A killer resume is something you can almost literally take to the bank. That one page is one of your foundational personal marketing materials, presenting you as the absolute professional that you are. Or at least, that's what it should do. And that's a lot of pressure! How on earth are you supposed to condense your professional history and experience down to a single page, while also showing yourself off in a way that really sings?
Incorporating accomplishment examples is a beautiful way to communicate your value to potential employers. And it isn't as difficult to do as you might think.
Probably the most difficult part of this task will be actually talking about what you've done. Many of us have a hard time doing anything that resembles bragging, no matter how hard we worked to earn the right. But you do work hard, and you have earned the right. Don't be afraid to talk yourself up. Instead of thinking of this as going for the hard sell, remember that you're offering your services to a new employer. You're essentially showing them how you'll be able to help them. And that mindset can make "selling" yourself a little easier to swallow.
When it comes to thinking about accomplishment examples to add to your resume, focus on showing how you helped your boss, office or company. Did you save money and time by increasing efficiency with a new organizational system? How many employees were you responsible for training before that new system went live? Go ahead and quantify these results. Show your worth by showing what you've done.
Most of us have had more than a few jobs, and could probably list a bunch of accomplishment examples for each. But rather than stuff your resume to the pint where it's overflowing, running the risk of making it sloppy and hard to take in, create a master list of your overall accomplishments per position or title. Then you can add or remove these as you adjust your resume toward each position you'll be applying for. And speaking of that...
Speaking of using different accomplishments for different types of positions, is your resume flexible enough to be that adaptive? Most job descriptions are rife with key words and terms you can incorporate into your accomplishment examples with relative ease. And having that master list to pull from means that with a light amount of editing you can pivot your resume in a way that makes you look (forgive the pun) tailor-made for each position, without giving yourself a stress headache each time.
Short, sweet and to the point are the bywords of resume writing, always. You also want to use active, and not passive, language. When it comes to listing your accomplishment examples, putting your words into actions is a must: "saved X amount of money annually," "met quarterly sales goals for X years in a row" and "assisted owner in developing X new programs." These are subtle but effective ways to show you as someone who gets things done. Passive language just doesn't communicate that as, well, actively.
The way you talk about your value, in actionable terms, will vary a bit by the industry in which you work. While some accomplishment examples translate fairly well across the board, such as interviewing and training, a niche is never a bad thing to aim for. So whether you're a customer service guru or aiming for a management position, we've got a few position and industry examples to get you pointed in the right direction.
To bank on really stellar accomplishments, consider creating a "career accomplishments" section. This is ideal for career-track individuals with a great deal of experience in one specific field or industry. If you've been in sales for over 20 years, with maybe a nice list of awards or recognitions, put those to the fore on your resume. Why bury the lede? Your resume needs to shine from top to bottom.
Specifics are good. Being able to show actual numbers and real-world results is also good. But there is a point at which shoving too many numbers onto the page is simply overwhelms your resume. So be wary of crowding, focusing instead on highlight your key or most impressive stats. Recruiters and potential employees aren't going to waste time slogging their way through a messy resume.
If you're enough of a boss that you have enough accolades to justify creating an entirely separate awards section on your resume, by all means, adjust your layout and go for it. Again, just remember to keep overall appearance and scanability in mind as you work to incorporate all this information. And just because you're listing awards doesn't mean you shouldn't still add accomplishment examples to the list of your work experience. You just might have to be even more choosy about what to list.
Don't think of accomplishment examples strictly in terms of numbers or recognition only. While quantifying your accomplishments is ideal, what you did on a daily basis for any position also communicates your skills and expertise. Use any tool at your disposal to show off here. That's the point. Even if you're a newer job seeker, you can leverage what you've learned and done so far to show yourself as a capable and reliable employee. Operating a cash register or answering phones are marketable skills. The work you put into learning and growing those skills is an accomplishment in and of itself.
[address and contact information]
Award-winning manager with over 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Flexible and team-oriented, with demonstrated leadership ability. Thrives in challenging, on-the-fly environments. Recipient of the Golden Avocado three years in a row.
Big Joe's Shake Shack, shake staff 2002-2004
Big Chain Burger, burger flipper 2003-2004
Fancy Cafe, assistant manager 2004-2007
Another Fancy Cafe, manager 2007-2009
FancyPants Restaurant, manager 2009-Present
SKILLS: Customer Service, Restaurant Management, Payroll, Inventory & Cost Management, Scheduling, Interviewing & Hiring, Employee Training, Menu Planning.
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