It’s critical to include accomplishments in your resume. Accomplishments are about impact – on the job, the field, the world, your clients or customers.  What you’ve achieved in the past is a potential employer’s best indicator of what you’ll do for them.  They need to see your results!

Here is one simple way to identify them.

  • Go to your resume and look at every job individually. If you’re like most people, you have put together a great list of your responsibilities and activities. This is the “What” you’ve done.
  • Make a simple chart of two columns. In the left column, list every “What” for each job. You can do a separate chart for each job, or make it continuous, as long as you know which “Whats” belong to which job.
  • For each responsibility, ask this question:  “So what?” So what if I did this thing? What happened as a result of it? What changed? What was the impact of my activity or effort? If I stopped doing it, would anyone have noticed and if so, what would they have noticed?
  • Write down the answer to “So what” in the right hand column. These are your results, your accomplishments, your impact.

Ideally, impact can be measured with numbers (e.g. percentages, dollars, amounts) and is directional, meaning you moved something from one place to another (increased, improved, raised, launched, etc.)

I like to use positive words because people usually like to be associated with something growing, expanding, opening up, happy and forward-looking.  In some cases, words like “reduced” and “decreased” are appropriate.

Have three to four accomplishments for your most recent jobs.  Use bullets only for accomplishments. Use a short 3-5 line paragraph to outline the range and scope of your responsibilities, below which you list the accomplishment bullets.

Make it easy for potential employers to see what you have done concretely in the past, and you increase your chances of having them read your resume. And when employers read your resume, your chances of getting an interview improve – assuming your experience and expertise match the job requirements!