Have You Done Your Work History Yet?

Have you done your Work History yet?

If not why not?

Unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it, Federal, State and many other job applications need a lot of detail about you, when you are applying for a job. I know that Maine’s are almost onerous and the Federal Government application is not easy to do quickly, so sooner or later you have to put together your work history.

If you have the work history completed, you are not under as much pressure if you suddenly need to complete an application done quickly (today) and then end up doing the typical half-assed job that doing something too quickly ends up being.

This happened to me when I submitted my Federal Resume for a Veteran’s Service Representative position that opened with a 3 day window. I learned about the announcement on day 2, the first day that I started this process. My application then definitely was not the quality that it would be today. To be honest I was not ready for that application and when I look at it now, it needed a lot more work to be a quality application.

I am still job searching, so you can tell what the reviewers thought of my submission ;-).  Actually they cancelled the vacancy announcement, so I am hopeful that it will open again soon.

When are you going to start working on your job history?

I know we are all busy and there is a lot of background work that you need to do to put together your work history correctly. Especially if you want to make sure that you are capturing ALL of your experience, not just the stuff you remember off the top of your head.


So I spent this morning and most of the afternoon updating and piecing together my work history again. This meant going through all the below resources:

  • You need to go back through your old evaluations, which are fantastic source documents to remember your many collateral duties and projects that you completed and have forgotten about.
  • Look at your DD214 and training certificates (you kept all of them – right).
  • Letters of recommendation for OCS, The Service Academy (when you were a lot younger), service schools or  promotion board recommendations – they all have a lot of the things you did that you can put into and are things that upper management (senior leadership) thought was important enough to put into your recommendation – even if you might have written the first draft yourself.
  • In your medals or awards – the narratives, which have projects, accomplishments and details that you were commended for. If they were important then, they sure could be important now. Especially if under the FOIA you requested copies of all your service records – they give you copies of the actual Award Recommendation, which has a wealth of information about what others thought that you did and you can put into your work history.
  • Any Job descriptions that you kept a copy of .
  • Vacancy announcements or newspaper ads for jobs you applied for and got.
  • Any other documents you have that will help you remember what you have done professionally and help to document that you actually did the work you are claiming that you did. It is still nice to have supporting documentation available if someone is in awe of all the stuff you have done and tries to say that you couldn’t possibly have done all that you claim.
There were a lot of memories re-lived today – a lot of smiles, a few shakes of my head, a couple of grimaces, but I also came out this exercise more confident in my abilities than I was before. I got to see a lot information about who I am professionally, along with projects and accomplishments that I have done over the years and what others thought of my abilities. Sometimes we forget how much we have done and how well we did those things.
Luckily I am fairly well organized and have all of this information in 3 ring binders and it was easy for me to find – I am not bragging, it is  just my background as an Admin type and who learned the hard way that having paper around is important to cover your a$$ if necessary. Unfortunately, if you have this stuff hidden away in boxes in the attic or threw everything out, you will have a lot more work ahead of you to get this information. You might even get to know your rights under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

31 Pages

My military and civilian professional life since 1975 has now been distilled down into 31 pages of bulleted accomplishments.
Looking back – I have done a crap load of stuff and you know something else – I was pretty darn good at it.

Now What?

Now what will do with this gold mine of information?
  • It will make writing resumes a lot easier to find targeted accomplishments and I can copy/paste from my work history to my résumé and edit the accomplishment to meet that targeted resume’s professional needs. Instead of relying on my memory and re-creating or re-using the same information over and over again.
  • Federal and State job applications are famous for the level of detail that they require (the State of Maine’s requirements can be daunting), but if you already have 90% of the work done – they are a lot easier, especially if there is a time crunch.
  • When sitting down with your VA Counselor, Career Center Counselor, Job Coach, Mentor, Networking or anyone else who wants to help you, if you have put this in your traveling portfolio, they will have a better understanding of what you have done, what you are capable of doing and they can help you more quickly.
Now I don’t give my work history out for general distribution, I treat them as for personal use only, because not everything is applicable to all potential employers.
The reality is that having your work history done when you have the time to do it right can and probably will save you time in the long run. It might also be the difference between a quality resume and a so-so one which is ignored.
So I will close by asking:
Have YOU done your work history yet?
If you are interested in my qualifications and experience, please read my About Me page, go to my LinkedIn account, read my other blog “A Veteran Runnah” or better yet ask me by contacting me directly – by clicking here.

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