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Create a career journal as part of your professional toolkit

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Back in elementary school, a typical activity in Language Arts was journaling. At that time, we were encouraged to write whatever came to mind and to let our creativity flow. Sometimes we wrote about what we learned in class, other times we wrote about excitement over an upcoming holiday. Regardless of what was in our journal, it was an activity that laid a good foundation for remembering and writing down our accomplishments.

Today, if you asked your friends, family, or co-workers if they regularly write in a journal, chances are they will say no. If they do, it may not be something they are diligent about or it may not have a purpose other than to be a place to pour one’s heart out to.

Journaling can be a really amazing career tool, if used with a purpose and a goal, and if used often.

Here are just a few ideas of what a career journal could be used for:

  • Keeping track of development opportunities and work milestones.
  • Contemplating issues you struggle with and how you might work through those.
  • Writing down project ideas or discoveries.
  • Taking notes on new tasks you’re learning so you can refer back to them later, if needed.
  • Writing practice to help you be a better communicator, both written and spoken.
  • Keeping a record of your overall career path so you can go back and read through your journey when you are getting ready to retire.

The beauty of having your own career journal is you can make it what you need it to be, depending on where you are in your profession. When you first start your career journal, you may simply use it to record things you are learning or taking part in. Eventually it may evolve into a place where you write down ideas, reflect on project outcomes and work experiences, or it may become a tool you go back to and read through to see how you have developed.

It can be a fun and rewarding experience to have a career journal and it’s even more enjoyable to have a written record of your career life to re-experience or even share with others.

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