During the course of a career, we all have good times and bad times. When you're out of work or feeling overwhelmed by your job, it's sometimes hard to see that there will be an end to the bad time. Depression is sneaky and it can creep in when you're not paying attention and, next thing you know, you've lost your confidence and are stuck in a negative mindset.
A great way to keep this from happening is to keep a folder dedicated to your accomplishments. It might sound a little self-congratulatory, but it really works. What you do is print out any emails from your boss or co-workers that praise your successes, any thank-you notes from clients or other things you are especially proud of. This way, when you are feeling discouraged, you can pull out the folder and get a moral boost. As you know, nothing can derail your job search like negativity and lack of confidence.
Another reason to keep this type of file is that it comes in handy when you are looking for a new job. For one, it gives you some real proof of your accomplishments. Secondly, when you are writing a cover letter, tweaking your resume or creating an elevator pitch, you have some information and a place to start. Additionally, when you are being interviewed for a job, hiring managers will often ask for specific examples of time when you have solved a difficult problem or saved a previous employer money. When you're preparing for the interview, these notes of praise will serve as a reminder of times when you've done just that and give you a jumping off point for constructing your answers.
Armed with your self-promotion file, you can fill in the gaps and look for the common thread. For example, if you work in sales or customer service and you have a stack of notes from clients thanking you for going above and beyond the call of duty to help meet their needs, you can feel confident marketing yourself as someone who prides themselves on treating every customer as a V.I.P.
When you look at all of the praise you've received over the course of your career, you're bound to see a few things that consistently stand out. These are the skills and talents that make you special and these are the reasons that an employer would want you on their team. Use this information to create a strategic job search strategy and marketing plan.
Don't wait until you're out of work to make a list of the things you've accomplished. Instead, keep a running current folder and update it often.
Do you have a self-promotion file? Why or why not?