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Career Coach

Recording Dates

Published October 29, 2014 3:11 PM by Renee Dahring

Time flies and memory fades. Remember that Seinfeld episode where the character lost one old piece of information in order to make room for every new piece of information learned? At least I think it was Seinfeld, I can't remember for sure...

I'm sure you have all had the experience of filling out a job application and found yourself struggling to recall specific dates. Most of us can remember an event, but recalling the date the event occurred is another matter entirely. I know I do.

Over the years, I have served on a number of committees, boards and special projects. Sometimes I can recall where we met and what was accomplished, but seldom can I give you accurate dates for when I participated in these activities. I can also tell you the names of many interesting people I have met or worked with at one time or another, but don't ask me the year we first met - true even for close friends, as well as more casual work associates.     

Normally this isn't a big deal, unless you are filling out a job application or providing a list of references. Dates are very important when applying for a job. Lack of dates can be a red flag and citing incorrect dates can make you appear dishonest. You also want to receive credit for your past leadership roles and activities but that can't happen if you don't remember all of them. 

Here is a tip to help you stay organized. Create a log. Go to your computer and open a word document and give a name like "work related accomplishments." List everything you can remember doing that is above and beyond your basic work duties. Don't worry about dates for the past activities for now, just get as much of what you do remember recorded. Once you remember or locate the dates you can add them.   

From this point forward, add an entry for each new activity as they occur. For instance: if you are asked to be a preceptor this month, go to the document and add an entry that says "preceptor for Sally Student from United College." It doesn't have to be pretty; this list is just for you. 

The next time you need this information, it will be readily available. As an added measure, you may want to keep a copy on one of the cloud servers (Google drive, iCloud, etc.) so it is accessible from anywhere and immune to computer crashes.

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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