The ABC’s of Resume Writing | “J” is for JOURNAL

J: Keep a career JOURNAL.

We’ve all been there. It’s time to update your resume. For some, this task is not terribly difficult, especially if you do not have a long career history, or you have been keeping your resume current throughout your career. But for those of you who have not taken the time to update your resume throughout your career, it could be a very trying task to recall information earlier in your career. So what do you do? Unless you have the mind of an elephant, you next best bet is to keep a career journal. Few job seekers do this because, let’s face it, it is a task that you have to keep up with month after month and year after year. But a career journal is an invaluable tool to help you document three key pieces of information useful for updating your resume.


The best way to capture your accomplishments is by writing out your “CAR” stories. CAR is an acronym that stands for Challenge, Action, and Results. The key here is to describe each challenge you were faced with, the actions that you took to meet each challenge, and the results of your actions. By writing out your accomplishments in this form, you will capture each accomplishment in its entirety. By keeping a journal, you can pick and choose from your accomplishments and tailor your resume to the position you are applying for.


Any position you apply for will suggest basic requirements and skills necessary to perform the job. Because you should always tailor your resume to the position you are applying for, you should keep a running list of all of the skills or competencies that you have expertise in. When it comes time to revise your resume, you can pull from your master of list of skills in your career journal.

Professional Development

Your career journal is a perfect way to document all of your professional development activities. From the one day course on time management, to the week-long workshop on accounting and finance, keeping track of your continuing education is very important and can help you quickly you recall the details necessary to update your resume. The important thing to remember is to include dates with each entry so that you can keep your professional development in chronological order and drop off older information as your career progresses.

So break away from the norm. Start keeping a career journal to track your accomplishments, competencies, and professional development activities. When it is time to update your resume, you’ll be glad you did.

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