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6 Tips to Writing an Achievement-Based Résumé

Many people construct their résumé based on everyday job duties, failing to stand out or create impact. As a result, recruiters or HR Managers get the impression they are dealing with someone who can only do the basics. Although résumés need to include day-to-day job responsibilities, the way to make a résumé truly stand out is through unique, quantifiable achievements. Achievements are activities you have completed that have made a lasting impact to the company or client. Typically they are initiatives you have created, built and designed. They are absolute gold on your résumé. Keep your key duties concise and focus instead on unique accomplishments and you’ll remain ahead of your competitors. Achievement based résumés help you stand out from the crowd as they give concrete examples of your capabilities in the workplace. I have itemised some tips below on how to write an achievement-based résumé.

Step 1:  Create a list of your accomplishments

Recruiters and HR Managers want to see that you produce results in a competitive marketplace. This can be undertaken in several ways including providing examples where you increased revenue, saved the company money or enhanced team productivity. Just remember to ensure you don’t use stories or paragraphs on the résumé and use easy to read bullet points.

In order to spark ideas of workplace accomplishments, consider times when you have….

  • Exceeded targets or key performance indicators
  • Re-organised a system to make it work more efficiently
  • Achieved measurable outcomes that add value to the company
  • Trained, inducted or coached new staff members
  • Saved time or money for the company
  • Actively contributed on team projects
  • Contributed to outstanding customer service
  • Identified a problem and resolved it
  • Received awards or commendations from your supervisor
  • Substantially increased revenue for the company

Step 2:  Use the PAR Process to expend your achievements

Problem:           What was the problem or situation or challenge?

Action:              What did you do to solve the problem or improve the situation?

Result:              What was the outcome? Where possible, include percentages, dollar figures or other metrics.

For example:

Problem:           A disorganised and inefficient warehouse

Action:              Redesigned the layout to improve organisation

Result:              Saved the company $175,000 in recovered stock

Once you have completed your P-A-Rs, confirm the statements into bullet points. The most effective approach is to phrase each point as “action and result” with some slight integration of the “problem” and rephrasing of verb tenses as necessary.

Step 3:  Add numbers to your results

Using quantitative examples that include numbers helps to portray a clear picture for the person reading your résumé.  A key question to ask yourself when considering how you yield results is “By how much?” For example, perhaps you increased company revenue. This is an excellent achievement to highlight, however you need to outline the quantity or volume, including numbers/figures that verify your achievement.

Step 4:  Embrace the use of verbs.

Often people fail to use specific verbs in a résumé, which leads to a basic depiction of what tasks they actually perform in their job. Anyone can say “worked in accounting” but that doesn’t really say anything about what your job entailed. Consider using verbs that stand out such as “spearheaded” or “streamlined.”

Step 5:  Be confident about highlighting your accomplishments

Many people don’t give themselves sufficient credit because they believe it will make them sound arrogant or conceited. The truth is that a résumé doesn’t require humility as recruiters want you to tell them why you’re the right fit for the job – in essence it’s a marketing document. Hence it is imperative that you highlight your accomplishments in your résumé. You can start by including any awards and recognitions you have received, then list any other achievements that perhaps you didn’t get public recognition for then start narrowing down the best choices and writing them in bullet form.

Step 6:  Highlight something you initiated voluntarily.

Recruiters or HR Managers always have an eye out for innovators and self-starters. In short they seek employees that go “over and above,” thus bringing value to the employing company. Once you get to a certain level, the last thing employers want is someone who needs to be micro-managed which is why you should highlight projects that you initiated yourself. Did you get secure new business independently? Have you mentored other team members out of the goodness of your heart? These are all great examples of how you set out to achieve results on your own.

Writing an achievement-based résumé is a fantastic way to highlight your cultural fit and suitability as a potential asset to the organisation. If you are seeking expert advice or document preparation services from accomplished Résumé Writers, Career & Interview Coaches and are keen to get the edge over other applicants, partner with 1300 Resume to progress your career today! Call us on 1300 RESUME or send an email to [email protected] for a no obligation project critique or quotation. Having assisted 5000+ clients since 1995 to achieve promotions and job offers, we look forward to adding you to our success stories.