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Keeping a Work Journal

Journaling isn’t just for moody teens. Having a work journal where you reflect at the end of the day on what worked, what you could have done better, and other takeaways from the day, can help you get further with your career. It’s a simple practice that is easy to adopt and can be a beneficial endnote to your workday. Here are some practices to help you get started.

Questions to Ask

While you can certainly view the work journal as a way to write down your stream of consciousness, it can be helpful for some to have a point of reference for what to reflect on. Here are some questions that would be good to answer at the end of each day:

  • What is one takeaway or lesson you learned today?
  • Did you receive any compliments, kudos, or forms of appreciation at work today? If so, what was it?
  • What do you consider your top accomplishment of the day?
  • What could you have done better?
  • What is the top priority for tomorrow and how do you want to go into the day?

Additional Suggestions

If you had a particularly stressful day, you may find it helpful to vent and write out what you found so frustrating. It’s a safe space (since this is just for you) and can help you let go of those emotions so you don’t carry them into your personal life.

As you progress with your journaling you may also enjoy looking back specifically on the compliments/kudos (particularly when you didn’t have such a great day) and remind yourself that you are valued and appreciated at work. You may even want to start a separate section for this in your journal so it’s easy to reference when you need a quick morale boost!

In closing, journaling offers you a grounding moment at the end of your work day to reflect and capture the day’s events. It can help you pinpoint problems and illuminate what you may need to work on so you can get further in your career. It’s a simple practice so there are really no excuses not to give it a try. See how it works for you for a couple of weeks and change and adapt the questions to make it your own.

Keeping a Work Journal

Navigating the Rest of 2020

2020 hasn’t been the year most of us expected. COVID-19’s impact on everyone’s personal and professional lives has been unprecedented and unfortunately there’s still so much uncertainty about what lies ahead. So what can you do to try and stay as positive and grounded as possible through the remainder of the year? Here are some tips. 

Adopt a morning routine
Whether you work remotely or physically on the job site, having a morning routine can help set a positive tone for the day. In a previous blog we provided some suggestions for how to do this. A few good pointers would be to incorporate some kind of movement, a gratitude practice, even listening to positive music or a motivating podcast while you prepare for your work day or on your commute in to the office. 

Take each day as it comes
There is a quote that says: “Deal with things as they come, and not as you fear”. Always worrying about the worst possible outcome can leads to your body being in a fight or flight state. While in that state not only do you do things like raise cortisol levels, but when you make decisions based out of fear you don’t always make rational choices. Instead, take each day as it comes.

Focus on the positives 
While these are heavy and hard times for many, try to think about what brings you joy and focus on the positives. It may even be something as small as your morning cup of coffee but try and appreciate and focus on the good things in your life. You’ll likely find it’s more plentiful than you thought. 

Have a backup plan
While it’s important to take each day as it comes, it’s also smart to always be prepared. Have some things in place so if anything were to happen to your job or the health of you or a family member you have some steps in place as to how you would handle such an event. Having a backup plan can help you feel not only more prepared but calmer and more in control of the situation.

It’s been a tough year and unfortunately some tough times are still likely ahead. Be kind to yourself, focus on the positives in your life, and take each day as it comes.

Navigating the Rest of 2020

Updating Your Resume If You've Been Laid off Due to COVID-19

With the unemployment rate for July at 10.2%, a significant number of American’s jobs have been impacted from COVID-19. Many who had employment at the beginning of the year have since been furloughed or laid off entirely. For those that lost their job due to the pandemic, and are currently looking for a new role, there are some helpful suggestions on how to best update your resume to reflect the COVID-19 related layoff.

Step One

The first thing you will want to do, both on your resume and LinkedIn profile, is let hiring managers and recruiters know that your layoff was a direct impact of COVID-19. With so many others in the same situation, hiring managers will completely understand the circumstances. Explain that you’ve been actively looking for a role since being laid off and have continued to stay productive. If you need more resume tips, here is a recent article with some common resume mistakes you will want to avoid.

Step Two

On your resume, list what activities you’ve done since the layoff or furlough. Perhaps you used the time to focus on self-improvement, have done online courses to gain additional skills in your line of work, or have volunteered and given back to your community. Think about what might set you apart and how what you’ve focused on during this time will make you a better employee in the long run.

Step Three

Now is also the time to reach out to previous co-workers or managers asking them to be references. If they can give you an endorsement on LinkedIn that will go a long way as well. Here are some ways to successfully ask for a reference.

Unfortunately an unemployment gap due to COVID-19 has become all too common. Letting hiring managers know the layoff was due to COVID-19 is important as it shows them that you took initiative and stayed productive during your time out of work. Take this time to reach out to your network for references and endorsements and continue your job seeking efforts.

Updating Your Resume If You've Been Laid off Due to COVID-19

Writing Your Resume for the First Time

If you are a recent college or high school graduate – first off, congrats! While the excitement of graduating is fresh on your mind, the next step of beginning your career search post school may feel daunting. You may especially feel confused and a little unsure as to what to list on your resume if you don’t have much experience to speak of. In today’s blog we’ll provide some tips on what to have on your resume when you don’t have any professional experience so you can land that first professional role and begin your career!

List your name and contact information
At the top of every resume you should state your name, email and phone number. When listing your email make sure you have something professional. If you don’t already have a professional sounding email then create something new. Our suggestion is to keep it simple and stick to something around your name. You’ll also want to list your phone number so make sure to set up your voicemail message to something professional as well in case potential hiring managers call. On the same note, make sure your mailbox isn’t full so they are able to leave a message.

Resume summary
For those with no job history, it can be helpful to list a few sentences about yourself and your career goals. When writing your resume summary think of how you’d answer the question, “How would you describe your experience in one or two sentences?” and then use that answer for your resume summary. This is also a place to highlight things such as your organization or public speaking skills.

You’ll want to list what schools you graduated from, any certifications earned, and even classes you took that would be relevant to the job you are applying for. If you received any honors or awards while in school, this is the place to highlight those as well.

This is where things for those new to the job market can get tricky. Hiring managers will understand that, so for this area of your resume think outside the box. Perhaps it was working as a waiter during summer break, starting a small lawn mowing business in high school, or any volunteer work you did. It can be helpful to separate the information by categories as well: so volunteer experience in one section and any jobs you have held in another. If you don’t have any volunteering or part time jobs to list on your resume, think of school projects you’ve had that you’ve exceled at or any teams or clubs you belonged to and list those.

Additional Tips
After writing your resume our top tips are to take the time to edit, proofread, and have someone else check review for errors. Make sure the formatting and font is consistent and your experience is written in chronological order. Having a second set of eyes on your resume, either by a friend or family member, is always a good idea.

Beginning your professional career is an exciting time and writing your resume for the first time doesn’t need to be something you dread. With the above tips you’ll be well on your way to getting that first role!

Writing Your Resume for the First Time