How to Measure Your Accomplishments
Use numbers whenever you can—money saved, decreased costs, achieving more with less. The best numbers are in dollars.
If it's not possible to give a dollar amount, use other measures. Examples: number of people affected, amount of time saved, percent increase in subscriptions or traffic, percent reduction in customer complaints, or similar measures.
If you can't quantify, use words like "significantly" or "substantially"—as long as this is true, of course.
Examples of Accomplishments
For a job in customer relations: "Developed communication strategy to respond to customers regarding a new 150-item product list, resulting in a 20 percent decrease in the number of returned orders."
For a job managing computer operations: "Initiated and implemented a strategy for consolidating computer operations from three centers to two, saving $200,000 without interrupting processing."
For an outreach job with your local senior center: "Initiated a neighborhood watch program covering a seven-block area. Recruited over 50 volunteers, scheduled shifts, and publicized the effort to the local paper. Crime dropped over 20 percent in the first six months."
For a job as a professional storyteller: "Presented 10 storytelling workshops for grade levels K-6 at county schools and public libraries. Trained over 100 after-school group leaders on how to start a storytelling program, resulting in self-sustaining programs at five locations.
What is Not an Accomplishment
Accomplishments are specific; they state concrete actions and results. The following kinds of information are not accomplishments, and it’s best to avoid them:
- Your job description. Eliminate the phrase "duties included" from your resume. Instead, translate your job duties into specific accomplishments.
- The number of years you worked, or good attendance. Instead of how long you worked, focus on what you accomplished. It's your list of achievements that will demonstrate your future value to the employer.
- Soft skills, such as "team player," "good communicator," and "detail-oriented." Nice as it is to have these traits, leave them out of your resume. Instead, cite accomplishments that show you have these qualities.
- Vague statements about your career. Omit fuzzy language such as, "Seeking to use my broad range of skills in a challenging position." Instead, focus on specific skills and achievements.
Accomplishments = Results
Knowing your accomplishments has many advantages. You'll be able to:
- Seek out the jobs that fit you best Highlight "transferable skills" that apply to different kinds of jobs
- Tailor your resume to the specific job
- Improve your networking pitch
- Write a more focused resume
See Also: AARP's job search engine.
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