Accomplishments: The Crux of Your Job Search

When I work with resume clients, we spend a lot of time going through their professional experience. While we certainly talk about their positions and job responsibilities, that’s only a small portion of what we share on that one or two pieces of paper. The crux of the document is their accomplishments — and those are also a vital part of not only the resume but of the job search as well.

What Are Accomplishments?

There’s a simple formula I give clients to identify accomplishments across their career: challenge, action and result. That means that you need to look at your previous positions in terms of what was going wrong, what did you do to mitigate that, and what kind of outcome did you cause? The result is what distinguishes an accomplishment from your job tasks, and it’s always best if it can be quantitative (although qualitative is also good).

Using Accomplishments on Your Resume

Accomplishments are about the only things on your resume that should be bulleted. In a chronological format, they go under each position you’ve had; in a functional format, they are attached to the skills you share with the reader. The best way to word them is to lead with the result and then outline the action; the challenge doesn’t have a place on the resume.

Sharing Accomplishments in an Interview

If you’ve been on an interview, you know that savvy hiring managers ask situational questions: “Tell me about a time when….” Your answers to these questions should always be accomplishments. What the interviewer is doing is giving you the challenge — and then asking you to supply the action and result. If you’ve already reviewed your career background through writing a great resume, the interview will be a piece of cake!

Punch Up Introductions with an Accomplishment

So often, I see job seekers at a loss for words when offered the opportunity to give a 30-second commercial at a networking event. But this is an excellent time to share what you want to be and an accomplishment that highlights how you have added value to a past employer. It connotes that you are confident in your abilities and are able to sell yourself to a potential employer. Win win!

Great Accomplishments Translate to a New Job

The act of developing your accomplishments is truly invaluable. You will put them on your resume, share them in interviews, and tell people about them when they ask what you do for a living. So get working on your accomplishments and get ready for a brand-new job!


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