I am the kind of person that really thrives on lists. (This probably isn’t surprising if you know me at all.) 

I make lists of tasks every day in Todoist, I keep a list of my goals, and the final type of list I make I can only really classify as “career lists.” They are lists I’ve been keeping for a few years now that are related to my career in one way or another.

I keep all of these in Evernote in a folder called “Career” and reference them around the time we’re doing performance reviews or I’m vying for a promotion.

Here’s what’s in each of those lists:

1. Career accomplishments

Possibly the most important and the easiest list that I think everyone should make is a list of their career accomplishments.

I have this in one list with section titles for the year as well as the quarter. Quarterly is just the way that I like to break it up accomplishments but you create your list in any way you’d like. If you do performance reviews twice a year then maybe it makes more sense for you to make this list in 6-month blocks.

This list doesn’t need to be detailed at all. My list is just bullet points with a few words that I’ll understand when it comes time to reference them in performance reviews.

My list might look something like this:

2. Performance review notes

This is a newer note for me, but it’s been really useful already. I’ve started keeping all of my performance review notes in one document.

Generally, I get performance reviews via email and then my manager and I talk about it in a 1:1 session. Rather than leaving the performance review notes in my email account, I’ve just moved it over to Evernote so that next time we do performance reviews I can quickly check in on the notes from my last review went.

We also do something called 360-degree reviews at Buffer where I review myself and three of the colleagues that I work most closely, and those colleagues also review me. It’s all done anonymously through CultureAmp. We only do 360-degree reviews once a year and I keep those in this note as well since they are a kind of performance review.

3. People whose career I admire

This is a note I started back at University. There are a lot of incredible people whose career’s and journey’s I greatly admire. I started keeping a list of those people to be able to compare my progress. I’ll ask myself what it is about this person that I admire and then brainstorm some of the ways that I can incorporate more of that into my own career.

For example, someone I am a huge fan of and also had the pleasure of interviewing on the Buffer podcast is Ryan Holiday. One thing he does is keep a blog and newsletter and he’s been vocal about how important both of those things can be for personal branding and career progress, so here I am! (Also, here’s my newsletter while we’re chatting about it.)

4. Companies I admire

Similar to the people, I keep tabs on companies I admire.

There are so many reasons to do this. If ever I’m job hunting it’s great to have this list handy. I’ve used it most recently to send to a friend that was looking for companies with great values.

I might even go one step further and use the companies I admire list to add to the people I admire list, maybe I’ll look for their Director of Communications or a Public Relations Manager that I can follow on Twitter.

5. Job descriptions for other companies

This one is a little unusual but has been really fun to keep. I keep lists of job descriptions that are either similar to my current role, or a level or two above it.

The reason this has been so useful to me is that I work at a smallish (80 person) tech company where I am the only person who has ever been in my role. There is no clear ladder to climb and if I want to know what it takes to get to the next level in my profession I find one of the best places to look is other companies job descriptions.

That’s it!

I don’t check these notes all the time and it’s a very low commitment on my end to keep them updated but I’m always so grateful that I do.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Do you keep any lists or notes related to your career? Are there any lists you think I’m missing?

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4 thoughts on “The 5 Types of Career Lists I Keep

  1. Hi, Hailley!
    I’m really loving this blog post. I’m definitely a list girl myself, so I can totally relate: I love keeping track of goals & more, they’ll also give me an overview of how far I’ve come in the future when I look back. I’m also keeping a list of career accomplishments and track my performance review. Something that I haven’t done before (but will start with asap) is a list of job descriptions. I can see this motivating me, helping me grow to achieve new skills, thank you for this idea!

    1. Hey, Natalie! Thank for reading! Good one with keeping track of goals, I keep those in a notebook but I definitely love having them around. Hope keeping a list of job descriptions ends up being helpful for you! :)

  2. I love this so much! I definitely am going to start doing this – I’ve been working to become more career-oriented and thinking about my career aspirationally. How often do you update these? Just as often as you see things? Would love to learn more about your lists in general and how you use them – and also – what apps you use! Thanks!

    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for reading! That’s a really good question. I try to update the career accomplishments list once a month; Performance reviews, people I admire, and companies I admire, as they happen; and for the job descriptions as I see them or if I need to use them for something (recently had to use them for writing my own growth plan) I’ll go digging around a little bit more. I keep all of these in Evernote but in general I use Todoist for to-do lists, absolutely love them! :)

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