Accomplishment statement examples to help make your resume stand out
No matter which industry you’ve set your professional sights on, writing a top-notch resume is essential. But it can be tricky. Considering that the average corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes and that nearly 80 percent of them don’t make the first cut, you’re probably seeking all the tips you can find on how to make your resume stand out.
One tried-and-true method to capture the attention of hiring managers and recruiters when they glance at your resume for the first time is to include a number of accomplishment statements — also called descriptive statements or action statements. They allow you to highlight your achievements that are most relevant to the position you’re seeking. Listing such accomplishments on your resume alongside your typical job duties gives recruiters a good idea of what you could potentially bring to their organization.
There’s a lot that goes into writing effective accomplishment statements — from understanding the difference between duties and achievements to including quantitative support when appropriate. Read on to learn more about how to write these attention-grabbers and see some different accomplishment statement examples that can help you get started.
How to identify your accomplishments
Most every resume includes an array of job duties performed in past positions. Accomplishment statements, on the other hand, can help set your resume apart by explicitly narrating what you’ve achieved in your career. They go beyond solely explaining what your job responsibilities were. Most hiring managers already have a firm grasp on the duties associated with varying roles anyway. What they’re looking to learn is how well you performed them.
This can get confusing when it comes to recognizing the difference between abilities, duties, strengths and accomplishments. As outlined by the AARP, abilities are what you’re capable of doing, duties are what you have already done and strengths are what you do well.
Accomplishments, on the other hand, show three things:
- The precise actions you took in a given situation
- The skills and abilities you used when facing a challenge
- The results that you achieved
As you seek to identify your accomplishments, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I received awards, special recognition or a promotion?
- Have I developed a new system or procedure?
- Have I identified and resolved a problem that others didn’t see?
- Have been involved in a team effort that produced a specific result?
- Have I reduced cost or increased revenue?
- Have I helped others achieve their goals through my leadership?
- Have I helped improve communications or relations between groups?
Determine the skills that are required of the positions you’re seeking within your industry; with those in mind, consider all the times you overcame high-pressure circumstances, achieved financial goals, made efficiency improvements, showcased your leadership skills or generally exceeded expectations. If you are able to apply those experiences to the skills your prospective employers are seeking, those are perfect examples to highlight as accomplishment statements on your resume.
How to write an accomplishment statement
Identifying the various achievements that have driven your career — or even your educational experiences — forward is the first step toward making your resume stand out. But if you truly want to catch the eye of a potential employer, you’ll need to learn how to write impactful accomplishment statements.
To wrap your mind around ways to effectively present your achievements to hiring managers, it can help to try using the Challenge-Actions-Results (CAR) approach:
- Challenge – What was the existing problem, need or situation?
- Actions – What did you do about the challenge?
- Results – What outcomes did you produce?
Once you’ve identified which accomplishments to highlight, you need to figure out how to actually write about them. To craft statements that can really bring your achievements to life, consider the following four guidelines:
- Focus less on your job duties and more on what you actually accomplished.
- Start your statements with impactful language, such as action verbs.
- Use quantitative measurements when you can, with an emphasis on tangible results.
- Focus only on skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you’re seeking.
The more relevant detail you can provide in your accomplishment statements, the more impressive they will be for the hiring managers who read your resume. A mildly effective accomplishment statement may read, “Hosted networking events.” But there are some ways to improve it. Consider the following two ways you could make the statement better:
- Stronger — “Hosted networking events that increased membership and promoted community awareness.”
- Strongest — “Hosted 15 networking events, drawing an attendance of more than 2,000 community members that resulted in a 30% membership increase.”
Accomplishment statement examples to help get you started
As you come closer to writing your own accomplishment statements, you may want to see some concrete examples. Katy Curameng, director of career planning and development at University of Massachusetts Global, offers the following examples of both quantitative and qualitative statements:
Examples of quantitative accomplishment statements:
- “Reconciled end-of-day receipts with cash and credit transactions to account for daily sales averaging $1,500.”
- “Researched and wrote feature articles for UMass Global Speaks, a biweekly student newspaper with a readership of over 11,000.”
- “Handled late accounts effectively, securing $5,000 in past-due accounts.”
- “Gained a reputation for working well on a team, receiving a ‘Team Player’ award.”
- “Raised more than $10,000 at annual fundraiser, increasing attendance and media coverage from previous years.”
- “Maintained internet site as it grew to 2,000-plus stages and images that generated 200 hits daily.”
- “Awarded ‘Sales Associate of the Month’ in September 2018.”
Examples of qualitative accomplishment statements:
- “Entrusted to work and uphold protocol within corporate office among high-level executives.”
- “Organized database to track business contacts and was commended for attention to detail and accuracy.”
- “Broadened and maintained an extensive network of contacts and clients.”
- “Interacted with diverse customers on a constant basis, promoting excellent communication and customer service skills.”
- “Managed daily operations of upscale bar and restaurant, including opening and closing operations, inventory management, new employee training, customer service and sales.”
- “Praised for the ability to solve difficult problems independently and efficiently.”
Create a resume that stands out
Embarking upon a new job search can be intimidating. But if you’re armed with a resume that effectively showcases your experience, abilities and accomplishments, you stand a better chance of catching the eye of potential employers.
Using the tips, guidelines and accomplishment statement examples outlined above can help you create a resume that will set you up for success in your job search and beyond. Hungry for even more of the guidance University of Massachusetts Global’s Career Development Center offers to its students? Take a look at the Career Search category within UMass Global’s blog.
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