Get The Raise Or Promotion You Deserve

    March 31, 2003

Do your annual performance reviews come and go with no particular recognition of the contributions to your organization? Start a work journal to track your performance. It’s similar to a diary in that you must keep it faithfully, week-by-week, if it’s to have any value to your career. It can be a comprehensive record of your achievements on the job as a paid employee and also your non-paid activities at work. It should be detailed enough to record your contributions to progress, productivity, efficiency, cost cutting, problem solving, etc.

It’s helpful not only to keep notes on what you have done, but also samples of your work. This, then, becomes the raw material for performance evaluation and for future resumes. If you keep a record of what you are doing as you do it, you will not have to spend hours tracking down the information when you need it the most.

A prospective employer is not likely to be impressed with a vague description of your contributions to the company that you wish to leave. If you can produce specific, detailed examples of your achievements, it’s far more impressive. In any stress situation, such as an interview or performance appraisal, it is vital to be so thoroughly prepared that you can recite your accomplishments without hesitation.

Once you have the job you targeted and are thinking about promotions and raises, you’ll find the work journal very handy. A common misconception is that the organization you work for has some kind of meaningful evaluation system, which keeps good records, notices your outstanding performance, and stands ready to reward you appropriately. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many performance appraisal systems – when they exist – are often vague, inaccurate, and/or in the hands of the people to whom your promotion may not be a benefit. These systems may tend to overlook or minimize many of your most important achievements. When review or promotion periods arrive, you could be overlooked for a variety of reasons, including political and social ones. If this happens too often, you may want to look for another job.

Everyone always seems to know about your failures, but few will know who had the initial idea, diagnosed the problem, developed the plan, cut costs, or resolved the problem. In other words, you are the only one who can tout your good works and you must do so. In order to do it, you need facts and figures.

Record every achievement, idea, report and activity. Every six months (even if you are reviewed only once a year and are not preparing a resume), look over this material and write up a one or two-page summary showing what you’ve contributed to the company. Start with a statement of your job objective and then support it with the same kind of statement-but new evidence-you used on your resume.

If you are up for a review, you will want to take along your version of events and give it to the reviewer. You may discover that, since no one else is as well prepared as you are, your version becomes the official version and ends up in your personnel file.

Louise Garver, CMP, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, MCDP, has assisted senior executives and management clients worldwide in all aspects of job search, interviewing and negotiations, development of resume and marketing letters, career transition and career management since 1985. President of Career Directions, LLC, she is an award-winning, published and certified career coach, professional resume writer, outplacement consultant and former corporate recruiter. For help in winning the career your deserve, visit

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