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.
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