How to Pinpoint Your Achievements
Updated: Mar 19
If you’ve ever had your resume written by me, you will have been asked to list your achievements and then to quantify them if appropriate. Now often, that is met with a blank stare why? Because what you do day in and day out may not feel like an achievement to you. It’s your job and you probably have not had to name it and number it before.
Roles as we know, are really highly contested, the job market has changed and approaching it from the stock standard ‘employee’ standpoint is not enough.
You have to think about
your interview and resume preparation
as ‘marketing’. You are marketing 'you'.
If you write a resume just outlining your roles and responsibilities then the task for the employer becomes harder. Employers not only hire your experience, they hire ‘how’ you work and ‘what’ you achieve. Put simply, if you demonstrate what you have achieved in the past a potential employer has evidence of what you do for them. So being able to define and articulate your achievements is an important part in that process.
Whether you are an Executive or and Entry Level candidate, I know it’s a tough task and that’s our job, to help you gather the information. Here’s how we start to extract all the good stuff.
First up I have a few questions that always help my clients to identify their achievements:
Q) Have you received any awards, commendations or recommendations from your employer, industry or client base?
Q) Have you completed any projects? Were they on time? On budget? To specification or standard? I like to include short punchy ‘case studies’ that demonstrate not only how you worked within the project but also what you outcomes you achieved.
Q) Have you been part of a successful team? What made it successful? Perhaps efficiency was improved, if so why what percentage approximately of course. Perhaps teamwork improved demonstrated by less down time or stronger business culture.
Q) Have your progressed in your career? So received a promotion or take on more responsibility? If you can add a time line to that, then it makes it even more powerful e.g.: if the normal time to progression is 2 years and you gained it within 12 months, that quantified statement alone does all the heavy lifting.
Q) Have you suggested ideas or initiatives that have been implemented. Ideas don't have to be ‘save the world’ concepts. If an idea you had benefited the business, the team or the clients in any way, it’s important.
Remember, ideas don't have to 'save the world' try thinking a bit smaller than that. Most of us haven't saved the world recently.
Q) Have you undertaken any additional training or courses? Internally or externally, further education directly reflects your work style, trainability and potential. Completing a course is an achievement.
Q) Lets talk about your ‘show reel’ that’s marketing speak for body of work or put more simply, what high profile clients, businesses or brands have you worked with.
Remember, your entire resume is a ‘show reel’ it is a succinct outline of all the ‘benefits’ you bring to an employer, from work style to experience, qualifications and cultural fit. Last but not least, what you can achieve for them.
If you add a list of generic statements, it means nothing to someone who does not know you.
Try writing statements that use this checklist:
How many people were involved
What was the time line of the task or project
What was the budget or KPI’s, or result required
What % increase, decrease or improvement was achieved
Were there other benefits to the organisation, team or clients
Try not to judge the things you have accomplished, this process is about identifying them and they differ for each of us.
Getting noticed in this competitive job market is important, providing evidence of your ability does all the heavy lifting. You are not ‘selling yourself’ which is why everyone dislikes the recruitment process by the way, you are simply identifying your achievements factually, quantifying the results and letting those outcomes show your potential employer exactly what you can achieve for them.
Are you struggling to identify your achievements?
Would you like some help to figure them out so that you give your next job application the very best shot?
Head over to our Resume and Cover Letter Services for more details.