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The Right Way to Archive Career History

Close-up of a resume with pen and glasses on the table.

Last week, a friend encouraged me to submit my resume to a nonprofit organization. She told me its executive director began searching for a new grant writer. Years ago, I would have dreaded the burden of updating my resume, but I was ready for it last week.

See, I used to think a resume was a "dump" for all of my work and educational experience. The more experience I had, the more pages I needed to capture it all. So, I turned in these four- to five-page resumes when I applied for jobs.

Ten years ago, I picked up a helpful tip about archiving my career-related history. Credit for this tip goes to the good people at "Manager Tools."

I learned resumes should not be a one-stop document for dumping anything and everything career related. Instead, I discovered how the use of a wholly separate document was better for capturing and archiving all of my career experience. Then, using the data from that one document made it easier for building a resume customized to a specific job opportunity.

How to Archive Your Career History

It’s easy to get started. If you’ve got a resume already, simply copy and paste it into a new word processing document like Word or Pages. If not, create a new document anyway. Name it something like "Career History Sheet" or something else you prefer. Save it somewhere easy to access. I store mine in my Dropbox account. Now, it is ready for capturing any and all work experience, volunteer experience, and educational experience.

Remember, this document is meant for your eyes, or ears, only. Do not use it as your resume.

What to Capture

Capture all of your career-related experiences in your new career history sheet. Over time, it will grow into a valuable career archive.

I enter the newest info at the top of the sheet, so as I scroll down the page, my oldest experiences can be reviewed as I get to the end of the document.

Type your work experiences. For example, type the dates, places, job positions, job responsibilities, and any accomplishments. Do this for each of the jobs you have held.

Work Experience Example

Here’s a fictional work experience example:

Work tenure: January 2014 to May 2016

Company: Office System Professionals

Contact: Jane Smith, Vice President - Sales Phone: (555) 555-5555

Job title: Sales Associate


Schedule sales appointments. Conduct sales presentations. Identify customer needs. Offer value-added products and services. Maintain customer files through data management system. Promote customer retention. Provide monthly sales reports to management.


Increased sales revenues by 35% from January 2014 to January 2015. Earned four Salesperson of the Month Awards during tenure. Increased customer retention by 65% by creating an online survey.

The above example represents a basic format for capturing your data. Modify it for your own needs and preferences. Follow this kind of example for volunteer experience and educational experience too.

By the way, capturing your college work is important. But, do remember to make a record of other educational courses or seminars you complete too.

Be sure to record any of your assistive technology training as well. If you spend a day or two learning JAWS or OpenBook down at your local Lighthouse, record it.

How to Use It

The career history sheet you create for yourself is a living document. Update it when jobs change, when you volunteer your time, and when your education and training grows. Review and edit it on a consistent basis.

The information in your career history sheet makes it easier to customize resumes for specific job positions. It will provide you all the content you need to create one that is sharp, concise, and no longer than a page or two. Pick the most relevant experience to create an effective resume that best matches the job position for which you are applying.

For instance, I worked for a car dealership after high school. I drove cars around the car lot for the service department. I would not place that info on my resume if I intended to apply for an executive director position at a nonprofit agency though.

Are those groans I hear?

Yes, I know this creates more work for you to do. I’ll admit it was tough for me to get this started, but it’s been easier to manage my career information and to respond quickly to job opportunities.

Believing a resume is the place to archive career history becomes a headache for you and the people who review your resume. The enormous amount of info that gets jammed into them is a turn off to recruiters and hiring managers.

Creating a single document to archive career history is a smarter, more effective option. Think of your career history sheet as a running story and think of your resume as highlights of that incredible story.

Do you have questions? Do you do something like this already? Click on the comment button and let me know!

Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Planning for the Future
Social Skills

New Article Subsides Your Apprehensions About Working Alongside an Employee Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

You’re considering hiring an individual who is blind or visually impaired, or there’s a new hire who has a visual impairment at your workplace. You’re concerned and sweaty-palmed—and that’s an understatement. We hear you—you’ve likely no familiarity with people who have vision loss—and we are thankful that in lieu of allowing inexperience and hesitation to dictate your verdict, you are in search of knowledge. We’re here to educate you and address your reservations, which we’re confident will subside your apprehensions.

