Are you a highly organized person? So you think you are, right? Okay, can you put your fingers on the copy of your 1990 six-month performance evaluation? Why not? Okay, so maybe you aren’t THAT organized. Few people are. It’s funny that we save copies of our tax returns ad infinitum but we tend to toss career-related documents without heed.
Career documents are important documents to keep and be able to locate. A good way to do that is to create a career binder where you can keep all your documentation in one place. Purchase a 2” or 3” binder at your local office supply along with a set of dividers and some page protectors. Label the dividers as Evaluations, Project Details, References, Awards, Certificates, Training, Resume, Accomplishments and Misc.
Find a time when you can spend a couple of hours gathering your documents and start putting them in your binder. If you have electronic drawings or schema of projects, be sure to burn them to a CD and place the CD in the binder. Do the same for photos or include hardcopy photos that pertain to your career in your binder.
For your resume, place the latest version on top in that section so it is the first one you turn to. Remember to burn a copy of it to your CD. If you put the resume in a page protector, you will be able to place a label on the outside of the protector with the date the resume was created. That will help you remember when you need to update it (every six months).
In the References section, place all letters of recommendation that you receive plus all letters of commendation. Remember that most atta-boys come via email these days so make it a point to print out those emails when they come and place them in your binder. You may also want to keep a page in this section where you write down the contact information of supervisors for future reference.
The Accomplishments section is more of a journal in function. Every time you accomplish something of note in your job, you should jot down the details. One of the most difficult tasks we find our clients face is to dredge up from memory their accomplishments, especially details such as dollar figures, percentages, etc. It is much easier to simply make a note at the time you achieve something and keep those notes in your career binder.
The other categories are fairly self-explanatory. Keep your career documents together in one place and organized and you will have a living history record of your work performance. A career binder can also come in handy as documentation if for some reason you ever have to face legal action related to your job. Having a career paper trail can be beneficial and worth the work in more ways than one!