a couple of important accomplishments on your resume can mean the difference between getting the job and not getting even the chance to interview.
That's why it's important to keep a brag sheet. It can be a simple document, like a Word file, that you update every time you make a noteworthy accomplishment or reach an important goal at work.
The brag sheet can also help when it's time for your performance review. If your boss overlooks or neglects to include something positive that could improve your review, you can use the brag sheet to help you state your case and maybe even earn a bigger raise.
Here's an example of an information technology project manager's brag sheet:
- Feb. 10 — Software implementation project for accounting department came in two days ahead of schedule. Department manager very pleased with new functionality.
- Feb. 20 — Department VP said software project came in $1,500 under budget, a 10% savings, which came at a good time since the company is thinking budget cuts for second quarter.
- April 2 — Hired a very skilled contractor to help us with networking project. We didn't have the skills in-house so he'll really help. I talked with three prospects but I'm sure this guy has what we want and can work effectively with rest of the team.
- April 23 — I was right. This guy's good. All the others on the project team, especially Elaine and Mike, agree!
When you're ready to update your resume or sit down for your review, you can look back at your entries and whip them into statements you can make about your performance. Here's what the above four entries communicate:
- The project manager made a critical deadline.
- He has a reference who can attest to the project's success.
- He helped the company save a little money.
- He has an eye for talent with the contractor, and has references who can back that up.
Those are critical messages that can help advance your career either within the company or with a different employer. Remember that hiring managers are more interested in reading about what you've accomplished in your career rather than what titles you've held or what duties were listed on your job description.
That's why you should record this data and use it when you need to look for a new job, or at performance review time. Make the employer aware of your value!
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