Your Possible Concerns and the Article Addressing Them

If you’re like most, the questions you have include:

  • What is a visual impairment?
  • How should I act around an individual with a visual impairment?
  • Will the individual require increased supervision?
  • Can an individual who is blind complete the essential job functions?
  • How expensive are his accommodations?
  • Is the individual a liability?
  • Can we communicate effectively?

To answer these questions and many more, CareerConnect has created the article Learning About Blindness: Interacting with a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired in the Workforce. Read it to gain an understanding that people who are blind are far more similar to people who are sighted than different and that people who are blind or visually impaired are capable of tremendous workplace success.

Meet Successful Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Need a few examples? No problem. Browse CareerConnect’s Our Stories section, which highlights individuals who are blind or visually impaired working in a variety of industries—from health care and culinary arts to business, law, technology, and engineering.

It’s clear—blindness doesn’t impede workplace success.

Additional Resources of Interest to Employers

Statistical Snapshots on Blindness from the American Foundation for the Blind

Glossary of Eye Conditions

What You Need to Know About Hiring a Person with a Visual Impairment (#InclusionWorks)

Tips for Working with an Employee, Employer, Coworker, or Client Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired and has Multiple Disabilities

Common Job Accommodation Questions and Their Answers for Employees with Visual Impairments and Their Employers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from Job Seekers and Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Online Tools
Planning for the Future

Considering the Pursuit of a Degree? New Article Addresses the Impact of College on Employment Rates and Earnings

two young women in graduation caps and gowns, holding degrees

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I recognize you have a weighty decision upon your shoulders—do you or do you not pursue a postsecondary education to include a vocational/trade school or traditional college? Perhaps you’re soon to complete high school and you have the "work vs. additional school" choice on the horizon. Or maybe you went straight to the workforce after high school and you wonder if now is the time for a degree. Regardless, as you are aware, the decision isn’t "one size fits all" and depends on your career goals. To help you make a wise decision, might I suggest an investigation?

Investigate the Effect of a Degree, Made Easy Using New Article

Begin by investigating the research-based impact of a college degree, including a trade school certificate or diploma. Good news—CareerConnect has made this easy! Our newest resource is a compilation of data exploring how a college degree impacts employment rates and earnings, which you can find here: "How Does a College Degree Impact Your Working Future If You Are Blind or Have Low Vision?"

You’ll find that obtaining a degree or postsecondary diploma of any sort decreases your chance of unemployment and (in general) increases your earnings potential.

Investigate Your Desired Career Field

Next, to help you determine a specific career field and the appropriate degree or diploma for your goal, utilize the following resources:

As you investigate your employment options and pursue a degree, know that CareerConnect is here to support you on your journey.

Additional Resources to Help You Have a Successful College Experience

Counting Down to Graduation: March, Furthering Your Education

Are You Prepared to Succeed in College as a Student Who Is Visually Impaired?

Rights and Responsibilities as a College Student with Vision Loss

Planning for the Future

Combating the Holiday Blues When You Have a Visual Impairment

It’s assumed the winter holidays are merry and bright and for many this is true; however, during particular years, the holidays can be a lonesome, unremarkable season. During especially rough seasons of life or after great loss, the holidays can be downright agonizing.

And so, I ask us to look ahead and consider this holiday season. Is it likely to be bursting with laughter, music, festivities, and family memories in the making? Or is it likely to be one wrought with ache?

If you are anticipating either a solitary or sorrowful holiday season, I think it’s wise to both acknowledge your emotions and to plan for a meaningful holiday season.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Perhaps you’re feeling down because you’re living far from family, you recently moved and have yet to establish new friendships, finances are particularly tight and you’re stressed, or you recently lost a loved one, and this is a painful season. Identify your emotions.

If, on the other hand, you realize you’re consistently feeling defeated and these holiday blues are a magnification of your daily depression, it’s time to seek help. You see, according to a JAMA Ophthalmology study in May 2013, there is an increase in depression in adults with functional vision loss. I don’t state the increased risk to instill fear but to remind us to pay attention to our thought life. Emotions wax and wane and circumstances will affect our moods, but chronic symptoms of depression should be identified and a plan of healing must be undertaken.

Here’s your plan of attack:

Plan a Meaningful Holiday Season

We just discussed how to handle chronic depression, now let’s talk holiday blues.

Consider ahead of time how you can create a special holiday season. You might be far from family or friends, be on a tight budget, or be experiencing the first holiday without a loved one, but what can you do despite your circumstances? Here are a few options.

