If you are job hunting or thinking of changing your career, you have probably been doing some online research to help you write a good resume. Goodness knows, there is plenty of it out there! Some of it is excellent, some of it is garbage, but what you are probably seeing over and over is that you must talk about your accomplishments on your resume.
When I first heard about this concept years ago, I will admit, I was confused. What accomplishments? I mean, I went to work and did the same thing day in and day out, nothing much changed in my daily duties, I didn’t do anything monumental, not even occasionally, so what the heck accomplishments was I supposed to come up with?
What Are These Precious Accomplishments?
I searched online for examples of accomplishments and saw things like:
- Promoted an average 30 titles per year for a niche publishing company.
- Increased employee training participation by 50% by adapting existing curriculum into online education modules.
- Led project coordinating office moves for 55 employees.
- Reduced time spent on inventory by 20% by reorganizing physical storage of supplies.
- Planned lodging and travel logistics for 20 ships per year, with 10 crew members each.
Notice each of these accomplishment statements contains a number. Apparently, numbers are big to whomever is reading your resume. However, we don’t all have that kind of information to include in our resumes. In an Billings Clerk position I held in the oil and gas industry, I probably increased revenues for the company, particularly in my first year, but by what percentage I have no idea. It is not common for employers to praise non-sales employees for increasing revenues — they would have to give them a raise along with the praise!
The reality is, most of us common folk don’t know how, or how much, we contributed to a company’s bottom line, or increased its productivity, or reduced its time spent on a project, so how do we talk about our accomplishments on our resumes? Well, it’s kind of easy because…..
An Accomplishment is Something You Did
Go back in your mind to your previous jobs and think about what you did in each role. Be sure to have a notebook handy to jot down your memories. Really devote some time to this and use this little system to get the memories flowing. Ask yourself:
- What did I do on a daily basis? Write it down as descriptively and with as much detail as you can come up with.
- Why did I do it? Do not answer this question with ‘for the pay cheque’. Think of your job description and your role in the company — why did the company need someone to do that job? Why did your role exist?
- What were the outcomes as a result of what I did? For example, I was in Billings. The outcomes of what I did, day in and day out, was money. I sent out the Billings that generated the money for the company. Nothing is as important to a company as its money, so this is a pretty significant outcome.
- Think about and remember how you did what you did. In my Billings position I used customized company software to enter data from field tickets. First, I scrutinized the tickets for thoroughness and accuracy. I worked closely with guys in the field to clarify unclear data, and I referred to service contracts to verify compliance. Field personnel didn’t necessarily know what they could and should bill so it was up to me to communicate with them. This is how you need to think and remember — in detail! Do not overlook little things you may think insignificant. Nothing you did was insignificant.
- What computer programs and/or software did you use? What equipment? What tools? What resources? I couldn’t have produced the company’s Billings without using the specialized software I mentioned. Nor could I have done a thorough job without communicating with the guys in the field, and if I didn’t refer to the contract, I might have missed something that should have been billed, and the company would then have lost out on revenues.
These are the little things we sometimes overlook when we think in general about how we did our previous jobs. But if you think, in detail, of all the things you did, no matter how seemingly insignificant or automatic, you will come up with some very impressive accomplishments!
Turn a Boring Duty into an Impressive Accomplishment
To give you a quick example of how to describe an accomplishment, I’ll show you the wrong way first:
- prepared invoices using field tickets
- ensured correct information on field tickets with field personnel
- ensured invoices complied with services contract
- employed efficient time-management skills to produce 3 million monthly in highly-detailed billings under rigid deadlines in fast-paced accounting department
- meticulously followed tight guidelines to verify field ticket accuracy and service- contract conformity resulting in recovery of an average $5000 monthly
See how the above example shows you how to transform duties into accomplishments? Use numbers whenever you can, but if you simply don’t have any, use other, just as impressive facts to describe your accomplishments.
Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer I can develop a fantastic resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, there is no shame in getting an expert to write such an important document for you. And, as always, I invite your comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.
Did I help you to see how thinking and remembering, in detail, will help you to write descriptive accomplishments? I’d love to hear what you think!
Thanks for your time today!