Resume Tip: Turn Your Job Duties into Accomplishments

The resume and cover letter are your keys to gaining an interview, so it’s very important to make sure you persuade the hiring manager to give you the time of day. The best way to persuade a hiring manager is by describing your accomplishments at your previous jobs, not your responsibilities.

Difference between Accomplishment & Duty/Responsibility

To put it simply, duties and responsibilities are what you did or were responsible for. Accomplishments describe how well you did your job.  Accomplishments reflect how you benefited your previous employer and the kind of worker you are. They stand out more to a hiring manager and the best accomplishments are ones that can be measured.

Many job seekers make the mistake of listing the duties and responsibilities at their past jobs rather than spell out their accomplishments. This either tells the hiring manager that they copied and pasted the job description from when they were first hired (lazy) or they didn’t accomplish anything at their previous job (not worth an interview).  Often times, hiring managers can also get a sense of what your job duties were based on the job title.

Other than for the immature chuckle, “duty” has no reason to be on your resume and here’s how to revamp your resume.

Steps to Add Accomplishments to your Resume

1.      Make a List of Accomplishments

Think back to your previous positions and jot down any accomplishments, completed projects, or contributions to the company. To help you remember, ask yourself:

  • Did you receive recognition or pats on the back from your supervisor or colleagues for anything specific?
  • Did you receive a promotion, bonus, or award as a result of something you did?
  • Were you specially selected for projects or committees?
  • Was there a particularly challenging project that you completed?
  • What were you known for?
  • Did you save the company money?
  • Did you implement new processes to improve things at work?
  • Did you meet or exceed any goals or quotas?

2.      Sprinkle with Numbers & Results

Now that you have a list of accomplishments, add your measurables. These are numbers that quantify how impactful those accomplishments were. Think about what resulted from your accomplishments. For example, “increased sales by 25% due to new customer service procedures that I created and implemented.”

You want to make sure that you demonstrate the benefit that your accomplishment had on your previous company and employer. This gives the hiring manager a better picture of what they can expect when they hire you.

3.      Pull it Together & Insert in Resume

Now you’re ready to start plugging accomplishments in your resume. Pick out no more than 3 accomplishments and at least 1 per position. Each statement should lead with the result of your accomplishment to grab the hiring manager’s attention and end by explaining what you did. You can also include a comparison of what the results were before your accomplishment. For example, “Dramatically increased email click rate from 22% to a record high of 74%, as a result of strategic changes to email blast content.”

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