Monday, April 13, 2009

Takin' Care of Business: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn

This is the fifth in a ten part series called, Takin’ Care of Business – Making Work Work for You.

Exactly what have you accomplished at work? It’s a hard question to answer because 1) We tend to downplay our successes, so a lot of the small accomplishments are quickly forgotten 2) We accomplish one thing and quickly move on to the next, so it becomes difficult to remember all of the things we’ve done.

Anyone who’s ever had to sit down and prepare for an annual performance evaluation knows what I mean. Wrecking your brain as you try to remember all of the things you’ve done in vivid detail. How can you toot your own horn or tell your bosses what an asset you are when your memory is failing you?

The solution is a simple one. Keep track of all of your accomplishments … as you accomplish them. I have a simple Word document where I list all of the projects and assignments I've been given. As needed, I update that document with exactly what I've done and when.

At the end of the year, it was easy to toot my horn and talk up my successes. And, when it comes time to update my resume, I havean accurate record of exactly what I have done.This success log, doesn’t need to be long. It does not need to be overly detail. Just describe the task at hand, and focus on the numbers.

For example:

Project: Office 2007 Overview
Description: Responsible for giving 200 employees a brief presentation on transitioning from Office 2003 to Office 2007.
Results: Delivered a series of 45 minute presentations to the staff of 225. Located and distributed several quick reference guides to the staff to support the transition. Worked with IT to assist people who were having trouble with the installation and who had questions about the new applications.

The key to making this work is keeping this document current. When you are assigned a new project, open up the document and add the description. When you have a successful result, don’t hesitate to record it immediately while it is fresh in your mind.

Focus on the numbers – how many people did you work with? How many calls on average did you handle a day? How much did you make in sales? How many phone lines did you answer? Did you complete the project under budget or before the deadline?

Nothing says success quite like results!

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