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Achievements Triple the Value of Your Resume

By Susan Ireland

Think of your resume as a piece of high-end real estate where every pixel counts.

You can triple the value of your resume real estate by stating your experience as achievements instead of boring responsible-for job descriptions.

Here's how:

In the one or two lines it would take to describe a task you performed, you can talk about an accomplishment that resultedwhen you performed that task.

For example, contract negotiator Pearl Hancock wrote on her resume: "Successfully met strategic licensing agreements within timeframe and budget" instead of a job description such as "Oversaw completion of strategic licensing agreements."

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.

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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: Juanita Garcia knows that as a real estate appraiser, her success will be determined partially by how well she understands state real estate law. To assure the employer that she excels at this, she 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 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: Salesman Paul Crome knows that his prospective employer's bottom line is money. Therefore, he created strong achievement statements such as "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 Fromer exceeded the requirement by writing: "Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook; SPSS for Windows, basic HTML 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 referred to a problem he solved: "Drafted legal notices necessary to merge operations without jeopardizing company's multimillion-dollar distribution."

Read How to Create an Achievement Resume for ideas on how to use this information.

More About Resumes


About the author...

Susan Ireland is the author of four job search books including The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume. For more information about writing your resume, read Susan's books or visit Susan's website SusanIreland.com.


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