Cataloging Achievements. Industry Faux Pas or Prudent Planning?

Remember The September Issue? After months of planning and countless hours of labor the September issue of American Vogue was finally complete. Anna Wintour’s response? “Onto the next.” In this moment I had a realization, while seemingly obvious yet nonetheless relevant to those who ever wish to seek advancement in their career. How easily and do we forget the massive undertakings, accomplishments and milestones in our careers? To some extent we live in an industry where it’s taboo to focus on anything of the past, never mind the previous season. Yet, does this mindset serve us in taking the next step in our careers? Probably not.

It’s common practice at The Fit to thoroughly prepare candidates prior to each stage in the interview process. We provide specific direction, strategy and coaching tailored to the position, hiring company and candidate. Part of such preparation includes asking candidates to prepare a current or past example of each key objective on the job description for which they are interviewing. By preparing specific examples of current or past performance a candidate is able to provide evidence of their skill set and ability to effectively do the job. As opposed to an opinion based response of “Oh, I can do that,” real life examples provide proof needed to convince hiring managers that a candidate can hit the ground running; that they are proven in the skill desired.

Additionally, by focusing these examples on accomplishments candidates not only illustrate their ability to meet but exceed expectations. During the preparation call the response is almost always the same “I didn’t realize everything I had done in the last 5 years or “It was difficult to remember everything I had accomplished.” Why is this? The answer is simple. As an industry, I might argue as a culture, our tendency is to downplay and often forget our achievements and quickly move onto the next task at hand. A job well done is often expected rather than acknowledged and noted. But if you’re looking to make a change to another company or simply want to move up with your current employer it’s critical that you document career highlights, successes and specific accomplishments. An employee with a well -documented career is highly more likely to win an interview, promotion or increase in pay. What employer can ignore the facts of a well presented case of past accomplishments?

What am I suggesting? What am I not suggesting is that we all run about touting our successes to one another like arrogant jerks. You’re not likely to earn the respect of your boss or impress coworkers this way. What I am recommending is that you develop a career diary. Nothing fancy, a simple list will suffice. Every time you achieve some form of success regardless of the size or scope, write it down. You might consider making a practice of this at the end of each week. What did you do well this week? Did you provide coaching or training, improve a process, win a new account, etc. In this way, you will have dozens of examples to choose from when the time comes to interview ether outside your company or internally for a promotion.

According to Anna, “Fashion’s not about looking back, it’s always about looking forward.” I agree, just don’t forget to catalog your accomplishments along the way.


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