Accomplishments are an important part of your resume. They set you apart from your competition and give potential employers a reason to consider you above others with similar qualifications. Most people, however, find it difficult to write resume achievements. What exactly constitutes an accomplishment? Simply put, an accomplishment is an example of how you solved a workplace challenge and what it meant to your employer. Everyone faces problems on the job, especially now given our difficult economic times.
You can make those challenges work for you with this three-step method for turning challenges into achievements.
- Identify significant challenges. Think back through your career to the times when your company, team or division faced difficult situations that had a potential negative effect on bottom-line corporate issues. Start back through your earlier years of employment. Write a list and be specific about why the issue was a problem. What was at stake? Who were the stake holders? Why was the issue critical? How much of the organization was effected by the challenge? If you take a systematic approach you should be able to identify a challenge for every few years of employment.
- What was your part in solving the problem? Now that you have your list of workplace challenges, think back to how you helped solve them. You may have worked alone or as part of a group. Perhaps you coordinated between diverse functional groups to facilitate the solution. Be specific about the technology you used, skills involved and steps you took toward fixing the problem. Did you introduce a new procedure or create a better way of processing information? Did you use technology to streamline routine tasks? Did you train your team on a new process? Did you take on added responsibilities to insure the task was completed?
- What was the result of your effort? Once the challenge was met, the solution found and the issue resolved, what did it mean to your employer? What did your company get out of it? Did you save your department time? Did your solution lead to cutting costs? Were you able to identify new revenue opportunities? Did you free up time for your boss? Did you help others to work more efficiently? How many persons within the organization were effected by your work? It's nice if you can quantify your results, but don't be discouraged if you can't quantify every result in dollars.
Once you have all your information at hand it's time to put it together in concise statements that sell your skills. A few guidelines to keep in mind are:
Try to keep your accomplishment statements to two lines each.
Begin your statement with the result.
Don't dilute the result by providing more information than necessary.
Accomplishments should be included with every employment entry of your resume. For added punch, write a highlight of accomplishments section toward the top of your resume. Remember, at the time perhaps you received little thanks for your effort in solving challenges, but now is the time to get credit for your hard work. Let your resume include your achievements on the job and potential employers will be eager to learn how you can help solve their problems as well.