The best way to demonstrate excellence and success when applying for a job is to prominently list your achievements in your resume. For your resume to stand out, it must be more than a simple list of responsibilities from previous jobs. It should show how you met goals, exceeded expectations, and achieved important milestones. Your resume has to show how you can add value to a company, not just how you can do the bare minimum. Emphasizing your achievements is crucial to capturing the attention of employers.
To get started, here are a few tips for selecting and writing about your accomplishments.
- Brainstorm: Start by making a list of all of your impressive work-related achievements from previous positions. Any achievement that shows leadership, creativity, and hard work is worth writing down. Don’t worry about relevance for now--just focus on collecting all of your accomplishments in one place. Achievements may include:
- Time you saved for the company
- Special projects you worked on
- Revenue you generated
- Media coverage you gained for the company
- Funding, grants or scholarships you received
- Money you saved for the company
- Social media engagement
- Volunteering accomplishments
- Customize your achievements for the specific role: From your list of achievements, select the ones that are most relevant to the job you are pursuing. These are the achievements that you should add to your resume. To decide which achievements are relevant, study the company, your role, and the job posting.
- Use power words: When describing your achievements, use action words like "designed," "created," "initiated," "planned," and "accomplished". This language portrays you as proactive and effective.
- Demonstrate the relevance of your achievements: Employers are always looking for candidates who will add value to their company. Your achievements should show how you are able to solve problems, meet goals, and think creatively. Each example must show that you would make a great addition to the employer’s company.
Add your achievements to the Work Experience section
Your work experience section, where your previous jobs are listed and described, is the most important part of your job application. It is also the best place to show your achievements in your resume. Here is how you can make this section stand out:
- Quantify your achievements where possible.
- Make every sentence count.
- Focus on the business outcome of your actions.
- Use up to 6 bullets points for each job and focus only on what is relevant to the job you are applying for.
- If possible, begin each bullet with an action verb. Action verbs include words like, "designed," "created," "engineered," and "initiated".
The Problem-Action-Result formula
This simple formula is a useful way to approach writing about your achievements. Start by stating a problem, then describe the action you took to solve it, and finally show the outcome. Let's consider the achievements below to get a better understanding of this formula.
“Optimized website speed by refactoring the code; improved website loading speed.”
Problem? Website loading took too long.
Action? Improved the existing code.
Results? Website loading speed improved.
Quantifying Your achievements
Quantifying your experience may seem challenging, but there are a few ways you can approach your work history that will make it easy. Try to think about your achievements in terms of scale, frequency, and range:
- How many regions was the company active in?
- How many people did you manage?
- How big were the budgets you oversaw?
- Spearheaded brand revitalization across 10 national markets.
- Trained and mentored 20 associate-level employees to reach specialist positions.
- How quickly did you complete projects?
- How many times a day/week/month did you do important tasks?
- Resolved over 100 user tickets daily.
- Coordinated an internal newsletter sent every week to over 200 associates.
If the number is not exact, feel free to give a range instead. For example, you can say:
“Spearheaded marketing strategy pivot, saving the company $ 14, 000 -$ 20, 000 annually.”
Make your best achievements prominent
When you list achievements in your resume, it is important to show the best ones first. If you have some particular achievements that you would like to highlight, you can even place them in a separate section near the top of your resume. This may be in your Summary section, or in a distinct Achievements section. This way, they will be prominently featured and well-positioned to catch the eye of a recruiter. As the University of Missouri says, “Always put the most important and relevant information first on your resume.”
- Managed training and travel schedules for a company with 500+ employees
- Implemented a new and advanced CRM with reporting capabilities
- Cut office costs by 25% and improved efficiency
- Achieved Employee of the Month for five consecutive months
- Third highest sales rate for store rewards cards
- Successfully trained and mentored 10 junior staff members
- Achieved 25% higher revenue than store average
- Completed projects within deadlines, securing at least 95% client satisfaction scores
- Created a mobile app that got 10000+ downloads
- Deployed new designs with 15% faster page loads
- Completed two study abroad experiences and a semester-long research internship with XYZ Company
- First Place, 2019 Innovation Award: awarded $15,000 for the best senior project by faculty vote
- Completed a two-month internship with Microsoft. Recommended by the internship supervisor for resourcefulness and attention to detail
- Supervised 25 MA theses and 6 Ph.D. dissertations
- Published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals
- Member of the Postgraduate Studies Board from 2015 to 2018
- Given 5 commendations for efficient 4-handed dentistry from lead Dentist
- Reduced setup time for dental procedure preparation by 25%
- Cut lead time for recruiting by approximately 50%
- Increased training participation by 19%
- Enhanced the open rate for email customer campaigns by 18%.
- Increased landing page conversion rates by 29%.
- Grew a marketing blog from zero to 125,000 visits/month in 6 months.
- Increased Facebook conversion rate by 45% with new copywriting strategy.
- Led 10 product teams to 28% efficiency improvement and $12M cost savings.
- Upgraded old test system to a new system running on python, cutting average testing time by 60%
- Increased production efficiency by 35% over the previous arrangement.
- Managed the highly successful Digital Training project for 5 years.
- Created our popular escape room relocation project.
- Wrote an article on advanced scheduling techniques for "Northeast PMP Weekly" magazine. Article was linked to by "Forbes" magazine.
How to list awards on a resume
Put them in a separate section
Awards can be listed separately from your Achievements. If you have several awards to showcase, you may want to add a separate Awards section. As you list them, remember the following:
- List them in reverse chronological order, with the most recent awards at the top
- List all your relevant industry awards
- List international, national, and internal company awards
- Include the name of the award and the year you received it
2019, Digital Marketing Award
2017, Kenya Investment Authority Marketing Campaign of the Year
2015, Flemish Informatics, Knowledge Management Award
Add Your Awards Won While Working in A Given Position
Instead of a separate section, you can also include your awards in the work history section. Each award can be displayed alongside the job you received it for. You may want to add a subsection such as "Accomplishments" or "Key achievements," or simply add the awards as bullet points in the list.
- Spearheaded the design of a new digital marketing strategy that helped the company save $4,500 – $12, 000 yearly.
- Helped secure a six-year exclusive deal with a key client.
- Helped in the design of digital repository that was aimed at solving hiccups in information management.
- Received the Knowledge Management award in 2016.