Create your Own Accolades File

Really, it’s a GOOD THING

Several years ago when I was working for a local chamber of commerce I received a lovely thank you note from the President of our Board of Directors. The note was a detailed description of how he believed I had added value to the organization. It was a kind gesture and I was very pleased to read it. I realized that any value added was a combination of all the team members so I shared the note with my staff. It was then that one of my staff members, an energetic and eager worker said to me, “are you going to put that in your “yeah Cynthia” file?”

I had no idea what this young woman was talking about, but she further explained to me that it would be a good idea to collect the notes, accomplishments, and recognitions that I received throughout my career. Her reasoning was that it would accumulate into quite a portfolio for my future opportunities. I took her advice and quickly began collecting for my “yeah Cynthia” file.

What’s in your file? 

Over the past ten years, this file has proven to be useful. I am able to show documented proof of the skills I discuss on my resume. When a client wants to know what I am capable of I can show real testimonials from satisfied clients or employers.  And in a world where 80% of resumes are embellished it is nice to have some valid examples of real accomplishments.

With the job market as competitive as it is today, perhaps now is a good time for you to start your own “yeah you” file. LinkedIn provides you with a great place to gather testimonials, but be careful that you only accept true testimonials from people who actually know you and know what you do and have experienced it. You don’t want a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” testimonial because eventually these watered down testimonials will be of no benefit.

Always be prepared

You also should pull together quality examples of some of the skills listed on your resume. If your resume states that you are a “team player” have a real example ready that demonstrates that skill. If you have received any rewards or recognitions from work, try to figure out which resume skills are best demonstrated by this award. Were you recognized for the most on-time project deliveries or excellent customer service? Just listing an award isn’t as valuable as saying in a cover letter or interview that you received the award based on your specific performance utilizing a specific skill set.

Creating your “yeah you” file will help you prepare for interviews as well. A potential employer needs to know how you will perform in the new position. The BEST indicator of future performance is past performance. The more real, valid, and solid examples you have that demonstrate success in the skill sets you claim to have, the more prepared you will be. In an interview situation you only have a short period of time to provide a potential employer with information that will be helpful. Listing things and reciting your resume is not helpful to a future employer, real-life examples are.  Review your “yeah you” file before heading to your interview, It will keep your memories fresh and you won’t be caught off guard when asked a question.

Your “yeah you” file shouldn’t stop when you land your next position either. It needs to be an on-going portfolio of your accomplishments. It is too easy to forget the details of what you have accomplished. This file will give you the tools to stay on top of it and to always be able to put your best foot, your real self forward.

 

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