Want to be taken seriously? Do this.

Have a great memory? Take notes anyway! You can stop taking notes when you’re the top boss and you hire someone to do it for you. In the meantime, taking notes tells your boss and colleagues you mean business.

take notes if you want to be taken seriouslyTake notes at work:

  1. to avoid asking the same question twice. Review your notes. We always notice a repeated question or forgotten advice. Always!
  2. in an electronic format so that your notes can be used for any necessary follow-up, as part of documentation for future training you may be asked to do if promoted, or so you can search them by keyword at a later date.
  3. so you can answer questions about the material 3 months later without annoying a coworker or your boss.
  4. so that your boss doesn’t need to. Whenever you can, free your boss up to be more in the moment by handling a task like note-taking. You want your boss to rely on you, to feel that you are taking care of him/her.
  5. to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to the job and company.
  6. to show that you value the person you’re meeting with and the time they’re giving you.
  7. to  provide proof if your word or memory is ever questioned.
  8. to separate yourself from the pack – you’ll shine if you keep in mind that your boss is  watching you and asking himself “What am I going to have left when you’re gone?”. So leave your mark! Answer this question proactively and you’ll find yourself getting promoted.

the meeting minutes

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  • awilson

    I am a very diligent note-taker. My job can be very chaotic. I constantly have 5 or 6 things going on at once, and I love it. This is how I thrive in the workplace. However, if I didn’t take notes the stress would leave me lost! My notes that I keep on my phone have saved me in several situations with various bosses. I like being the one my bosses know they can come to for information or requests and know that I will deliver.

  • Eleanor Sugrue

    Who knew that the note-taking skills teachers tried to force on us in sixth grade history class would end up being such an essential component of “working smart”? Having read through all of the topics of this post, this one on note-taking resonates with me the most–especially since I took notes on each of the topics before deciding which one to write about.

    Last summer I interned at a digital advertising agency, where I sat in on numerous brainstorming and staff meetings with anywhere from four to forty people. While everyone had their laptops open to either research information or distract themselves, I had a notebook open and a pen in my hand. Trying my best to follow along with what different people added to the conversations, much of the marketing jargon and references to previously-begun projects went over my head. That’s where my notebook came in handy. I took copious notes at these meetings, scribbling down unfamiliar terms along with important ideas, just for myself to look over later.

    Little did I know that one of my coworkers would ask me to email him my notes so that he could keep track of what had happened at the meeting! I sent my notes in an email to him a few minutes later, and to my delight he was impressed by the thorough and detailed nature of my notes. Having had this experience, I can whole-heartedly attest to the moral of this lesson. Employers want to see not only that you can sit still at a meeting without relying on your laptop to keep you awake, but that you can actually pay attention and benefit from the information given to you.

    Want to be taken seriously? Take notes!

  • J-PG

    Note taking is highly important regardless of what field you go to work in, even in retail and restaurant. I know that I constantly have to take notes in order to make sure I remember things at where I work.

  • Rachel Gordon

    This lesson is very important – even if you’re not a secretary! I work in a college admission office, and there are many times that students or prospective students will call with questions or complaints that I need to pass on to another staff member. It’s easy to forget what the question was!

    Also, sometimes student will call and argue about legal matters, and sometimes it all boils down to who said what in the admissions office. If you’ve taken good notes and saved them electronically, it makes solving a problem like that a lot easier!

    Taking notes also really does show your boss that you care about the job. It’s easy to show up to work everyday, but showing your boss that you’re willing to take the time to learn and invest in your work is really valuable. Great lesson!

  • Megan T

    This is one great piece of advice. I can not stress how much this has helped me at my job. It is great when my other coworkers or my boss ask me something, and I know exactly what I am talking about because I had written it down when they first mentioned it. My boss has mentioned multiple times how he appreciates the notes that I take for him when he is with a client or on the phone, and that it saves him so much time. He has also told me that I have become a great asset to the company, and that I am welcome to stay with them as long as I want. I must admit that I already do some of the tips and tricks stated in this guide, and I think this is why I have been able to prove myself as a hard working and irreplaceable worker.

  • Alyssa Dobbs

    I think that this is a great lesson for everyone. This lesson of note-taking on the job is broad and can be used for any profession. This is something that can really apply to my job and that I am going to start doing. I work as a pharmacy technician and while I am always moving around from many different stations during my shift. There is always a lot to know and a lot to learn. To improve my skills at work, I can carry a small notepad in the pocket of my scrubs. I am relatively new at this job and I have asked several questions more than once. This would help me so much and I definitely wouldn’t have to ask any question for a second time.

    I agree that this would also help me show my professionalism to my boss. My boss would see me as a more serious person. This would help me a lot because I am the youngest at my work and I need to prove that I am very professional. I also agree that this would help make me stand out compared to my co-workers. I work for a large corporation and a lot of changes are happening right now and some of my co-workers hours have been cut. These changes at work are just more of a sign that I really need to prove myself to my boss. I need to show my boss that I am dedicated, hard working, and professional. I think that the tips above are all great ways to help me do that! Thank you for sharing.

  • Robert Lewis

    Taking notes is very important to being a reliable and constantly improving employee. Taking notes shows that you are dedicated to your work and that no one can prove you wrong on any topic because you have your notes to back up what you say. You stay updated on events and if you do forget you have something to fall back on.

  • Tiffany

    This is great information for me to have. I actually have a lot of problems with communicating effectively with my boss because she isn’t always clear on what she wants but I feel like if I ask her a question or to repeat herself then she doesn’t see me as the hard worker that I can be. I also think this is great to have for later on when I get a job in the career that I really want that way my boss knows that he/she can rely on me to have the information later on.

  • Eric Taylor

    This is actually really helpful. I recently started working at at restaurant/sports bar and since I’m only 18 I’m by far the youngest person there. Since I’ve never had a job before that I could feel my co-workers starting to get annoyed with me. And since there was a new thing that I had to learn everyday I got a little overwhelming a first. I wish I had found this when I was learning how to use the computers.

  • http://academy.justjobs.com/take-notes/ Ronak Patel

    This lesson is applicable to every profession; it is even applicable to my job as a secretary at a real estate office. I started working at the office in the summer of my junior year in high school to cover for the regular secretary when she was on the field several days of the week. I was not ready for the fast pace and adaptiveness needed for the job. I would always get rolled eyes and deep sighs of irritation from the experienced workers at the office when I forgot basic information critical to the job. I would ask three or four times and constantly apologize, and I was not receiving much respect because I was so dependent on their skills. I caught on that to be respected I would need to be independent, so I started writing on Post-It notes the basic procedures and information that I would need constantly and stuck them underneath the computer screen. Within a few days, I began to notice that my coworkers were beginning to become less irritated with the amateur that I was.

    I realized that instead of writing the messages that were left for my boss and coworkers down, it would be much easier to put the reminders and memos onto the company data base, where majority of the workers were already on. Eventually I began working as efficiently as the original secretary, so my presence in her absence was not becoming a burden to the company as it once was. Taking notes was crucial to the success I had when I was working at the office. It gained me respect and helped me stand out.

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In 1997, Eric Shannon launched the first job board for bilinguals who speak English/Spanish at LatPro.com. Eric still serves as CEO of LatPro Inc., developer of JustJobs.com. He lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and two girls.

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