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Achievements Triple the Value of Your Resume

By Erin Kennedy

Achievements Triple the Value of Your ResumeThink of your resume as your golden ticket to your next role.

By creating a resume that employers and recruiters want to see, your chances of landing interviews skyrocket.

Increase the value of your resume by stating your experience as achievements.

Skip the empty, boring “responsible-for” statements that don't convey your expertise and value to an employer.

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Replace Duties with Achievements in Your Resume

If you were an employer, what three questions would you ask a job candidate? Probably something like:

  • Do you have the experience?
  • Are you good at what you do?
  • Do you enjoy your work?

Tell the employer “Yes” to all three questions by writing about achievements instead of job duties on your resume.

Achievement statements are the most powerful way to show "I'm good at what I do!"

Here are some questions to help you think of relevant achievements:

  • What projects are you proud of that relate to your job objective?
  • What are some quantifiable results that point out your ability?
  • What activities, paid and unpaid, have you done that used skills you'll be using at your new job?
  • When have you succeeded with a C.A.R. (Challenge, Action, Result) situation?

    • What was the challenge?
    • What action did you take to remedy it?
    • What was the result of your action?
  • When did you positively affect the organization, the bottom line, your boss, your co-workers, your clients?
  • What awards have you won that relate to your job objective?
  • How is success measured in your field? How do you measure up?

Having a hard time coming up with your CAR statements? Think about this situation:

  • What would happen if someone replaced you for a week, and they did a terrible job?
  • What are all the things that could go wrong?

Now, turn this result around to understand how you are valuable.

Convert Your Resume From Blah to Effective

Here's how to make that conversion:

In the one or two lines it would take to describe a task you performed, instead share the accomplishment you achieved when you performed that task.

For example, IT Security & Risk Manager, Mary Johnson (not her real name) wrote:

“Devised and introduced the 1st risk-based approach to compliance by balancing governance and risk to ensure that the IT operating model -- including organizational design, infrastructure, resources, processes, competencies, capabilities, and delivery models -- meets current and future business needs. Increased organizational effectiveness by 30% and compliance by 45%.”

Instead of:

“Drive the technology investment and organization model by aligning the IT capabilities and priorities with strategic and operational business priorities”

A job description says only what you did. An achievement statement says:

  1. What you did;
  2. That you're good at performing that task; and
  3. That you're proud of the skills you used and enjoy using them.

That's triple the value for the same experience.

Finding and Defining Your Achievements

To figure out what achievements are appropriate for your resume, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does my potential employer define success for the job I'm applying for? How do I measure up?

    Example: Juan Garcia (not his real name) knows that as a real estate appraiser, his success will be determined partially by how well he understands state real estate law.

    To assure the employer that she excels at this, he wrote this achievement statement:

    "Developed a five-page guide on state appraising regulations, which became a standard reference at Carlson Real Estate."
  • What project am I proud of that demonstrates I have the skills for my job objective?

    Example: When Louis Pulski (not his real name) was looking for a research position, he found a job posting that required candidates to be "Skilled at providing accurate and prompt reference service through print and online services."

    To address this requirement, Louis wrote the following achievement statement:

    "Performed timely, in-depth searches for print and online information at the request of faculty, students, and the general public."
  • What is my prospective employer's bottom line (for example: money, attendance, retention, clean data), and when have I shown that I know how to address that bottom line?

    Example: Saleswoman Paullette Drome (not her real name) knows that her prospective employer's bottom line is money.

    Therefore, she created strong achievement statements like this --

    "Generated over $1 million in new business annually."
  • What technical or management skills do I have that indicate the level at which I perform?

    Example: Knowing that the employer wants a candidate with basic computer skills, Sheila Foomer (not her real name) exceeded the requirement by writing:

    "Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook; SPSS for Windows, basic HTML and CSS coding."


    Is there any doubt that Sheila's a whiz on the computer?
  • What problem did I solve, how did I solve it, and what were the results?

    Example: On his resume, lawyer Chris Pathens (not his real name) referred to a problem he solved:

    "Drafted legal notices necessary to merge operations without jeopardizing company's multimillion-dollar distribution."

Creating Your Achievement Resume

An achievement resume looks like a functional resume except that it does not have skill headings in the body of the resume. Instead it simply lists about five or six relevant achievements under a main heading such as “Professional Accomplishments” or “Selected Achievements.”

This type of resume works well for sales professionals, top level executives, and others who want to keep the spot light on just a few successes from their whole career.

Here’s a template that represents the body of an achievement resume:

NAME

City, State, Zip ▪ Phone
LinkedIn Profile URL

TARGET POSITION

Target job title.

HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS

  • How much experience do you have in the field of your target, in a related field, or using the skills required for your new position?
  • What is an overall career accomplishment that demonstrates you would be a good candidate for this position?
  • What would someone say about you if they were asked to be a reference for you?

SELECTED ACHIEVEMENTS

  • What accomplishment are you proud of that supports this position?
  • What’s another accomplishment that shows you have the necessary skills?
  • What award did you win that demonstrates ability relevant to your career goals?
  • When did you positively affect the organization, the bottom line, your boss, your co-workers, your clients?
  • What problem did you solve that leads the reader to believe you are valuable?
  • What project have you done (or been part of doing) that demonstrated how good you are at this type of work?

WORK HISTORY

20xx-present Job Title Organization, City, State 
20xx-xx Job Title Organization, City, State 
19xx-xx Job Title Organization, City, State 

EDUCATION

Degree, Major (if relevant), 19xx 
School, City, State

The Bottom Line

Rather than simply claiming that you have a skill or specific experience required by the employer, highlight your achievements on your resume. If done well, your achievements can tell a lot about your experience, skills, and successes in just a few words!

But, do be careful not to reveal any confidential information about your employer (current or former).

More About Resumes


About the author...

Erin Kennedy is a Master Career Director (MCD), Certified Master Resume Writer (MCRW), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and Certified Empowerment & Motivational Coach (CEMC). She has been helping clients since 1999. Erin is also the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc.. Visit her website and connect with Erin on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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