How to Track Work Accomplishments
Whether it's time to update your resume or you're thinking of asking for a raise, there are many good reasons to learn how to track your work accomplishments. Sarah Landrum lays out a great template in her blog below of how to do just that.
When caught up in daily tasks and to-do lists, you finish one challenge and move on. Months pass, and you know you made progress and did your part — but do you track work accomplishments? Many people don’t, due to daily pressures and the constant need to think ahead.
When enough time passes, it’s difficult to remember all you’ve done. In truth, you accomplish more than you think. You will feel more capable and can reward yourself for a job well done when you track work accomplishments, and in turn, your career growth.
Perks of Tracking Work Accomplishments
With so much asked of you, it’s time to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and keep records of what you achieve throughout the year. Here are the perks of making that list and continually adding your wins to it:
Responding strategically to interview questions: You may rehearse your answers, but a list helps you think strategically and objectively when you respond to interview questions.
Campaigning for a raise: You have to know why you deserve it and demonstrate that. Your list gives you concrete evidence of your contributions and growth.
Proposing new initiatives: Your past success demonstrates your ability to succeed in the future and be trusted to get a little experimental with your innovation.
Arriving prepared for performance reviews: You’ll have a clear picture of your last few months or year to communicate with your employer.
Updating your resume in a snap: When you’re ready to move on, applications will feel like less work, and you can target the job you desire and deserve.
Networking at your best: Share what you’ve learned and accomplished more easily, authentically and with confidence.
Suggestions for What Work Accomplishments to Track
Track what you define as success, from small to large achievements. This document is for your eyes — and maybe the eyes of others, depending on whether you post your list publicly or keep it in your files at home. From awards to negotiations, here are a few suggestions for what you should track:
Financial goals achieved: Include results with analytics and the steps you took.
Interpersonal resolutions: Here’s one you may not think of — include difficult scenarios you resolved or negotiated with coworkers that ended with a positive result. This may arise as an interview question.
Tasks and projects: Did you meet the deadline? What did you accomplish? Include small and big items.
Succeeding under pressure: Include moments where you persevered while under pressure and succeeded.
Exceeding employer expectations: List moments where you exceeded expectations and how you did it, along with positive remarks.
Winning awards and earning recognition: List big and small awards, especially those specific to your company or industry.
Leading: Include any times that you held a leadership role, such as spearheading a project or office meeting. List nonprofit organization memberships and other responsibilities, too.
Methods to Track Work Accomplishments
Now that you have a few ideas, you have to figure out how to describe each of these accomplishments in a concise, organized and powerful way. Like any narrative, you should include the instigating incident, action and change. Well-rounded characters always change.
Interviewees often use the STARR method when asked tough questions during an interview, and this method of description offers a strong tool to demonstrate your accomplishments in a powerful way through narrative and timeline. Name the situation, and set the scene. Describe the task that challenged you and the action you took to handle the situation. What happened as a result of the action you took? Did you take a moment for reflection, and what did you learn in the end?
In what format should you store and track work accomplishments? Will you keep a journal or a file online? What about recording through audio or video? Here are a few suggestions for maintaining your records:
Handwritten journal: When you write something down, you’re more likely to reflect and accomplish more — 42 percent of people achieve their goals by writing them down regularly. Record the date and details.
Binder: Using a binder feels old-fashioned, but it provides a physical record where you can include data reports and any handwritten thank-you's that you receive.
Program or app: Programs and apps allow you to take your list with you on the road and update it instantly. Programs and apps like Inkpad or Evernote are great for note-taking and tracking, and Evernote lets you send your notes to your email. Include links and photos, like a digital scrapbook.
LinkedIn: Your resume and praise are already listed, so why not use LinkedIn to track work accomplishments? Update awards and positions. Remain professional. Using LinkedIn consistently lets others interested in you keep up with your career growth. Side note: Don’t forget to update your website or portfolio in relation to your accomplishments.
Voice or video record: Use a voice recorder to record your accomplishments in real time. Add to a more permanent record later on. A private v-log allows you to look at your body posture and feel the enthusiasm all over again.
Calendar: This provides more of a snapshot in terms of details, but it’s easier to see your timeline unfold over the course of the year as it relates to other events. Just pop in the details of what you accomplished.
Don’t let your list get too long before you add the details to your resume. Use strong verbs when updating your resume with your accomplishments, such as managed or spearheaded over handled. Zero in on statistics, facts and figures and include what’s relevant. When applying for a job, only list accomplishments related to the role you’re applying for.
It’s easy to get caught up in daily work tasks and stay on top of everything to maintain your workflow. If you don’t take time to reflect and track work accomplishments, you risk stagnancy and feeling stuck in your career.
Tracking your work accomplishments benefits your self-esteem and allows you to check in with yourself during your career growth, making sure you’re really where you want and deserve to be.