Not all resumes are created equal.
It’s a well-known fact that out of 10 resumes that land on recruiters’ desks, about 7 get tossed in the bin immediately.
What is it, then, makes the remaining three resumes worthy of a second look?
- Is it the design?
- Is it the layout?
- Is it the resume’s length?
- Is it a list of impressive references?
- Is it the profile section?
You may be surprised to find out that it’s an entirely different factor altogether.
Resumes that grab the attention of recruiters have one thing in common: they contain well-articulated, strong achievements that clearly showcase a candidate’s value.
Unfortunately, most resumes fall quite short of this mark. If you’re like most people, your resume probably contains either a list of dull, poorly written achievements or a list of duties and responsibilities instead.
In other words, it’s a generic listicle of what you’ve done, rather than a demonstration of value that you’ve provided.
Typically, achievements are things that you’ve initiated, built, executed or reached. These are quite different from responsibilities that are usually listed under your job description. An achievement is typically unique to your experience – and tells an employer that you have a track record of delivering.
Most importantly, it tells the employer that you’re results-driven and possess the capacity to deliver tangible value to an organisation.
Consider these two examples:
- “I was responsible for the company’s CRM system.”
- “I rebuilt the company’s CRM system, resulting in an annual cost saving of $130,000 in admin overheads.”
Which one sounds more enticing to you?
What Types Of Achievements Should You Include?
Here are a few guidelines you should follow.
First of all, resume achievements should be quantifiable and relevant to the role. They should succinctly and clearly communicate how you’ve had a positive impact on an employer’s business. Remember to include metrics and percentages to quantify your impact.
By the way, if you’d like a professional resume writer to articulate your achievements, you should take a closer look at bios of our resume writers here.
After your resume is written, to ensure that you can explain your achievements in an interview situation, watch this video:
If what you’ve achieved was part of a team, you should still include it – but you should indicate that this was a team effort. For example:
- “Was part of a high-performance team which won the company’s Sales Team Of The Year award 3 years in a row”.
How To Identify Your Best Achievements.
Defining achievements in sales and marketing roles is pretty straightforward – you usually mention the number of leads you’ve brought in or a total amount of revenue you’ve generated.
Other types of roles can be more tricky. I think the best way to show you is through a few real-life examples:
- “Stayed under budget for 10 years while exceeding targets by 15%”
- “Have been promoted to COO after only 12 months on the job”
- Increased customer satisfaction by 15%, beating company target by 200%”
- “Digitised company’s medical record library of more than 120,000 files 12 months ahead of schedule”
- “Ran monthly customer events, resulting in 855 NPS rating”
- “Directed 25 events per year, which resulted in 1030 qualified leads”
I hope that you’re starting to see the pattern.
Do you find yourself getting stuck? Ask a former colleague or a boss for some examples of your achievements. Often, we’re quite bad at recognising our own accomplishments, so an outside perspective can ensure that you don’t neglect to showcase your true value.
Alright, so we’ve covered what constitutes as an achievement that is worthy of inclusion on your resume. Before we wrap up, let’s quickly discuss some things don’t qualify as achievements.
Knowing this will help ensure that you don’t waste any precious real estate on your resume on things that are of no significance to potential employers.
First of all, remember that you must tailor your resume to each type of role that you’re applying for. Because of this, you’ll need to omit certain achievements each time you create a different version of your resume.
I suggest that you create a “Master Achievement Document” which contains a comprehensive list of all your achievements. Use this list to cherry-pick the most relevant accomplishments for each job application. Don’t be afraid to omit those that are not relevant.
Finally, remember to list your achievements in the right order – from the most relevant to the least. Relevance, of course, is dictated by the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a Marketing Manager role, don’t kick off your list of achievements with:
- “Overhauled the office filing system, which resulted in a 130% efficiency increase within the back office team.”
While that is certainly beneficial to the business, it’s unlikely to be part of a Marketing Manager’s core mandate and will therefore not help you get a job.
When writing about your achievements on your resume, remember that it’s your opportunity to brag. This is not a time for false humility. Own your successes and let your wins shine through in a way that demonstrates a strong track record of success and a commitment to results.
A failure to clearly and boldly define your achievements will result in a weak, vague, bland resume. And that, in turn, will lead to unimpressed employers.