Do you have trouble thinking of your accomplishments when called upon to do so? Do you struggle to find examples to demonstrate your awesomeness? Start making lists of your accomplishments.
Whether or not you are actively job searching you should always keep an up-to-date list of your accomplishments. It will make a big difference.
Start by going back a few years and thinking about all of your achievements to date. Did you run a 10k or a marathon? Walk the Camino? Get a sommelier certificate? Did you break a sales record at work, start a new initiative or program, put together a team, organize a huge event?
Write it all down. Every single thing you’re even a little bit proud of. Baked a really delicious cake for 20 people, started volunteering at the local homeless shelter, grew your own herb garden…you get the idea.
After the initial list is made, keep this list going as you continue to accomplish things. Every day, or every week, write down something you’re proud of. Daily might not be reasonable (I don’t do something I’m proud of every day). Keep this available for reference purposes on some list making app you like, or just in a Word file (I’ve tried list making apps and they just don’t work for me the same way that good old Word does).
Go back over it from time to time, monthly or every couple of months, and pull the items that really stand out to add to a separate list. Now you have two lists: one of many achievements, big and small, and one of major achievements.
Why are you making lists of your accomplishments?
Use these for reference. They can be useful in several ways and at different times.
Feeling discouraged? Look at all the awesome things you’ve done
First, when you’re feeling demotivated and down on yourself, which is something we all go through from time to time, it’s pretty helpful to have a ready list of your accomplishments to pull out and read through. It’s an immediate confidence boost. How can you not feel at least a little bit better when reading through that?
Updating your resume? You’re going to need some new material
Second, when you do find yourself actively job searching, you’ll need to update your resume with the most impressive recent accomplishments. You might have noticed that when it’s time to start listing your accomplishments, you suddenly can’t think of any. Keeping a list makes it a lot easier.
Networking? Interviewing? You’ve got your talking points
Third, the lists will provide you with talking points. These are necessary for job interviews, for which you’ll want to turn them into stories that demonstrate both your hard and soft skills. Not all of your accomplishments are good interview fodder, of course. You might not want to talk about cake baking in the interview (depends). But they also make good talking points for networking and when you’re trying to communicate your awesomeness outside of the professional sphere – because everyone out there is a potential connection to a new job or career opportunity.
You have to be careful about how you do this. You don’t want to just go around bragging about your accomplishments, but there are usually opportunities to organically segue into something you want to talk about without being obnoxious. Like if someone mentions a restaurant you can say, “Oh! I was going to book a table there last year to organize a coworker’s surprise promotion party, but we had 60 people, which was too many. So, we had it at the [insert other place] instead. But I’d still like to go there sometime. Did you like it?”
You have just conveyed that 1. You are the sort of person who does nice things for other people. 3. You can organize a fairly large event. (3. BONUS: you can turn a conversation back to the other person and let them answer a question, showing you were listening to what they were saying).
There are probably other things you can do with your list of accomplishments. These are just the ones that are top of mind.
Start making your list now. It will make things way better later.