Recalling your past accomplishments is an important step during the job search process and in managing your career.
If you are just starting your job search, recalling past accomplishments is a great way to identify your strengths, transferrable skills and pinpoint what you enjoy doing! (Plus you will use them in developing your resume and during job interviews.)
Keeping track of past accomplishments is also important if you are serious about managing your career! You will be the one responsible for preparing your annual review and making sure your supervisor, manager, VP, whomever, is aware of your past accomplishments.
In either case, pay attention to this warning: Humility can be dangerous to your career.
This should be the new warning label that accompanies every application and all new hire paperwork.
How To Use Accomplishments To Identify Your Skills
Use These Questions To Brainstorm
Just jot down a few words so you can remember the accomplishment later.
- What were you proud of doing at work?
- What did you do better than others around you?
- Were you ever recognized (formally or informally) for work that you did?
- Did you ever go above and beyond what was required of you?
- Were you ever selected to be a part of a team or train others?
- Did you identify and solve a problem?
- Did you save time and/or money?
- Have you improved productivity?
- Have you ever streamlined operations?
- Did you devise new strategies?
- Did you minimize customer complaints?
- Did you provide a service that did not exist before?
- Did you develop an idea that was used or presented?
- Did you help others achieve their goals?
Write A STAR Story For Each Accomplishment
Next, document the story. Always identify a specific incident or situation.
STAR stands for:
Situation – (What was the situation?)
Task – (What were you being asked to do? What was the challenge to the situation?)
Actions – (Step by step, list all the things YOU did.)
Results – (What happened or didn’t happen as a result of what you did?)
Look for Recurring Themes
Now, look at your stories and identify skills or attributes that appear in multiple accomplishments.
The things that keep popping up are the skills/things you enjoy using, right?
You want to emphasize these skills on your resume, in your LinkedIn profile, during conversations with people you meet and during job interviews.
Here’s a worksheet of the questions to download if you want.
Sharing Your Accomplishments Isn’t Bragging
So how do you talk about your accomplishments without bragging?
That’s what so great about your STAR stories, they aren’t bragging. Your stories just state the facts and the outcome of your actions. “This is what I did and this is what happened!”
If you get into the habit of recording your accomplishments regularly, it will become easier.
PS: These are great to send to your boss before a performance review.
Show Your Value
And to make you feel better, you don’t have to be a superstar to get attention. Learn what the real secret to success is by reading this:
I’m No Superstar. I’m Just Average.
Answer Every Interview Question With A STAR story
To concisely convey your talents and abilities, learn how to use a STAR story to answer interview questions by reading Do You Shine During Your Interview.
Other Ways To Identify Skills
There are other ways to assess your skills. Check out Choosing Your Career Can Be Overwhelming
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.