Struggling to pinpoint which accomplishments to feature on your resume? We know it can be a daunting task, particularly when the job you had doesn’t lend itself well to easily measurable results. That’s why we’ve compiled our top strategies for selecting what should go on your resume so that employers can get an accurate picture of the amazing work you have done!
First: What Sets Apart a Duty From an Accomplishment?
To put it briefly, duties explain what you did while accomplishments show how proficiently you performed the task. Duties provide a hiring manager with insight into your role, yet they still want to know if you can do the job at hand. Accomplishments are even more powerful since they prove that not only are you able to complete assigned tasks but also that your work is exceptional in quality and efficiency.
Highlighting Your Achievements
While we traditionally think of our triumphs when searching for a job, it is paramount to keep track of your successes on an ongoing basis. Doing so will help you create a vivid snapshot that demonstrates how effective and impactful you were in every role. To make this possible, one must take all factors into account – from evaluating the amount or number, comparing current work output with prior years’, and more!
To truly emphasize your capabilities, you need to dig further. Start by making an inventory of all the tasks and duties that you have taken on – then for each ask yourself: “What proof do I have that this was carried out effectively, and what steps did it require me to take?” By asking these questions, you will be able to form a clear picture of how valuable your contributions are.
As a program manager at a nonprofit devoted to after-school activities, one of your foremost responsibilities is recruiting and sustaining participants. By asking yourself “What proof is there that this was achieved successfully? What steps did I take?”, you might have the following narrative: 50 new participants were recruited with an impressive 78% retention rate due to three innovative local partnerships and the rendering of technological educational material.
Moreover, the verbiage and accomplishments you choose to emphasize will depend on which job opportunity you are targeting. Curation is not simply about selecting your strongest achievements; it’s also about considering how they can aid in securing the position that you desire. The most impressive list isn’t one with a plethora of points, but rather an assemblage of relevant qualifications tailored for each specific role.
How Can We Quantify Our Achievements if They Are Not Easily Measured?
When it’s difficult to pinpoint your job performance in figures, consider the distinction between how you do versus how a mediocre employee would perform their role. Alison Green at Ask A Manager suggests this comparison as an effective way of quantifying your success.
For instance, maybe you—unlike your predecessor—keep a busy office running smoothly, completely revamped the client billing system to ensure bills are now sent out on schedule, resolved an inherited four-month backlog in three weeks, took over troubleshooting the phone system so that the I.T. department didn’t have to do it, and regularly garnered unsolicited praise from callers and visitors to the office for your helpfulness.
Those are all accomplishments, and they can all go on your resume.
Green stresses the importance of inquiring, “What have you achieved that nobody else has?”
What if You Have Related Accomplishments That Took Place Outside of Work?
Work experience is certainly critical, yet there are some activities and projects that we may forget to mention when talking about our accomplishments. YouTern has made a helpful list of the items that many people overlook such as volunteering efforts, freelance assignments, and papers or articles published in journals! These kinds of pursuits allow us to develop new skills and acquire invaluable knowledge outside of our daily jobs.
Looking for the best way to highlight your success on a resume? It largely depends on what field and job you are in, but here are some amazing resources that can give you insight into showcasing your accomplishments:
- 60 achievement resume writing ideas and expressions by Job Mob
- Resume Revamp: How to turn your duties into accomplishments by The Daily Muse
- How to write about your accomplishments by the Houston Chronicle
- The ultimate resume test by Idealist (good for figuring out if your resume is written for the position you want)
Originally published on Idealist Careers.