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Track Your Way to the Top!

By Michelle Braun (1003 words)
Posted in Professional Development on September 12, 2014

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As long as lion’s have no historians, the victors shall always be portrayed as humans.


I’m reflecting on the first half of the year. I’m trying to be more mindful about my life – personally and professionally. The June/July timeframe seems like a good time to pause, contemplate, and assess where I am with my goals. This allows me to refocus my activities, so I can achieve my objectives, or recognize that it’s time to refine my resolutions.  I’m crystal clear on what my goals are because I wrote them down at the beginning of the year. I’m also keenly aware that I’ve been busy – oh so busy – since January. What I’m fuzzy on is exactly how I’ve been spending my time.  Do you ever get the rearview fuzzies like that?


Then it hits me:  I have become the person I despise most: a hypocrite. I have not been doing what I advise my clients to do: Track your accomplishments monthly.  


When people ask me to rewrite their resumes, I get excited.  You see, I love story-telling. And a well-written resume tells a person’s professional story. It shows the arc of their development – their learnings, their growth, and their successes. Most people have incredibly interesting careers and great anecdotes to share about their chosen profession. However, eliciting the tales of their accomplishments can sometimes be as gnarly as pulling out an abscessed tooth. Why? Because often people are so busy living their success stories, they forget to record the vignettes of their victories. 


There are no unsung heroes.


Take Sally Sue.

She was an accomplished mid-level manager, who wanted to take a position in a different department. One day, in the corporate cafeteria, she ended up in line with a Key Decision Maker in that department. She was offered an amazing opportunity to showcase her skills and success stories when the executive asked her what she’d been up to lately. However, she drew a blank and mumbled something bland like “The usual…”


When opportunity knocks to see if you’re ready for your next career adventure, it’s important to answer the door, and it’s even more critical to have a great greeting. To have good stories to tell, we need to keep track of them and review them regularly.


Take Briana.

She had worked at one company for 10 years, and wanted to experience life at another firm. She presented me with her resume, and it was sparse, factual, and dry – nothing like her true energetic personality.  When asked about her biggest success story in each role, initially she had difficulty recalling them. As we discussed her employment history, she casually mentioned that she had conceived and implemented a way to move clients from a bi-weekly forecasting method to a quarterly approach. This helped reduce travel and client meeting time significantly. It also allowed enough time to gather actionable data. Other Sales Executives at her firm learned about her Best Practice and implemented it themselves. It resulted in happier and more productive employees, along with more profitable and happier clients. Her Best Practice changed the way this firm did business. Initially, that wasn’t included in her resume because she’d forgotten about it – because it wasn’t written down anywhere.


Take Patrick.

His resume showed that he’d worked at an Import/Export firm for 7 years, and listed his title as Trader. When we did some digging, he told me that he started as a Meat Trader, and unexpectedly ended up running the entire division once he discovered and reported that his manager was embezzling from the firm. What a story! It has drama, conflict, integrity, managerial courage, leadership and a happy ending. Originally, it wasn’t even a bullet point on his resume- because he’d forgotten about it – because it wasn’t written down anywhere.


So, what’s YOUR professional story?

If you’re not able to answer that question immediately, it’s time to start tracking your successes each month. Then when Opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready to greet her, regale her with your career adventures and accomplishments, and easily persuade her that you are ready and able to tackle your next professional feat.



{#/pub/images/20140625161043_00MichelleCBraunPhotoLinkedIn.jpg}Written by Michelle BraunCEO, SuperStar Careers

Michelle is a results-driven leader who loves designing, developing and delivering training that enables people to become the best they can be. As the CEO of SuperStar Careers, she helps people maximize their potential and enjoy the careers of their dreams. Michelle has 18 years of global Human Resources experience with Fortune 100 companies, bachelor degrees in English and Communications from the University of Michigan, and a Masters degree in Education from the University of North Carolina. A true citizen of the world, Michelle spent her formative years in England and the United States.  She has also lived in Hong Kong and Japan.


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