Proven track record?

2012-08-24 13:54



Proven track record?

Reader question:

Please explain “proven track record” in this sentence: He is highly experienced in the IT industry with a proven track record in marketing, sales and general management.

My comments:

In other words, he’s had an illustrious career in the IT industry, and was particularly successful in marketing, sales and general management.

Proven track record means, literally, that his past experiences prove that he has been successful.

Track record is a cliché meaning one’s past experiences. Track, as in track and fields, refers to the running track. “Record” refers to the record book, a list of all the times an athlete clocks in running certain distances.

When not addressing athletes, track record then metaphorically refers to all the roads (tracks) people have trekked or travelled, hence their past experiences in various fields of activity.

Proven? That means it’s a good track record, proving that the person has been successful.

Whenever a company looks to hire someone, they check his/her CV to see what they have accomplished in the past. CV, of course, is short for curriculum vitae, a Latin expression for “course of (my) life”, i.e. a straightforward overview of one’s qualifications and experience.

One who’s previously been successful in sales, for instance, is often described as having a proven track record in sales. Generally speaking, people with successful past experiences are favored with potential new employers, who tend to believe that if they can do it once, they can do it again.

This is the case with the late Steve Jobs and Apple. When Apple hired the Jobs to run the company for a second time, of course, they did not have to read his CV – everybody knew he had a proven track record with the company. Sure, at one time of his career he may have quarreled with ferocity with the board and perhaps were a bit inadequate in maintaining relations with everyone – otherwise he wouldn’t be chased out in the first place – but everyone, top to bottom, at Apple, knew who Mr. Jobs was. They knew what he represented and stood for.

And sure enough, he proved everybody right. He did it once, and he did it again, saving Apple from the brink of becoming a second-rate company.

But alas, he could not save himself from premature death. He could cure Apples ills and woes, but could not cure himself of cancer.

Perhaps he should have paid more attention to his own health instead of Apple’s sales.

Anyways, I’m not here to bemoan either Jobs’s early passing (too late for that) or praise Apple’s astronomical sales (not interested). I’m only using his example to show you how to put “proven track record” in good use. In other words, Jobs may have a proven track record with Apple in terms of innovations and sales, he was not someone with a good track record medical-wise, where taking good care of one’s health is concerned.

Alright, let’s swiftly turn to media examples of other people and their track records:

1. Age stereotypes have both positive and negative aspects - no matter how old you are.

There are qualities which employers value which they associate with younger employees and other qualities, which they also value, that they assume belong to older workers.

In addition employers assume that older people will want to retire soon, and therefore see investment in them as less worthwhile.

There are various ways of dealing with these stereotypes if you feel they are affecting your job chances.

One study of the labour market, conducted in the US by Marc Bendick and colleagues compared three such strategies.

Surprisingly, they discovered that the worst thing a job seeker could do is try and emphasize the positive qualities which employers associate with their age.

So, if you are an older job-seeker, don’t use phrases like ‘I offer you maturity, stability and a proven track-record’.

What works best is to confront the stereotype by picking qualities from the young list, and emphasizing those.

For example, a covering letter might say: ‘Despite working in this industry for many years, I remain enthusiastic, energetic and committed to developing my career.’ If you are older but like new technology, then say so. If you are especially sporty, then mention that.

- Advice for older jobseekers,, April 6, 2006.

2. Apple’s newest CEO has a tough act to follow. But in turning to chief operating officer Tim Cook to replace Steve Jobs in the wake of the latter’s resignation Wednesday, Apple’s board of directors has chosen a familiar face with a proven track record with the company.

Cook is no stranger to the spotlight. He’s handled the day-to-day CEO duties at Apple since Jobs took a medical leave of absence in January. That marked the third time Cook has overseen the company—he was also interim CEO in 2004 as Jobs underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer and again for the first half of 2009 as Jobs dealt with more health issues.

And now he’s the official CEO. Jobs’s resignation letter refers to an already-in-place succession plan, which was rumored to exist back in July.

Wired once described Tim Cook as “[a] quiet, soft-spoken, low-key executive,” and “the yin to Jobs’s yang.” He’s 50 years old, holds a degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University, and an MBA from Duke University.

Cook left Compaq in 1998 to join Apple as its senior vice president of operations, and steadily rose through the ranks until he was awarded his current title of chief operating officer in 2005. He’s credited with reinventing Apple’s approach to inventory supply chains, keeping in-demand products in stock, and managing the carefully-timed release of new ones. Prior to Compaq, he worked at IBM and Intelligent Electronics.

- Apple turns to Tim Cook to replace Steve Jobs,, August 24, 2011.

3. Kofi Annan's decision not to renew his mandate as special UN and Arab League envoy for Syria at the end of the month is clear recognition that the political process has failed, and that Syria’s fate will be decided by events on the ground.

Given his track record, had there been the slightest hope of advance on the political and diplomatic fronts, he would not have given up.

The UN and Arab League chiefs are now looking around to try to find a replacement.

But it’s hard to imagine any figure with anything approaching the stature and profile of Kofi Annan taking on the task, when the prospects for success are currently negligible.

- Syria crisis: Annan’s exit marks end of diplomatic track, BBC News, August 2, 2012.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Go to the 'piggy bank'?

Whistling in the dark?

Last laugh?

Want to decompress?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)

上一篇 : Go to the 'piggy bank'?
下一篇 : Rubbing it in



















关于我们 | 联系方式 | 招聘信息

Copyright by All rights reserved. None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 版权声明:本网站所刊登的中国日报网英语点津内容,版权属中国日报网所有,未经协议授权,禁止下载使用。 欢迎愿意与本网站合作的单位或个人与我们联系。