We’ve all been told by a supervisor at one point in our career to “write down everything you do”. Early on in my career I’ll admit that I rarely listened to this advice, as I knew I would remember and thought no one actually cared. I was just doing my job, what I thought was expected of me. However, over the years I’ve learned the value of this simple request: it meant less time in the office with the boss agonizing over what I did for the last year.
Having recently retired and transitioned into the civilian world, I’m learning the value of these letters of appreciation, certificates of recognition, and achievement awards. All of these seemingly useless papers that have PCS’d with me over the years collecting dust, compiled with my official annual reviews, have become an invaluable marketing tool.
I recently contacted a consultant to look over my resume and help me “tweak” what I have been using to market myself. I attended TAPS, read books, and researched how to write an award-winning resume. What I came up with wasn’t a bad product by any means as it landed me a great contracting position earning a respectable salary. Yet, I was definitely missing the boat in a few areas. I referenced very few of my individual accomplishments from my “I Love Me Book”. My current resume is based on stats like projects completed, man hours saved, number of troops, and job descriptions.
Employers want to know that you, as a prospective employee, have a history of sustained productivity and excellence, that you are involved in your community and are always looking for ways to improve yourself through education or training. By now, most employers understand the general qualities that military veterans bring to the workforce; they want to understand what YOU bring to their organization - why are you different? The letters of appreciation highlighting your volunteer efforts or the knowledge that you completed upgrade training with a 95% or better differentiate you as a prospect. These are the characteristics that set you apart from the masses.
So don’t ignore that supervisor when he/she suggests that you keep a journal or book all about YOU. I agree that all of those things didn’t seem like they were “above & beyond”. I was truly just doing my job and what I thought I was supposed to do, but surprisingly these qualities are not normal. These are the things that make you different from the rest of the applicants. Because that book of random entries along with letters of appreciation, certificates of recognition, and achievement awards will one day make your resume awesome! How do you keep track of your personal successes?
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