Most of them don’t stand out – many resumes are very duty-oriented, and often what job seekers call ‘achievements’ are really their daily responsibilities.
If you’ve kept customers happy or finished reports on time, you were simply doing your job.
When looking for a new job, it is important you have several accomplishment stories to use on your resume and during job interviews. It is also important that the achievements you share are relevant to the jobs you’re applying for (sometimes I see resumes with great achievements which have ZERO relevance to the job they’re applying for!)
You want to be able to quantify your experience as much as you can. If you’ve done something that has increased sales, or saved time/money, it is likely to impress potential employer.
Perhaps you’ve coordinated team events at the best yet economical locations saving expenses by 30% or you’ve increased sales by 25%.
You might have introduced a user friendly electronic filing system which reduced file retrieval time by 40% or you’ve attained a title of ‘Best Employee of 2014’ by providing excellent customer service.
Tell the story – paint the picture of how you’ve turned a situation around/what would have happened if you hadn’t taken action and how you’ve made it a success.
I’d recommend using PAR format to demonstrate how you can contribute to the employer’s needs – here is the format:
Here you summarize a problem or a challenge and explain the context, for example: “within tight time frames,” “during a major reorganization,” and so on.
Tell them what you did – even if you’ve worked as part of a team, you need to explain your contribution. The key here is to be specific and use strong action verbs.
Explain the business impact of your actions. You’d want to include key deliverables, “measurables” and contributions, all described in terms of the employer’s point of view, for example:
“Deputized as team supervisor for a team of 5 staff and lead the team in successfully completing a $250,000 project in upgrading the company’s sales order entry system. This resulted in an annual company operational savings of $65,000.”
Think about what would have been different in each situation without your actions. What would not have happened if you hadn’t been there?
Remember that accomplishments don’t always have to come from paid employment. College students and new grads can look to class projects, work-study, study abroad, sports, volunteer work, internships, summer jobs, and more for accomplishment stories.
Margaret Buj is an interview coach who has been helping professionals get hired, promoted and paid more for over 9 years. She is also a qualified Personal Performance & Corporate and Executive Coach and can help you with developing confidence and the attitude that will make it easier for you to get any job you want. Schedule a complimentary consultation with Margaret here.