Resume Accomplishments: Showcasing Your Achievements

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Resume accomplishments are a large part of what gets your resume noticed by prospective employers. Resume reviewers look for someone who achieves, who takes that extra step in completing job duties by going above and beyond what is expected, so your resume accomplishments let you present your best achievements. The idea of incorporating these into your resume is to make prospective employers decide you are worth their interest.

Your resume accomplishments showcase your contributions to previous employers; they tell much about who you are as an employee. This is your chance to boast, to show what makes you a great employee—one who a prospective employer would be remiss to pass up for an interview.

If you are like most people, you might have trouble identifying your resume accomplishments. However, pinpointing them is easy by taking a few steps:

  • Asking questions that flush out what you have accomplished
  • Brainstorming to answer those questions
  • Creating high-impact statements for the resume accomplishments you identified

Questions for identifying your resume accomplishments

Set aside 5-10 minutes to brainstorm for your resume accomplishments from your most recent position. The goal is to write down anything that is an achievement, an accomplishment or a contribution that showcases your value as an employee. Even if something seems insignificant, include it. With that in mind, answer the following questions to flush out your accomplishments:

  • Did supervisors, managers or coworkers give you praise or recognition for something? What was it?
  • Did clients or customers give you promotions, commendations or awards for something? What was it?
  • Were you asked to work on any special committees, projects or task forces?
  • Can you list three things you accomplished of which you are proud? (Think in terms of something you found challenging or something that improved some aspect of the company for which you worked.)
  • Does something specific you accomplished stay associated with you within the company or department where you worked?
  • What did your co-workers, supervisors or managers have to say about you when you left your job?

For every job you list on your resume, use this process to identify the resume accomplishments that showcase your value to a prospective employer.

Create high-impact resume accomplishment statements

Once your resume accomplishments are identified, you want to turn those ideas into high-impact statements that clearly define what you have achieved. For each statement you create, start with the benefit, outcome or result—this is the part of your accomplishments that a resume reviewer is interested in the most. Below is an example of an accomplishment in rough notes that is turned into a high-impact resume accomplishment statement.

Accomplishment from brainstorming:

When I first joined the company, several products were not selling very well. Over a six month period, I doubled the sales by sending more consumer-oriented emails, posting blog posts and using social media to run promotions for prizes.

High-impact resume accomplishment statement:

Increased sales on underperforming product lines by 50% with an aggressive six-month internet marketing strategy and social media promotions.

Using the brainstorming process, you can identify which resume accomplishments make you shine the most to turn them into high-impact statements that get the attention of prospective employers. If you have difficulty identifying accomplishments, consider asking coworkers or supervisors directly what they find most valuable about you. Another great place to spark your mind is past performance reviews or reference letters. Both offer insight into how and why you are valued by others.

The resume accomplishments you list are used to predict your future success based on what you have achieved in the past. Just listing your accomplishments, however, is not always enough to make you stand out from other applicants. Make sure you learn how to quantify what you have achieved to leave a lasting impression.