Career Documentation

The longer your career goes on, the more difficult it is to remember the things you’ve accomplished. Occasionally it’s a challenge simply remembering what you did last week.

Like software, you need to document your career. When it comes to performance evaluations:

  • You don’t remember what you’ve done
  • Your manager doesn’t remember what you’ve done

Your first piece of documentation should be what Julia Evans calls a Brag Document. It’s a document outlining what you’ve done, both technical and non-technical. Scheduling a half-hour every two weeks to update your brag document should be frequent enough that you don’t forget your accomplishments. Julie states that this document will grow to 5 to ten pages long over the year.

Next, create a Career Management Document (CMD) from your brag document. The CMD is a resume on steroids. List your jobs, supervisors, and dates of employment, and even your salary since it’s a private document. Every quarter or so, summarize the contents of your brag document and add the highlights here.

(You can learn more about the Career Management Document in the Manager Tools podcast episode on Systematic Career Documentation.)

The Career Management Document is the source for resumes tailored to individual applications when you enter the job market again.

Finally, the last document to create is a FAB. These are Facts, Accomplishments, and Benefits. Some consulting companies use this format to connect their consultants and clients. Resumes often don’t quite hit the mark for consultancies.

Facts describe what experience you have. (e.g., eight years of experience as a software developer.)

Accomplishments are the specific results of the Facts. (e.g., Rolled out a new system that generated 10% annual cost savings.)

Benefits turn the Facts into examples of what you can do for your new company. (e.g., I discover places where software automation reduces costs.)

The FAB document is beneficial in preparation for interviews. It allows you to remember what you’ve done in your career and how that benefits the potential new employer.

Written on January 13, 2021