How to List Accomplishments on Your Resume

Posted by in Career Advice


When it comes to listing accomplishments and achievements on our resumes, many of us simply don't know where to begin. I know that, for me at least, it's hard to know what counts as an achievement. After all, isn't doing your job and being good at it an achievement? It is – but it needs to be quantified in a way that an interviewer can understand.

 

There is a lot of confusion about how to list accomplishments and what exactly counts as an achievement. If you're lost, here are some tips to help you out:

 

Lose the modesty – When you're trying to market yourself to an employer, it isn't the time to be modest. Heck, if there was ever a time to “blow your own horn” - this is it! When thinking about a past job, write down what you did to help the company. From there, you need to come up with a way to measure your success. If you saved them time or money, write down how much you saved. By giving the reader a way to quantify your accomplishment, you make it easier for them to see why they should hire you. Remember – you are marketing yourself as a solution to their problems, which isn't the same thing as bragging.

 

Use performance reviews to jog your memory – Sometimes we get so busy working that we don't stop to realize how good we are at it. Everything is a journey, and with a skill it can be hard to see how far you've come. In order to get a more objective look at your career potential, look at old performance reviews in order to see what you have been consistently praised for and what skills have been important to your success. Be sure to list these accomplishments.

 

Only list professional awards – If you were awarded “Employee of the Month” or received an award for perfect attendance, you can list these on your resume as well. Doing things like being good at your job, getting along with your co-workers and even taking college course at night are certainly personal accomplishments, but they aren't professional ones – so don't list them.

 

Avoid using company jargon – When explaining your job responsibilities and accomplishments, avoid using abbreviations or company jargon. The person reading your resume (often someone who works in Human Resources) might not be familiar with the job and won't understand what you are talking about. It's best to explain things using language that's straight forward and easy to understand. During the interview, you can give a more in-depth explanation.

 

Sometimes marketing can feel like lying, but it isn't. In fact, it's never a good idea to exaggerate the facts or lie on your resume, especially in your previous job descriptions. There is a huge difference between mentioning why you are good at what you do and creating an alternate reality. Exaggerating might help you get the job but it will cause your new employer to give you responsibilities that you aren't ready for yet which can lead to poor job performance and even termination. So please – market responsibly.

 

How do you list accomplishments on your resume? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Image source: MorgueFile

 

 

 

Melissa Kennedy
Melissa Kennedy
@joanne - Using past reviews gives you a measurable way to show what you can do. It's great that you've saved them.@Ellen - good luck with your job change!
Debbie P
Debbie P
Very helpful. Thanks
 Joanne B
Joanne B
These are very helpful tips. I was stumped on where to begin with accomplishments and how my employer see's me. Looking up old reviews was the anwser! Thank you!
Ellen SnyderD
Ellen SnyderD
I think this is good information because I am in the market for either career or just job change and trying to update resume, I need help
Sylvia C
Sylvia C
Helpful information! Thanks
Melissa Kennedy
Melissa Kennedy
Thanks for the great comments. @elanor - it's amazing when you start writing things down how much you have.@Raymond - I'm sure that the work you do makes you better and will help you as you take the next step in your career, even if it doesn't do much now.@Louis, I'd say that it's better to put the most relevant information as high on the list as possible, knowing that it might only get a 10 second skim through.
eleanor j
eleanor j
Your right I didnt realize how much i had actually done on  my job until i started to write down my qualifications for enterviews.
Mary Ann J
Mary Ann J
I would take issue with stating that "doing your job and being good at it' are achievements.  That's a minimum expectation.  But perhaps that is a generational difference.
Nyugha C
Nyugha C
I think you made some valuable points. Expressing accomplishments with stats gives the employer a better way to compare one resume from the other
Raymond N
Raymond N
Being a QA Software Tester this was not very helpful to me because; most of my potential employment assignment are simply looking for a tester with specific software experience at the lowest hourly rate. So I find myself contently teach myself  new software tools at my expense to find employment - welcome to the Technology Treadmill!
Adelaida Marcano R
Adelaida Marcano R
Great tips! Thanks so much
Theresa P
Theresa P
I need to update my resume.
Gabriele H
Gabriele H
Very true and useful advise - especially about the 'marketing' - I only advertise my real achievements, not some 'made-up' ones.Thanks for your article!
Ted M
Ted M
Where would you recommend positioning the quote from a former employer/boss?
philip k
philip k
Superb Excellent. I will do that ASAP
Sookie D
Sookie D
I think this article is awesome, so very helpful and encouraging at the same time.  I don't know if I can ask a question here but I was wondering if it is possible to "convert" (for lack of better word)  accomplishments from one industry to the next.  And if so, how would one do that?Thanks
Justin W
Justin W
I have thought about this each time I go to update my resume. To quantify and qualify my accomplishments years after the fact requires some guesstimation. My fear is that a prospective employer might contact a past employer who might have issue with my estimate, making me look bad.
 Crina C.
Crina C.
I am grateful for your articles. I've been looking through my performance reviews and even though my boss has given me positive feedback in a check box format he hasn't made any comments other than proposing a salary increase.I would appreciate if you could please advise a good format for a functional resume? I've been out of work for the last few years (for good reasons) and now, I have a hard time figuring out how to get employers look at my past accomplishments before dismissing my application for gap in work history. Thanks in advance.
 Stephanie R. M
Stephanie R. M
Another good tip!
Nick M
Nick M
I find I have to rewrite my resume (in the Professional Summary) to match the job position I am Applying for, I don't change the places I have worked nor what I accomplished.
Louis D
Louis D
I have many accomplishments in bullet form on my resume.  My question is, do you put the list on the first page or near the end?  Keep in mind that your resume may only get a 10 second review so if the accomplishments are not meaningful to the employer you just wasted his time.Louis  
raoul p
raoul p
Very helpful.  Thank you.
Debora M
Debora M
Very informative information. Was really useful.
bennie de b
bennie de b
llisting courses taken on free time should be listed.  It givesthe employer a sense of your passions or interest.  Greatexagerration will backfire.  Truth js always a safe path toexplore.
 Vince G
Vince G
Very good article and very useful. I am a job developer for homeless adults and this explains the resume in a way they can understand and use. Great job!

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