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Personal Memory Support System

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This exercise helps you to tap into other people's creativity by asking them to recall one or two of your accomplishments. Ask anyone from your work (including customers and vendors), personal, volunteer or educational past. You will be surprised about what they remember or their perspective on what you view as an everyday task, but they see as an impressive accomplishment.

Recently I helped my niece with her resume. She is fairly new in the workforce and hasn't had the opportunity to accumulate too many accomplishments. I remembered a touching scene that she once described. Many of her students cried because she was leaving at the end of her student teaching assignment in special education. Connecting with special needs students at that deep of a level is a spectacular accomplishment that she may be able to use for the rest of her career. She had never considered it for her resume until I mentioned it.

You can ask for any accomplishment or you may want to ask for accomplishments that highlight specific skills. That could be especially useful when you are changing careers.

You can ask by phone or in-person, but email will give them time for the most thoughtful response. Here is a sample email:

Hi [Replace],

Iím in the process of rewriting my resume. To help create content Iím using the Personal Memory Support System exercise from I was hoping that you could be part of my Support System.

Good resumes focus on accomplishments, not just tasks. Do you remember any of my business, volunteer or personal accomplishments? [Customize last sentence based on type of contact]. Accomplishments that may seem interesting to prospective employers are most useful, but anything that may trigger another memory or that shows off a good personality trait could also prove to be helpful. If I donít use it in my resume, I may use it in an interview.

Please send one or two accomplishments, but feel free to send more. I appreciate your help.

Best regards,


As the email indicates, a side benefit is that some of the content may help your interview preparation.

Perhaps more importantly, this is a great way to network. It gives you a way to get in touch without overtly stating that the purpose is networking. It then gives your contacts an easy way to help, and most people want to help. Best of all, someone that helps you then becomes invested in your success and will often want to help even more.

Another possible benefit is that when someone starts thinking of you, especially in a positive way, their memory may be jogged about an opportunity or a connection that may be helpful. You're just asking for a little, but they may end up giving alot.

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