How to Include Achievements in Your Resume
Assuming your resume is optimized for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and a recruiter actually reads it, the most important thing (presuming you’re qualified) is to clearly showcase the value you can bring to an organization.
Including your achievements in your resume is what will separate yourself from everyone else who just lists their job descriptions. In the world today where companies are spending billions of dollars to try and automate jobs to save money, you must clearly showcase why you’re better than just filling a job role.
Short & Sweet
LinkedIn conducted a detailed study of hiring managers and discovered that the average recruiter spends only 6-seconds reviewing a resume. This fact coupled with Glassdoor discovering that the average job opening receives 250 applications, means your resume must be short and sweet. Think of your resume as a marketing document that is designed to “sell” you to prospective employers rather than a laundry list of job roles/responsibilities. Your resume must quickly demonstrate your value in the 6-seconds that the average recruiter will spend reading it.
I always tell clients to visualize that they are sitting across the interviewer’s desk and is being asked, “why should we hire you…what value do you bring?” Think of your resume as your ambassador that speaks on your behalf and needs to “sell” you.
If all you include are your job duties and the processes you follow then why would anyone want to hire you? Remember, your resume is in direct competition with the other 250 resumes that the average job opening receives, meaning that it must immediately highlight the value you bring.
The best way to differentiate yourself from the masses of applicants is to quantitatively and/or qualitatively identify the value added for each position or bullet you have listed. The strongest achievements will concisely describe what you did and how it impacted the department/company.
Say you work in IT and listed, “Review daily backups by engineering a nightly backup routine, which collects and emails administrator’s logs for daily review.” However, knowing the results of your efforts, you refined this bullet to read, “Generated a 75%+ reduction in the total time necessary to review daily backups by engineering a nightly routine, which collects and emails administrator’s logs for daily review.” The refined bullet clearly identifies the value for your efforts and is distinctively stronger.
Let’s say you work in Finance and listed, “Analyze inventory trends to identify shrink.” This is what’s entailed in the job description; however, knowing your direct impact on the department you refine this bullet to read, “Identified trends that reduced inventory shrinkage more than $50,000+ over a two-year period.” The difference is significant and will help showcase your value.
Although the most compelling accomplishments are quantitatively (with numbers) listed, not every industry/role can list the achievements in this way because the impact may not be known or it may not be applicable. For example, assume you are in Quality Assurance and listed, “Provide Q/A oversight for the XYZ project and conduct performance feedback.” Upon further examination, you realize that you helped shaped how performance feedback is given that the department follows and refined the bullet to read, “Designed and implemented a continual supervision performance evaluation program, which became the standard for the department.” This bullet is now much stronger than a job description and highlights your impact even though it doesn’t list numbers.
Questions to Consider for Identifying Achievements
Did you bring in additional revenue? How much?
Did you decrease costs? How much?
Did you increase efficiency? How much?
Have you negotiated with vendors? How did it benefit the department/company?
Did you successfully lead a project? How did it benefit the department/company?
Did you create/implement a new system or program? How did it benefit the department/company?
Have you consistently met/exceeded a target?
Did you receive any awards for outstanding performance?
Do you have a perfect safety record with zero lost time?
How many people do you manage?
Have you trained people?
WHAT VALUE DO YOU BRING!!!
“What value do you bring?” is the question that you should always be prepared to answer and demonstrate on your resume and during an interview. Think about what distinguishes you from every other person at the same position. Understanding and identifying the value you’ve added is what will separate you from the other candidates who simply execute/implement processes with no cognizance of how it really impacts the company.
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.
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