By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
The Value of Information Gathering
If a job opportunity comes to you, it is to your advantage to be ready to pursue that job. Doing a little extra information gathering ahead of time will help you fill out a detailed job application, include a particularly relevant class, or remind on eof your references pf when you worked together at a company. Since time may be of the essence when applying, this will help you meet that tight deadline with fewer headaches.
Gathering this information, which is really your career backstory, will help you to tell the story of your professional life consistently.
Your Work History
When filling out job applications, having a thorough list of where you worked and basic information about each job can come in handy. Depending on the application, you may be able to submit a resume alone and be done with it. Other companies may ask you for specific start and end dates for each role. They may even ask for contact information for your immediate manager and the organization itself.
To make filling out more thorough job applications a little easier, I suggest you create a spreadsheet including information for your previous workplaces for the past 10-15 years. Depending on what stage you are at in your career, decide how many years of work experience it makes sense for you to gather.
Make sure to compile this information for each role:
While you’re busy gathering information, you may want to note these items as well:
Your Education and Professional Development History
Employers like to have assurances that a given candidate really has the knowledge, skills, and abilities they claim to have. This is why it’s helpful to list the classes you’ve taken, groups you’ve joined, certification tests you’ve passed, and degrees you’ve completed. Having this type of external validation for your skill set adds to your credibility.
To customize your resume and make filling out a detailed job application easier, I suggest you create a spreadsheet to list the formalized ways you continue learning and growing.
I list my college degrees, Association of Talent Development (ATD) membership, a business analysis class I took, a vendor-specific train-the-trainer course I attended, and a few technical certifications.
Here are the core details to gather on each line item:
Keep in mind that this list is intended to accommodate everything from a 1-hour seminar you took once upon a time on sales prospecting all the way to an advanced degree. You may want to make separate lists for different activity types. Use the format that works best for you.
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.