Achievementsare a critical part of your resume, perhaps more important than responsibilities, and therefore should be given prime resume real estate. Ensure that any achievements that are already listed on your resume are engaging to the reader and actually quantify or qualify what you have achieved. If they are fairly un-inspiring due to how you have presented them, either edit or remove them and update with more exciting and relevant examples. When describing your achievements, remember to think about how your reader is interpreting what you are saying. A couple of well written, relevant examples paint a more positive and engaging picture and far outshine a long list of basic and poorly written achievements.
Consider reading the following statements whilst reflecting on your more recent jobs. Take down notes of situations that come to mind.
Have you designed or introduced a new process that may have increased efficiency or sales?
- Have you solved a difficult problem?
- Have you received any awards?
- What has been your experience with managing or training difficult people?
- Have you mentored or coached colleagues or those external to your business?
- Have you developed a new system, a product, etc?
- Have you designed something?
- Can you think of something you have done for the first time?
- Have you prepared any reports, papers, articles etc that others could not?
- Have you saved your company or department money?
It is worth compiling this information as it happens, get into the habit of documenting your achievements either as they occur or regularly with enough detail that you can recall what you did when it comes to updating your resume. With these examples at hand, it will help enhance your resume and create more compelling stories for the interview. When documenting your achievements, it is important that they are detailed, relevant and engaging to the reader. Below is a weak and strong example of the same achievement.
Weak Example: The introduction of new rebate initiatives, that was successful in saving the company a substantial amount of money.
Strong Example: I successfully negotiated revised annual trading terms by offering lower rebate terms to the company’s key accounts through incentive targets and the introduction of promotional rebates. This initiative generated a cost saving of $700,000 within six months of the change.
If you are unsure if your achievements are coming across strongly, ask a colleague or friend to review.