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Monday Job Search Tip: "Rainy Day File"

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Here's something you can do for your career on Monday morning, even if you're really busy. Start a "rainy day file."

You know that email you got thanking you for completing that tough project? That kudo from a customer? That graphic or report you created that was so cool? No? Forgotten about it? Can't find it?

These items that mark your accomplishments at work can give you a lift on a rainy day, when your confidence is low.

But that's not the most important reason to keep them handy.

These items will be very useful next time you're in job search. This can be great material for your resume, elevator speech, LinkedIn profile and interview answers – or as confidence-builders for your own personal review right before an interview or networking meeting.

"But I'm going to be in this job for a long time." Maybe so – and over that long time you may forget your accomplishments. You don't want to be drawing a blank when your resume writer asks for details in a few years.

Today, start a file on your desktop and/or in your file drawer. At the end of every day, or whenever you remember, add notes about projects completed, problems solved, or even just significant progress made. And keep anything that makes you feel good about yourself professionally, even if it's just a quick message from a co-worker.

Now the last step, which involves thinking about something most of us prefer to ignore.

You will not be in your current job forever, your departure may not be by your own choice, and it may come as a complete surprise.

Layoffs happen, and most of us always think that our job will not be one of those affected. After all, our boss would have warned us, right? Wrong. How many times have you heard someone say "I should have seen that coming, but I didn't think it was going to be me!"

Make sure the contents of that file go home with you on a regular basis, and set up a folder there, too. If you're ever laid off – and if you're like most people you probably will not see it coming – you may not be given a chance to take any files out of your computer or desk.

Now, you're better prepared for a rainy day, whether it's just a blah Monday or a new phase in your career.

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