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.
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?