Files in BoxesWhen it comes to managing your career, you likely have a lot of information to deal with. All the information on your professional training may be in one file, completely separate from the information on your references. Just locating everything you need can add an hour to any career management task or project you work on — a time sink that’s repeated with each new one you embark on (e.g., filling out an online job application or career profile, completing federal background investigation forms, etc.). The problem is that you just may not have an easy way of managing such a wide variety of raw information.

The Career Vault is a tool that can help you bring all of that information together. It provides you with a place to store a variety of information about your career, from the standard resume fodder to your plans and strategy for your future. Once you’ve added your information, keeping it up-to-date is relatively easy. It’s just a matter of adding what you’ve been up to lately: setting aside a few minutes to update the Career Vault every month or two can cut hours from the time it takes you to create new career marketing materials or bring an adviser up to speed on your background. As a communications medium, Career Vault makes it easier to outsource career-related tasks and projects to virtual assistants and career management service providers.

To make using the Career Vault as simple as possible to use, it’s divided into a series of tabs. Each tab focuses on a specific area of your career: it provides you with fields to fill in with your own career information. The tabs include the following:

Strategy and Marketing: This section helps you track your goals, personal brand, and other details related to your future career plans.

Strategy and Marketing

Strategy and Marketing

Contact Information: In addition to helping you put together basic contact information, this section provides a place to set out details like your availability.

Contact Info

Contact Info

Biodata: As some jobs require you to provide statistics like your height and weight, you can record them in the biodata section.

Biodata

Biodata

Experience: While resumes only give you space for a broad description of your experience, many other career marketing materials require an in-depth description. The experience section provides you a place to create such a description. (Note: there’s room to the right to include more detailed descriptions for the company, industry, LoB, sub LoB, and group, if need be.)

Experience

Experience

Target Job: This section will help you bring together a picture of your target job, setting down the answers to questions like your desired salary.

Target Job

Target Job

Education: The education section is actually the first of several sections covering training and your other educational opportunities. This section specifically covers the information about your formal education and degrees obtained.

Education

Education

Affiliations: Your memberships and affiliations are an important part of your career information and constitute a section of their own.

Affiliations

Affiliations

Honors and Awards: In this section, you can record awards from an academic, professional, or other setting.

Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

Coursework: The coursework section offers you a change to set out the specific courses you’ve taken that are relevant to your career.

Coursework

Coursework

Professional Training: The professional training that you’ve received in your career has its own section.

Professional Training

Professional Training

Conferences: With the conferences section, you can create a comprehensive list of conferences and seminars you’ve attended.

Conferences

Conferences

Skills: In this section, you can describe specific job skills as well as your personal strengths.

Skills

Skills

Knowledge: If you have specialized knowledge within your industry, you can record it in the knowledge section.

Knowledge

Knowledge

Talents: The talents section is not necessarily limited to your career. You can also use it to record those things that you are passionate about and have a talent for.

Talents

Talents

Capabilities: Your capabilities, or areas of specialty, can be a combination of skills, knowledge, and talent.

Capabilities

Capabilities

Languages: You can record any languages you speak beyond your native tongue in the languages section, along with your proficiency.

Languages

Languages

Certifications: The certification section can be used to record your professional licenses and certifications.

Certifications

Certifications

Grants: If you’ve conducted academic or professional research, you can note the grants you’ve received in this section.

Grants

Grants

Publications: Any publications that you’ve created or contributed to belong in the publications section.

Publications

Publications

Presentations: If you’ve prepared and delivered any formal presentations, list them in the presentations section.

Presentations

Presentations

Media Appearances: If you’ve made any media appearances — such as TV, radio, print, podcast, or online video — list them here.

Media Appearances

Media Appearances

Testimonials: The testimonial section is for commendations of any kind, from your job performance reviews to LinkedIn “recommendations.”

Testimonials

Testimonials

References: Adding individuals to the references section who are willing to vouch for you can create a list you can use in a variety of career management projects.

References

References

Addresses: In order to ensure that you have all the addresses you reference throughout the Career Vault, you can create a list of them in the addresses section.

Addresses

Addresses

Misc.: The misc. section provide a home for such information as military records, security clearances, and personal interests.

Misc.

Misc.

Help Improve Career Vault

The original impetus behind Career Vault was coming up with a communication medium to make it easier to outsource career-related tasks and projects to virtual assistants and career management service providers. But it obviously serves as a useful tool for simply managing and keeping your career information up-to-date, as articulated above.

A good amount of work was put into creating the initial version of Career Vault, and hopefully that’s reflected in its utility. But more can be done to improve it in its current format. And that’s where you come in. Please, openly and freely share your feedback and thoughts on what you do and don’t like and how you think Career Vault could be improved. To get your motors running, here are some ideas that I have:

  • Ideal job description
  • Benefits requirements
  • Job search keywords
  • Metatags or descriptors

Career Vault as a Web-based Application?

Now, if it appears that there’s a lot interest in Career Vault based on your feedback and uptake, then at some point I’ll turn it into a web-based application. But before I do that, I’d like to hear your answers to the following questions:

  1. Would you use Career Vault to store and manage your holistic career information?
  2. Would you see a web-based version of Career Vault as a solution to the problem of managing your disparate career information, or merely as a contributor to the problem — “yet one more site to enter and maintain my information?” (It’s supposed to be the solution.)
  3. Would the site have to be integrated with popular tools like Monster, LinkedIn, and VisualCV to be most useful to you, or would you be delighted to have it serve as your own personal standalone career lockbox where you and you alone held the keys?

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Image credit: sturti / iStockphoto

Thursday Bram contributed to this post.