Start an Accomplishments Journal

Journals surrounding a laptop computer

Track Your Work Achievements to Get a Raise

When you want to get a raise, your boss needs to know you deserve it. She also needs to feel confident in her decision to increase your salary or promote you over other employees. It can be difficult to remember all that you do over several months or a year. An accomplishments journal can help you track your successes when it comes time to present them to your boss.

Throughout the year, jot down notes about:

  • Key projects you completed
  • Important contributions to team projects
  • Training you received
  • Improvements you made
  • Sales you made
  • Any of your ideas that were adopted by your team or company
  • Positive feedback you received from clients or decision makers
  • Tasks above and beyond your job description

Whenever possible, quantify the results of these activities by noting them in terms of time or money you saved your employer. For example, if you found a way to compile the quarterly report in nine hours instead of 10, you shaved 10 percent off the time it takes to do the report.

Logging your achievements regularly will make it easier to prepare for your performance evaluation or to update your resume when applying for a new position.

When to Use Your Accomplishments Journal

Think about timing before you try to get a raise or promotion, and keep in mind the cost of your recruitment and training. Your company probably spent about 20 percent of your annual salary to hire you, and your boss and co-workers spent time training you. Asking to leave your position too soon might not go over well, regardless of all the great successes in your accomplishments journal.

Every organization is different, so use your best judgement based on typical timelines for advancement in your company and position. If you aren’t sure, then ask your boss to clarify the company’s advancement tracks, and find out what you need to do to be considered for a raise or promotion in your next review.

How to Use Your Accomplishments Journal

  • Your boss doesn’t want to read an exhaustive list of everything you did over the past six months; she wants to know about your top three to five successes.
  • When you know you have a review coming up, pick out a few of your proudest achievements. Then type up an email or a document to share with your boss.
  • Present your accomplishments to your boss a week or two before your actual review meeting. This way she has all the information when she is deciding on salary increases.

3 Steps to Starting an Accomplishments Journal

  1. Choose your format. Your accomplishment journal doesn’t have to be fancy. You might use a paper notebook, an electronic document, or an app or notes function on your computer, tablet or phone.
    • Describe each accomplishment in detail.
    • Quantify the results of the achievement in terms of time saved, increased profitability, efficiency or other goals in line with your employer’s mission.
    • Keep track of other outcomes related to the accomplishment, such as new skills learned or improved team dynamics.
    • Highlight how your achievement addressed a challenge that needed to be resolved.
    • List any obstacles (time, resources, skills or knowledge gaps) that you had to overcome to resolve the issue.
    • Describe the steps you took to address the challenge as well as the results of your actions.
  2. Schedule time every week to review your calendar. Refer back to deadlines and meetings to jumpstart your memory. In place of a physical journal or document, you also could track achievements in your calendar program.
  3. Create a folder (for hard copies and/or electronically) to store your accomplishment journal, as well as certificates, awards and praise from supervisors, co-workers and clients.

Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by the National Endowment for Financial Education.