Before the guys start stressing, I’d like to make it clear that I am talking about a journal, NOT a diary.
Your journal is for documenting life events, training, promotions, day hired, day resigned, starting pay, ending pay and so on. It also doesn’t have to be a physical journal. You can have a digital one on your computer. Just make sure you have it backed up. What your journal does is keep track of things you will probably forget. Knowing these things will help you at some point in the future especially when applying for a job.
Have you ever seen an FBI application? How about just a regular law enforcement application? By the time you finish filling out one of those applications you are going to feel as if every mistake you’ve ever made has been written down on paper for someone else to judge. But it’s not enough just to say something happened they will want the date it happened also. Do you remember when you got a speeding ticket? Do you remember where that happened? Do you remember when you moved to your current address and how long you were at the previous address? Do you remember the names of all your bosses? The amount of information they want is crazy and they aren’t the only ones. Plenty of other businesses do the same thing.
Then there’s the information that helps your chances of being selected for the job or a promotion. Did you take a training class at some point in your life that would be considered a benefit for the spot you are trying to get? Did you take debate or are you a member of the chess club? If so, how long were you in these programs? Most applications have either a place to list extra training or at the very least an additional information section. They may not seem like big deals to you but they could easily be the thing that tips the odds in your favor. It will be a little bit hard at first since you are still in school and don’t have a lot of life events to write down but as you get older and have a chance to do more things you will have a lot more in your journal to choose from.
It’s not totally unacceptable to guess at some things or leave information out but be aware, blanks or things that don’t match up when they are looked into can raise red flags for the company looking to hire you. It could hurt you enough to give someone else the edge and ultimately, the job.
As an added note, I even keep my medical information in a journal. Doctors are always asking “when”. Keeping track can save me from a lot of aggravation. I regret that I didn’t realize the value of keeping a journal until I was well into being an adult. It could have helped me with so much.