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No one told me …

No one told me …

That was the response I heard when I asked a client about the monetary impact of changes she’d suggested and implemented. I pressed further. “Can you remember anything about how things changed after you introduced your idea?” Her response … a nervous giggle, then **crickets**.

I’m not picking on her. It’s not the first time I’ve gotten that response. Pragmatically, we know no job comes with guarantees. In reality, we put on our career blinders and think “it couldn’t happen to me.” Then. It does happen. And rather than being able to grab our wonderfulness file and hit the ground running, we waste valuable time kicking ourselves for not being better prepared. (And believe me. I am not immune … )

A few days ago, Billie Sucher, a career colleague tweeted:
“If you aren’t tracking your own job performance, (or job search performance) who is? #jobhunt #discipline #accountability”

It made me think of clients who know they’ve contributed, but never took the time to make note of contributions. Who is managing your career? Who is keeping track of your career contributions? Could you access your carefully nurtured and cultivated professional network if you were walked to the door today?

Unfortunately, for a good many souls, they lose their contacts and their history when a layoff or business failure hits. So, how do you, my savvy reader, circumvent this loss? Today, right now, set up a (free) Gmail account. Export your contact names to that account. (That could be via CSV file or plain, old fashioned typing them in. Regardless. Do it.) Then, either add new contacts as they come in, or set a reminder in your calendar to update your lists regularly. Another option is to open a free account and take your career management to the next level. No matter what, it’s important to maintain an offsite list of important contacts.

And, since you’re in “take charge” mode, start documenting your accomplishments. Don’t wait for your employer to “give” you your sales figures or come up with a measurement for something you suggested. Start documenting, even if it’s an informal tally, so you have an idea of where you stand on any given day. Keep information like that off site as well – a flash drive or Google Docs. Of course, you can’t copy and keep proprietary information, but you can set up some sort of system to document the improvement.

Here’s a March 7th tweet from me:
“Create an accomplishments file, updating it regularly. U need the info to sell UR skills to your next employer. You WON’T remember it all.”

Were you challenged in customer service to handle more calls, so you’re trying different approaches to be helpful, but expedient? Then start something as simple as a tick list to track the calls. Over a week, you’ll know went from taking 10 calls to 25. Take the time to reflect on how you did it – exact steps – so six months or a year from now, you’ll be able to weave the details and measurable results into a resume update and tell a compelling story with quantifiable, qualifiable information during an interview.

Something as simple as catching up filing contributes to the bottom line. If employees were spending 20 minutes a day looking for information stacked throughout the office and you, with your easy to manage file system, have reduced it to 2 minutes, you’ve saved 18 minutes of time. Now multiply that by the five other employees in the department and you saved 1.5 hours a day, 7.5 by week’s end. You’ve added almost an entire day of productivity to your department. Multiply that by 52 weeks a year … well you get the idea.

No matter how insignificant you think the change, write it down. Stop discounting your career accomplishments with an “It’s just my job” mentality. Every position in a company contributes to or supports contribution to the bottom line or the position would not exist. Now, when review time rolls around or you’re working on a resume update or sitting in an interview, you won’t mumble a lame, “I’m organized” <giggle> response. You’ll be able to say, “I put my organization skills to work catching up a six month backlog of filing and kept it current. This minor improvement netted a savings of 7.5 work hours per week in my department and enabled the launch of “XYZ project” or “this improvement”. Chances are, if you didn’t write it down, you’d never remember the act or the impact. And if you didn’t take time to really look at your contribution, you’d never be able to use it to convey your value.

You’re the author of your career story. Don’t wait for someone else to contribute a chapter. Write it yourself.

Copy the code below to your web site.


  1. Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.

  2. Kimba Green says:

    I was always trying to explain this to my teams and the really bad part is I could have done better for myself. I kept my focus on their success and put mine on the back burner. Not a good idea!

    LinkedIn is a good way to keep track on your accomplishments and your network. Talk about what you are doing and what you are working on. This way when you read through your history of postings you will remember your successes. LinkedIn is not just to find a job, in fact using it to find a job is only using LinkedIn at 10% of its abilities.

    The last 3 paragraphs should put all of this into perspective. A simple filing system can save a company significant and we have to remember that!

    Thank you Dawn!

  3. Dawn Bugni says:

    Kimba –

    You’re so right about the “I could have done better for myself” piece of the equation. I chalk it up to our innate ability to think what we do isn’t that big a deal. We discount it and forget it. I do it too. 🙂

    As I tell clients, prospective clients and anyone else who will listen, job search is not a time to be shy and humble. If jobseekers don’t shout their amazing skills from the mountain tops, no one will do it for them. That’s not to say we should be strutting around all arrogant and cocky, but we shouldn’t be dismissing what we do as nothing either.

    Little things can be a big deal (think single mosquito in a room ….) It’s time we started recognizing AND documenting it.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. As a jobseeker yourself, your agreement in the importance of keeping up with career wonderfulness carries a lot of weight.


  4. This is so true, Dawn! Many of my clients tell me they just did their job – even those at higher levels. They fail to see the value they provided, and they certainly don’t keep records of results. This is fantastic advice for everyone!

    • Dawn says:

      Thanks Amanda — for stopping by and for commenting.

      You truly know the importance of selling and differentiating clients. It’s difficult to sell skills, features and benefits without some solid, substantiated information. And, if we don’t write it down, we’ll never remember it. I don’t care how good we “think” our memories are …

  5. What good advice Dawn! No one is going to remember all their accomplishments from a 5 or 10 or even a 2 year career. Anyone can recite responsibilities and functions of their job during an interview but few can explain their role in process, profit or efficiency improvement.

    In my role I ask these questions in order to find the candidate’s strengths. I have to present this person to my client companies and I need more than a bullet list of duties. If the information isn’t offered I dig to jog memories. A corporate recruiter isn’t going to probe the way I do.

    You have to be prepared to sell yourself and your accomplishments. The only way to do that is by “writing your career story”.

    Once again…great post.

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by KimbaGreen: No one told me…. via @DawnBugni #jobseekers #jobhavers #anyoneinbetween…

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