One of my favorite career development tools (and one I recommend on an almost daily basis) is the Key Accomplishments List.
It’s such an easy thing to do—and it’s SO valuable—there’s no reason you shouldn’t be tracking your professional accomplishments on a monthly basis (at the very least).
*NOTE: I also created a template for members of the Career Success Library.
Here’s an overview of the process…
Write down—yes, on paper—the specific things you achieved at work each and every month. Some of my clients prefer to do this on a weekly basis; some even do it each day.
You can do this in a number of different ways. You can get a spiral notebook solely for this purpose and write things in there. Or you can create a Word document and simply add to it each time you do this exercise. Or you can use a template of some sort (like the one I shared above).
Why write it down? Simple. Your memory isn’t what it used to be. If you don’t put it on paper, the chances are great that you’ll forget about it. Plus, writing things down forces you to articulate (in REAL words) otherwise vague ideas.
It’s up to you how often you revisit this exercise, but here’s recommendation: Create a reminder on your calendar to update your Key Accomplishments List regularly. Otherwise, months will go by and your list will collect dust. Why? Because your memory isn’t what it used to be. Don’t you remember me telling you that a minute ago??
What To Include
- The specific challenge you were facing, problem you were trying to resolve or situation you were in.
- The specific actions you took to confront the challenge, fix the problem, manage the situation, etc.
- The outcome—the specific results of the actions you took. Remember to focus on those things that add value to your organization. Whenever possible, provide quantifiable and measurable results (i.e. numbers). Cite the dollar amount you saved, the percent increase in productivity you created, the number of work hours you saved, etc. It’s perfectly fine to estimate as long as you have a logical process for how you got to that number.
How to Use Your Key Accomplishments List
- Share it with your superiors during performance reviews. Use it in the preparation process to jog your memory about what you’ve been working on and why you deserve that raise, promotion, bonus, etc.
- Use it to update your resume. Remember that resumes should always be accomplishment focused—not a mere list of job duties. (If you need help with this, check out my resume services here.)
- Use it to motivate yourself. Whenever you’re feeling down or like your work just doesn’t matter (hey, we all feel like that from time to time!), pull out your list and celebrate your awesomeness.