Listing accomplishments on your resume can get you more job interviews and get you hired for higher positions, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it.
And many job seekers waste a big opportunity by not knowing the right way to list accomplishment statements and past success on a resume.
Coming up, we’ll look at:
The best accomplishments to put on your resume are work accomplishments, especially those that are relevant to the jobs you’re pursuing now.
(Always check the job description when deciding which achievements are best to mention. This will help you stand out from other candidates).
Your work accomplishment examples should demonstrate to a hiring manager that your past work prepared you to step into their job and succeed now.
That’s the main goal in listing achievements on a resume.
Always review the duties and responsibilities on the job description and then think about which of your achievements relate to that type of job. That’s what you should emphasize on your resume.
Also, hiring managers will view your accomplishments and work experience as more relevant/significant if you performed them somewhat recently. So your resume should include more achievements that occurred in your two or three most recent positions.
For example, for your most recent role, you may want to include eight to ten bullet points. For the next role, maybe only six or seven. After that, for older positions, you may want to include even fewer.
Below are 35 examples of good accomplishment statements for your resume. Use the examples below to brainstorm your own list of achievements.
As you can see, you can mix a variety of academic awards, club and sport participation, and presentations and projects, and your grades! These are all fair game when writing resume achievements as a student.
When you don’t have any full-time work experience yet, your academic work is your experience, so it’s important to show details beyond the name of your university and the degree you earned! Share more detail and you’ll stand out from other students and entry-level candidates.
Note that you can vary how you begin each resume bullet. While many of your bullets should begin with verbs like, “Spearheaded,” you can also start others with a job title, like “Administrative Assistant.” You can see this in the first two examples in the list of bullets above.
Having some variety in language makes your resume more interesting to the reader, and using your job title in a few bullets is an effective way of adding some great keywords to your resume to get past any automated application systems the employer is using.
As you can see from the examples above, you can mix in achievements that highlight your day-to-day work, but also any projects you led, process improvement actions you implemented to save the department time or money, etc.
You can also mention any leadership skills used, such as training new team members, participating in the interview process when hiring new staff, etc.
These work achievements all show potential employers that you were trusted by your previous company and can bring valuable skills to your next position!
Sales jobs tend to be some of the easiest in terms of coming up with professional accomplishments on a resume, so I won’t put too many here. Just remember, always look at the job description and demonstrate skills that are relevant for the jobs you’re applying to now. And always think about how your duties and responsibilities can be quantified.
Now that we’ve looked at resume accomplishment examples above, let’s talk about why it’s important to show this in your resume (and in a job interview).
The reason resume accomplishments are so powerful is that they provide proof of your past successes and abilities, and also paint a detailed picture for the employer in terms of what you could do for them.
Sharing a few examples of past successes is the best way to prove that you’ll have strong future performance as well.
For example, if an employer sees that you helped your last company grow a key metric or succeed and grow, they’ll be thinking, “Wow, imagine what this person could do for us now!”
It’s always more convincing and memorable to provide specific proof of what you’ve achieved rather than only listing duties and responsibilities on a resume.
Imagine you’re writing your resume and trying to describe your contribution to developing a new product.
If you’re like most people, you might write a bullet point like this:
Now imagine you list this work accomplishment on your resume like this instead:
In the second example above, instead of just talking about your basic duties, you’re showing the exact impact your work had on a company’s success. That’s going to set you apart and make recruiters and hiring managers more excited to talk to you.
Not all accomplishments will impress employers, though. So now let’s cover what to put for accomplishments on a resume…
To start writing your own accomplishment list for your job search, it may be helpful to look at past job descriptions of the roles you’ve held. Or, use your memory and begin to write down your typical work in a day, week, and month.
What were your main job duties?
Where did you spend the bulk of your time? What were you responsible for? Most importantly, what did you help the company achieve or improve?
That last part is the most important for impressing a hiring manager and winning interviews.
A list of resume bullets starting with, “Responsible for” is generic and NOT going to win over a hiring manager.
So always think about how your work tasks and duties actually helped the company, and then quantify them as much as possible!
Numbers paint a clearer picture and grab the reader’s attention on your resume, so include numbers and data when possible. Consider including the following:
Of course, you can also include non-numerical achievements, such as:
You may need to ask colleagues and coworkers for ideas or do some research to quantify everything, but the more you can assign specific numbers and results to specific job tasks on your resume, the better.
This article has examples of good power words and verbs for a resume to help you start brainstorming. It also explains why you never want to start bullets with, “Responsible for…”
You can also name group and company achievements to give context to the impact of your work. For example, if you’re an administrative assistant supporting a certain team, you can talk about how much revenue that team brought in.
Even if you only played a small role, you were a part of that effort!
You’ll see this a lot in the resume accomplishment samples coming up… so make sure to read the next section carefully.
The bottom line is, don’t feel like you can only include individual resume accomplishments. If you were part of a group, list what your group achieved, too!
The best place to list accomplishments on your resume is under your work experience, particularly in your bullets. Your resume bullets are the ideal place to list work accomplishments because bullets stand out visually and grab the reader’s attention. They are almost always one of the first places that recruiters and hiring managers look at on a resume.
You can also write a couple of key accomplishments in your resume summary paragraph at the top of the document. But then list even more in your bullets under your employment history.
Those are the two most important places to put this information on your resume.
And in general, if you’re not currently using bullets on your resume, that’s a big missed opportunity. Don’t rely on long paragraphs to describe your work. Long paragraphs get skipped or skimmed over!
It’s okay to have a short introductory paragraph describing each role (before the bullets), and it’s also okay to begin your resume with a one-paragraph summary of key accomplishments. But the bulk of your employment history section should be in bullet format because that’s what employers will read carefully!
But if you want to provide some additional info, then you can consider adding a dedicated “Key Achievements” section.
This can help you include some additional keywords on your resume and variations of keywords. And if you’ve racked up many professional awards and impressive results across a long career, it allows you to show everything in one place at-a-glance.
If you decide to create this section, then the 35+ bullets we looked at above could serve as key achievement examples for you to use here, too.
However, I recommend keeping the list short (eight to ten bullets or fewer), which is also what I recommend for a skills section.
As a recruiter, I prefer to see context for where/when you used each skill, which I see in your resume work history. So that’s where most of your time/effort should go in terms of writing your resume.
Anything you include in a “Key Achievements” section should also be listed under your work experience.
For more help structuring your resume and deciding which sections to include and where, read this article about everything to put on a resume.
Different positions and industries will have vastly different accomplishments.
So one more way you can write a stand-out list of achievements and separate yourself from most candidates is to look at top talent in your industry on LinkedIn.
Most people list accomplishments right under their jobs on LinkedIn.
So you can gather far more examples there, and see some of the best achievements of your industry peers.
This may remind you of your own work achievements, and will surely give you more examples to take inspiration from.
Or, if you’re an entry-level job seeker, look at other recent graduates and see how people are listing their academic awards and other relevant accomplishments.
If many other people are listing their academic achievements in a certain way and have good jobs now, it’s a sign they’re attracting potential employers.
You’re more likely to get an interview for a position if you list results and accomplishments on your resume, especially if those results are relevant to the employer’s needs.
Don’t think of your resume as just a list of what you were responsible for in past roles. Instead, share achievements and results, and quantify them whenever possible.
There are a variety of achievements you can list, from managing a project, training a new team member, helping to sell more products, creating a new process, or receiving an award.
Find as many accomplishments as you can for your resume, and you’ll stand out from other job seekers.
If you take this approach with your resume, you’ll get more job interviews.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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