Alumna Spotight: Paula Novacki, `14
Ever wondered what life after graduation will look like? Meet Paula Novacki!
As a young professional, are you familiar with the concept of building your own "highlight reel"? To be honest, I cringe at the thought of sharing my own news and accomplishments, so I understand that this idea may sound strange (or even uncomfortable). Here's what I mean. Do you have a running list of significant accomplishments or concrete examples of how you brought value to a project or your organization?
In situations like performance reviews, salary negotiations, or resume edits, you often need to communicate your strengths and wins briefly and clearly. Instead of thinking back months or even years, keeping a record will enable you to have the information you need on hand.
Why is it helpful to maintain a running list? In the context of your day-to-day work, it is easy to move on to the next agenda item and not take note of what makes you a valuable asset to the team. If a supervisor or colleague praises you, be sure to record that information in an easily accessible format. You may even want to save any applicable emails or memos -- anything that helps you remember the details and convey them in the future. A Google doc or sheet or an Evernote list (my personal favorite) are simple and free options for storing these details.
Your "highlight reel" is different from a portfolio in that the successes you list may not be visual or tangible, but they yield measurable results. In fact, many resume experts emphasize the importance of giving action-based examples on your resume. For example, instead of simply listing your tasks and areas of responsibility, experts suggest sharing actionable items such as how you increased revenue, cut expenses or increased reach on social media platforms. Be sure to keep track of these victories, no matter how small.
In short, your career achievements deserve to be celebrated...and written down!
Brooks Hearn is a two-time graduate of the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2007 and her Master of Public Administration in 2009. Brooks now resides in Summerville, SC and currently serves on the Young Alumni Council.