The definition of journaling is to keep a personal record of experiences and occurrences. It is a reflection-focused expression of thoughts and feelings on various topics. Maybe you kept a diary that documented your thoughts as a child, a food journal for dietary needs, an exercise journal for sports & strength training, or a travel diary. At some point in our lives, we have all journaled about something that was meaningful to us at the time. But career journaling can also be used as a tool in your resume writing, career coaching, job interview preparation, career campaign, and overall job search. Here are some tips for leveraging career journaling throughout your career and how to use it to your advantage when conducting a job search.
1. Start Journaling Today…
✅ Whether you are in the midst of a career transition or perfectly happy at your job, start journaling now. By documenting your experiences at work in detail and showcasing your positivity in the moment, you will be compiling valuable information that can be integrated into your resume and LinkedIn profile in the near future.
✅ This will help to put a positive spin on the content that goes into your resume and LinkedIn profile because you will be coming from a position of strength and positivity rather than weakness and negativity. You will be focusing on important achievements that can be leveraged in your next job.
✅ If you are just beginning your career journal today, don’t be afraid to create some placeholders for yourself to write about what you have done in the past. Journaling doesn’t always have to be about the present moment. It can also be a tool for you to write about your past career experiences and identify your professional growth over the years. Once you start writing down some of your thoughts and reflecting on your career, things you find value in will start to emerge and it will help you navigate your next steps in your career.
2. What Enters the Journal, Should NOT Stay in the Journal!
✅ I know! That goes against everything you know about journaling. But when it comes to your career, a journal can be a very powerful tool that you can leverage. I always coach my clients on keeping the most detailed records as possible when it comes to writing down their achievements in a journal. When you start with a blank slate, you can elaborate on anything and everything–good and bad.
✅ The purpose of a career journal is to show you what you place a high value on, what your career goals are, and how those values and goals fit into your life overall so you can attain a meaningful and satisfying career.
3. Preparing for an Interview? Start with Your Journal…
✅ If you are at the job interview stage of your job search, look back in your journal to get ideas on your professional value and what you accomplished throughout your career. This will help you when developing SMART stories for your interviews and discussing your unique value proposition.
✅ If you are currently interviewing now, document how you feel and what you experience during your job interviews. Were you nervous? If so, why? Did you hit the ball out of the park on that one? If so, what made the interview go well? This will help you to identify patterns in your interview performance and help you determine what areas you can work on to develop your interview skills.
4. Commonality in Your Career
✅ Assess the content of your journaling and look for patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about your career. Do you see any commonalities in your career trajectory and how you continued your upward mobility within each job or company? Do you see what you liked and disliked about a job, company, or manager? What challenges did you love about the job? How did you feel about your overall growth at this company?
✅ When you identify patterns of what you find value in and what you like about a specific job, company, or manager, it will help you target the right company in the future that aligns with your values. When you can identify the negatives and things you did not respond well to in a job or at a specific company, it will help you to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
✪ When you experience all of those same feelings from your written words on the page, it will bring you right back to that moment. It will conjure up positive images and feelings about your career, achievements, job interview performance, or anything notable that happened to you.
✪ If you are working with a Career Coach, you can definitely use your journal as a starting point for your coaching sessions.
✪ If you are working with a Resume Writer or LinkedIn Expert, you can use your journal as a jumping off point for compiling relevant content that can be used in your resume or LinkedIn profile.
✪ If you are going it alone, your career journal will help you figure out what motivates you and what inspires you in your career. It will also help you pinpoint the types of jobs and companies that you want to target in the future. This will help you to have a meaningful career that fuels your passion for making an impact and continuing to grow professionally. Never underestimate the power of the written word in your journal because it is the compass for your next greatest career accomplishment.