  • Plan to volunteer. Maybe you can wrap presents at a local foster care agency, serve food at a homeless shelter, or play music at a retirement home. Giving our time and talents to others is a balm to the soul. The key here is planning the volunteer service now!
  • Attend a holiday performance. Look now for tickets to a local holiday play, children’s theater or choir production, a church play, an orchestra show, a concert, or a movie.
  • Take a trip. By yourself or with a loved one or friend, explore an unfamiliar city, theme park, or outdoor adventure and make new memories.
  • Plan or attend a holiday celebration with your coworkers or fellow hobby friends.

Take initiative and create a few good memories. It may be a challenging season, but the emptiness can create space for new happenings.

Related Resources

Holiday Travel Ideas and Tips for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

How to Avoid Those Holiday Blues

Personal Stories: Living with Vision Loss

Planning for the Future

Workplace Holiday Parties: You’ll Need These Independent Living Skills as an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Successful employment and sound independent living skills unquestionably go hand in hand—if we’re dressed noticeably sharp for work, if we have reliable transportation to and from the office, and if we are consistently on time and prepared for work meetings, we are setting ourselves up for maintaining and advancing in our career. These are the more obvious independent living skills that are work-applicable; what about the independent living skills on display during the holiday season? Wouldn’t it be wise to identify and fine-tune them ahead of time, ensuring they are ready to be confidently utilized during a workplace holiday party, get-together, or potluck?

I created a list of independent living skills routinely needed for holiday work parties, and I hope you’ll note additional skills to consider in the comments section.

Personal Care

  • If you’re heading to a work-related dinner or party, it’ll call for investigating and respecting the perhaps-unspoken dress code. If the party is at an upscale restaurant, elegant attire is obviously a must; if it’s an "ugly sweater" event, shop for or borrow a tacky holiday sweater; otherwise, ask coworkers what they plan to wear and choose an outfit at least as formal as what you hear. Most importantly, plan an outfit ahead of time to ensure it is not only appropriate to the formality of the event, but also well fitted, comfortable, clean, wrinkle-free, and passes a visual inspection from a friend or family member. Keep in mind many holiday party-goers modestly wear traditional holiday colors; some ladies choose to incorporate velvet or even add a bit of sparkle to their outfits. To help you choose an outfit, read about dressing fashionably as an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
  • Even ladies who don’t routinely wear makeup may opt to wear it for a formal or festive event. Read about applying makeup as a visually impaired person.

Kitchen Skills

Gift Giving

The torso of a man wearing a suit, holding gift wrapped box with a big red ribbon
  • Well in advance of the get-together, find out if the workplace community gives gifts to each other and/or if there is a gift exchange game or traditional "white elephant" game. If playing a traditional white elephant game, wrap a silly or infrequently used household item you already own. Otherwise, if you’re participating in a formal gift exchange, you’ll want to utilize the skills needed to shop as a visually impaired person.
  • When it comes to wrapping and labeling gifts, take some hints from the article, Gift Wrapping Organization.
  • If you’re presenting holiday cards to your coworkers, you can order personalized cards and deliver them as-is or simply sign a traditional holiday card with a bold marker or with your name in braille. If you’re feeling particularly crafty or want to create a conversation starter, you may also want to consider incorporating a braille design for a memorable touch. Paths of Literacy describes using braille to create holiday designs such as a tree or candy cane.

Party Tips

  • If you’ve received an invitation to a holiday gathering and you’re sweating, it’s important to accept the invitation and prepare for the party! Read the article to gather specific advice for preparing for a workplace party.
  • Try to socialize with a number of individuals and groups at the affair; ask a coworker or friend who is present, introduce yourself to new folks, ask questions, and look for common ground.
  • If your regular transportation is unavailable, plan your transportation to and from the event ahead of time. You may want to use Uber.

Take the time to prepare for the party—it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to connect with the employment team and bond with your coworkers.

Additional Resources

Roll the Final Credits: Recap of CareerConnect’s Employment Advice Adapted from Holiday Films

That’s a Wrap: Recap of the AFB’s Top 10 Holiday Hits for Career Minded Job Seekers who are Blind or Visually Impaired

That’s a Wrap: Recap of the AFB’s Top 10 Holiday Hits for Career Minded Job Seekers who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Getting Around
Low Vision
Planning for the Future
Social Skills