From my latest article at PsychologyToday.com
After my high school graduation I attended a couple semesters at a culinary arts school. It was a strange little satellite campus of a larger university, and it ultimately wasn’t a good fit. However, it planted the seed of an idea that I've now revisited over 15 years later. During orientation at culinary school each student was given a rigid blue plastic box—about the size of a 3-ring binder—filled with blank pages like a scrapbook. It was designed to be a professional development portfolio where we could store our resume, certificates of achievement, and anything else that would highlight our career accomplishments. In theory, it was a great concept to encourage us to develop a career mindset. But ultimately its high dork factor—the expectation that we would carry the blue box into job interviews—relegated mine to the thrift store donation bin.
Now that I’m in the position of helping people navigate their career exploration, I’ve tweaked the concept of the blue box into a comprehensive career journal. Valuable at every stage in one’s career, it’s a personalized notebook or binder where we store and explore all things career and personal-professional development. In this article I've included all of the general framework components of the career journal. While one might add folders for resumes and certificates of achievement, the primary goal is to conduct an in-depth exploration and inventory of a comprehensive range of career topics. Click here to read the career toolkit creation tips on my blog at Psychology Today.