Education Career Services

April 22, 2009

The Power of a Little Black Book

As I struggle to write a client’s resume today, it seems a perfect time to discuss the Little Black Book.  No, not that one.  I suppose it doesn’t have to be black, but something a little more substantial than a notebook because this collection of data is too important to lose track of or get damaged beyond repair.

This career journal is solely for capturing your work history and achievements.  Memory can be a treacherous companion, so take the time to regularly capture employment data while it’s fresh in your mind.  Especially if you’re just starting out in your career (and don’t forget to include college information as well)   There is the common information:

  • Job Title
  • Company name and address
  • Dates of employment (day, month, year)
  • Supervisor’s name and number
  • Job duties and responsibilities
  • Record of promotion and compensation increases (date and amounts)

“Wait!” you might be thinking if you’re a regular reader of this blog.  You know that most of the above points aren’t for your resume.  True enough, but they are necessary for job application forms.  This journal is for information gathering, not screening.

Even more important than the above are your quantifiable achievements.  How did you go above and beyond?  How much money did your actions save the company?  How much money did you bring in?  What improvements did you make and how can it be measured?  HOW DID YOU MAKE YOURSELF VALUABLE?

The client I’m working with right now didn’t have this information.  It had never occurred to him to keep a record.   He’s hoping to go back to former employers and gather that data .  From experience I can tell him (and you) that it is very difficult to even remember everything let alone getting past employers to surrender their information (if they even have it).

Do yourself a favor; if you don’t have an Career Journal, get one and start keeping detailed records.  It will be invaluable for advancing your career.

Rob Swanson
Managing Writer
Career Services Internation,
Education Career Services,


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