Even though your work term is just getting started, imagine that the end of your term has come. This is often an opportunity to reflect on experiences, evaluate newly developed skills, new relationships, and completed projects. It’s also a time to look forward to the next step of your professional career.
What some students don’t realize, however, is that you will leave an impression on your co-workers and colleagues over the course of your residency. The legacy you leave is something that can benefit you in a number of ways, not the least of which is a positive reference for a future job.
Considering your legacy
Begin the process of building your legacy by writing your own reference letter, highlighting the traits and abilities that you will strive to achieve by the end of your term. This will give you a better understanding of the type of employee you want to become and keep you focused on actually achieving it. This exercise is most effective if you keep the physical cover letter you wrote for yourself visible (taped to your desk or notebook, for example) so that it will provide motivation to achieve your professional development objectives.
Getting down to business
Leaving a positive legacy at your workplace does not have to be dramatic or grand. It can be as simple as assuring that you’ve done your job to the best of your ability. In your letter, plan to demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Improvements you made on office process/procedure
- Outcomes you exceeded by adding extra value to your projects and assignments
- Examples that show your initiative
- Proven areas of reliability and a willingness to take on more projects
- Ways in which you maintained a great attitude and integrated your personality and strengths into your projects
- How you took advantage of opportunities to get involved and made a difference
- Your demonstrated effective communication skills and positive relationships built with co-workers and clients
While these traits will without a doubt help you leave a legacy at your workplace, they are also traits that employers value and look for when hiring. Keep in mind that if a future employer calls one of your references and hears any combination of the traits listed above, you’ve not only proven your legacy to your past employer but also showed that you’re capable of creating a new one with a future employer as well.