Documentation and its Importance In Your Career

Evaluations and performance appraisals are part of everyone’s job.  Regardless of the type of job  you have, documenting all the important things you do will be essential when meeting with your supervisor for your performance evaluation.  These are done throughout the year several times or only once, depending on how your workplace handles it.  Even if the job that you have is merely a stepping stone toward another career or you are undecided on the career you would like to pursue, evaluations matter and tell a lot about your work ethic.  Therefore, it is important to be aware of documenting techniques and their importance.

Usually, prior to your performance evaluation, your supervisor will meet with you and give you the opportunity to share what you have been working on or any accomplishments you have fulfilled.  This presents an opportunity for you to highlight some of your milestones.  For this reason, it is very important to keep documentation of all the work you have done.  You do not want to be caught off guard and have very little to say.  Even when we do have some things to say, we may leave out some very important achievements.  At this point, everything counts!  These talking points are golden when they will help your supervisor decide what ratings to give you.

What forms of documentation should you keep?

Professional development: If you have attended any professional development trainings or workshops, keep the agenda or certificate you received as proof of your attendance. Keeping any follow up notes or work to show how you implemented key observations or new learned skills is a plus.

Emails: Emails serve as an important tool to demonstrate how others have found your work helpful.  You can keep thank you emails for something you did or an email that shows how you helped someone.  This is especially important for individuals who are in the customer service line of work.  Emails can also help you show how you have collaborated with a team or began an initiative at your work.

Planning techniques: Keep documentation of ways you plan. For teachers, this can include lesson plans or team building activities, and for business workers, this can include brainstorming ideas, lists, meeting minutes, etc.  This can be a point of discussion where you can demonstrate how you think things through prior to executing a plan.

Presentations: If you have made any presentations at conferences or meetings, be sure to note those.  You can simply make a list of the ones you have done along with dates.

Mentoring: If you have mentored someone or have a mentor, keep tabs on the accomplishments that you have gained through the experience.  This is a great way to show that you want to grow in your career skills and/or help others.

Collaboration: If you have formed a team, led a team, or been part of a team in your workplace that works together to improve the workplace or your line of work, keep tabs of the dates, purpose, and outcomes of these meetings. 


These are just a few forms of documentation you can keep to help you show all the work you have done.  Depending on your line of work, you can add others that fit your job description or preset yearly goals better.  The idea is for you to demonstrate your effectiveness in meeting your goals or accomplishments.  If your workplace does not require you to set any goals, be sure to make some!  This will show initiative in your part and a great work ethic.  As an added tip, keep all documentation in a binder and use tabs to separate your documentation.  Creating a table of contents and using clear protective sheets will make your binder look professional.  Documenting all these accomplishments or tasks may seem overwhelming, but they really only take a few minutes of your time and the outcome is well worth it.  Your supervisor will be impressed with all you have documented.  They will see that you are on top of things and took the initiative to keep track of all your accomplishments.  Your evaluations will serve as your ticket to your next career or promotion!


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