I’ve read thousands of resumes over the years and I’d have to say that there is one common weakness that I see repeatedly. Most people tend to list their job responsibilities (i.e. I did this, I did that, responsible for this, responsible for that), but most gloss over or ignore listing their accomplishments in those respective job functions. I have to tell you, employers are more attracted to candidates that can show a track record of success. Like it or not, a correlation will be made between what you’ve done in the past, and what you’re capable of doing in the future. If your past, as you’ve represented it on your resume, is nondescript, then how can an employer get a sense of who you are and what you bring to the table?
So, now that you know you need to include accomplishments, let’s brainstorm ways of coming up with them.
- Try writing random memories as they pop into your mind where you did something for your boss/company and it helped him or her. List small things (i.e. I came in on a Saturday and put the finishing touches on a presentation), and bigger things (my team landed the XYZ account which led to $5 Million in revenue). Let your mind run free and jot down whatever you recall. Here are a few questions to help you get started.
- Did you or your team ever complete a project ahead of schedule?
- Did you make a suggestion that was implemented successfully and helped some component within the company?
- Did you write or create printed materials that received compliments or praise by your boss or customers?
- Did you train someone or a group of people who went on to do great things for the company?
- Did you provide “an assist” to a co-worker that helped the company in some way?
- Ask a trusted co-worker to recall moments when they noticed your accomplishments.
- Pull out any and all certificates, recognition awards, commendations, and complimentary emails and letters (always keep these kinds of things), and write down the events that led to you receiving them.
Hopefully, you now have a good starting place for reworking accomplishments into your resume. Keep in mind that employers want to see how your individual contributions positively impacted the companies you’ve worked for. If you can demonstrate this effectively, you’ve just given yourself a tremendous leg up. If you have questions, send them to me privately by using the contact me form.
Now for the contest!!! The first person to leave a comment with the correct name of one of the characters from this comedian’s popular TV show will win a free resume critique.