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Resume Help Using Accomplishment Statements

Your resume highlights your story, your accomplishments as of a set date. There are two major components or sections in the majority of resumes, the summary (or profile), perhaps the most important, followed by the experience section where you list your current and past employment details. The best way for a hiring manager to predict  what you might do in the future is to look at what you’ve been able to accomplish in the past. Accomplishment statements are the best way to showcase results. 

Accomplishment statements or “success stories” are written proof of the results, achievements, and successes  from your past work experience. They are the core of your personal marketing campaign and demonstrate what is UNIQUE about you as well as provide proof of the VALUE you can bring to a prospective employer. In order to prepare the best possible summary you need to provide the proof.

In getting started,  it’s important to do some self-reflection and self-assessment. Taking the time now to do this will expedite the process in the long run. Complete these two key steps: 

  1. Gather as much information as possible about your best current  skills.  Use a self-assessment tool, and/or ask people who know you well.  Get new insight at what you are good at, your strengths, weaknesses and unique ability.  Collect data from performance reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, old resumes and any other resources you may have.
  1. Look past the tasks to what you achieved (from a management view) and how past organizations  have benefited from having you in each position. Look for details that verify accomplishments for each entry.

Accomplishments can be drawn from your professional experience or experiences in other areas,  such as: 

  • Positive impact of your work in an organization 
  • Developing new skills 
  • Enhancing existing expertise 
  • Receiving recognition, special award, promotion or commendation 
  • Performing (or being selected to perform) higher-level tasks 

Accomplishment statements may be comprised of: 

  • Something you learned on the job 
  • Something you improved, made better, faster, easier, automated, standardized 
  • Goals you met or exceeded 
  • Recognition for performance

Questions To Jog Your Memory and Help With Your Accomplishment Statements

Have I… 

  • Invented or improved something? 
  • Achieved more with fewer resources or money? 
  • Saved the company money or found a way to reduce costs? 
  • Saved time? Increased sales? Improved productivity? 
  • Done something newsworthy or noteworthy? 
  • Designed a new process, program, or product? 
  • Developed and implemented a new procedure or program? 
  • Completed something on time or ahead of schedule? 
  • Completed a project under budget? 
  • Opened or Identified  new markets? 
  • Demonstrated outstanding leadership skills? 

Don’t use job duties or responsibilities to define your work experience.

Employers want to know the results of what you accomplished in your experience, not the job description. Duties and responsibilities typically refer to what you were supposed to do.  Accomplishments or success stories give specific examples of what YOU actually did and the IMPACT your  efforts had on your employer. 

Is it necessary for each statement on the resume to be accomplishment oriented? 

While including accomplishment statements is strongly advised because they make your resume more  substantive, incorporating a combination of accomplishment statements with descriptions of duties and  responsibilities is acceptable. 

How To Prepare  Accomplishment Statements

There are two steps to writing an accomplishment statement. The first is to identify the Problem, Action and  Results (PAR) for each one of your work experiences. The second is to write out your PAR statement and boil it down into bullet points that can be used on your resume. 

  • P = Problem, challenge or opportunity that existed 
  • A = Action you took to solve the problem 
  • R = Result or Outcome of your effort.

Two Types of Accomplishment Statements, Hard and Soft

Hard Accomplishment Statements Use numbers, percentages, and facts to convey accomplishments and results.

Examples: 

  • Grew loan portfolio from $75M to $225M and managed $50M in deposit accounts; portfolio generated  over $3M in revenue.  
  • Assisted clients with achieving portfolio growth rate of 25-30%, a higher return than market trends.  
  • Reduced day’s sales outstanding (DSO) by 10% through attentive relationship management, frequent  credit review, and proactive collection initiatives.  
  • Revamped invoicing system to reduce processing time from three weeks to five days.  ∙ As Sales Manager, produced $6.5M in revenue in 2004 with aggressive client development.  
  • Developed aggressive marketing campaigns and channel marketing programs that increased revenue  from $5M to $25M over a four-year time period.  
  • Initiated revolutionary lead tracking system that resulted in a 25% increase in new sales leads being  transferred to direct sales team. New leads resulted in $2M in incremental revenue over two years.  
  • Managed all merchandising decisions across four product categories and 13 stores. Restructured  product lines, renegotiated vendor agreements, and spearheaded new sales programs, resulting in a 45%  increase in new product sales over a three-year period.  
  • Selected and installed a new purchasing, receivables, and payables solution. Reduced purchase order  time from four weeks to one, while staff productivity increased by 35% and company saved over $90K in  annual overpayments. 
  • As part of management team, successfully completed Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  project one month ahead of schedule and $250K under budget.  
  • Developed and implemented strategic manufacturing plan including the realignment and consolidation  of six plants worldwide. New plan resulted in a 40% reduction in headcount and a 25% increase in  inventories. 
  • Managed data center for hosted small business applications. Reduced hosting costs by 35% while  maintaining superior service levels. 
  • Led a team of three IT analysts in the analysis of firm’s software maintenance costs. Made  recommendations to the senior management team that ultimately led to a yearly cost savings of $55K.

 Soft Accomplishment Statements use words to convey accomplishments and results.

Examples:

  • Developed profitable relationships with clients based on excellent customer service, plus thorough  understanding and assessment of client’s credit needs for working capital, acquisition, and investment . 
  • Improved cash reporting system and internal control procedures.  
  • Exceeded revenue goals by maintaining volume, increasing business, and renegotiating contracts with  multinational accounts.  
  • Played a pivotal role in landing ABC account in the pharmaceutical industry. Convinced ABC to leave  competitor by substantially improving perception of the firm with ABC. 
  • Developed and implemented innovative marketing communication plans which significantly increased  firm’s coverage and reputation in national, business, and trade publications.  
  • Led the development of a “New Product Introduction” kit to assist account executives with assimilating  information on new products. The kit’s comprehensive nature significantly reduced follow-up calls to  product and marketing teams and increased sales team’s ability to introduce new products.
  • Performed primary and secondary research on worldwide competitors and created internal knowledge  management system to disseminate information rapidly. Up-to-date competitive positioning caused  positive changes in product strategy and resulted in releases of products more suited to customer  requirements. 
  • Implemented new employee training program that dramatically increased productivity and morale in  key business unit. 
  • Led a cross-functional team to evaluate customer complaints; identified sources of dissatisfaction and  recommended new workflow process that greatly enhanced employee morale and customer retention. 
  • Designed and implemented competitive compensation programs resulting in improved employee  productivity and morale.

Paul is a Founding Partner and Director of Development for Passionplacement.com, an employment platform built around a central resource of curated jobs for all types of skill sets helping to place mission-aligned candidates with companies that make a difference for people, the planet and animals.  

Passion Placement also offers career coaching and training as well as employer team building, marketing and consulting services. 

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