Six Elements of a Strong Accomplishment

On Monday, I said that an accomplishment is an activity that demonstrates your skill, performance, aptitude or potential. The key is showing a hiring manager what you can accomplish for them.

A strong accomplishment has six elements that need to be present:

  • Clear – The reader needs to be able to understand what the accomplishment is

  • Concise – As we everything else in a resume, don’t expect the reader to read lengthy text

  • Specific – The more specific the accomplishment, the better

  • Your Role – What responsibility and authority did you have

  • How – What were the activities you did

  • Benefit – What was the benefit to your employer

The key to presenting an impressive accomplishment is meeting all six of these requirements. To do this, you need to include a little more information than is usually provided.

Most people provide accomplishments that are clear and concise. Although still common, being specific is an area of opportunity for some. Listing what the role of the person and the activities that they performed is usually missing. Finally, the benefit to the employer is often left since it is assumed to be clear. For some accomplishments, this is easy to see – saving a lot of money through process re-engineering implies you could save a lot of money for the company you are applying to. Other accomplishments may be less obvious and need more of an explanation.

Your Role and Activities

I see resumes all the time that make the mistake of not providing enough information with the accomplished. Delivering a dollar amount of cost savings, even if the amount is very large, doesn’t mean much in isolation. What did you do to achieve the results? Did commodity prices drop due to nothing you did and you’re taking credit? Expect the reader of your resume to be a little skeptical of any claims you make. Give enough detail that they want to learn the specifics.

Check back Friday for real examples of accomplishments with an assessment of each.