Resume Tips : Valuable Ways of Presenting Your Achievements

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Welcome to Part 3 of our Resume Tips Series.

Not quite sure what the difference is between a responsibility and an achievement? You are not alone.

Many people I meet, find it confusing to separate responsibilities and achievements in their resumes. So let’s give some clarity around each of them and then let’s look at in interesting way to present these in your resume. 

Responsibilities

Simply put, responsibilities are those tasks highlighted in a Job Description or Development Plan.  They are what you have been asked to do by the company you work for. Examples include ‘Run weekly team meeting’ or ‘Minimum of 10 client meetings per week’ or ‘Deliver weekly report by Friday 10am’. They are specific and often measurable. They set out what you take ownership for in the role.

How you complete your responsibilities and to what level, will determine your success in the role. Which brings us to your ‘achievements’.

Achievements

Your achievements are the results of the actions you have taken when executing your responsibilities. When you have delivered to the measurements attached to your responsibilities, or even have gone above and beyond your responsibilities, then you have achieved in your role.

Importantly, the results you have delivered, have made a positive impact difference to the business.

A way to work out an achievement is to look at a responsibility or task you have been asked to do in a role you have had. Take a moment to think about what this task required. What event at work comes to mind? Does this event give you a sense of pride? You know you did it well and without you, the results would not have made the same positive impact. You made a difference. These events that evoke a sense of self-pride are your achievements.

Achievements don’t have to be mammoth events where you received CEO recognition or an award. They should however come with some sort of measurement of success. This could be in the form of a number (%  or $). Eg Customer engagement rose by 5% or Market share grew to 30%. Or it can be an acknowledgement of your achievement received from a senior member of the business. Eg. You manager has emailed you to commend your achievement and its contribution to the business. 

Tip: use percentages to avoid giving any confidential information on a business’s revenue.

Examples of Responsibilities vs Achievements: 

Responsibility – What I have been asked to do Achievement – How I did this and results delivered.
Drive new business revenue  I increased new business revenue by 10% in FY 20.  By reviewing sales activity levels and market segmentation, I initiated an incentivised and sustained focus on three categories that were previously not targeted by the business. 
Analyse data to identify cost reduction opportunities I decreased operational costs by 5% over three months. My in depth analysis identified product wastage at one of the manufacturing sites. I then identified this wastage at other sites and the solution was extended across all sites.

Notice how these achievements show the outcomes delivered for the business? It is essential that your achievements present in this way. To your potential new employer, your achievements are saying “I have achieved this great result for a previous company, and I can do that for you too. Hire me, because I can help solve the problems you want resolved”.

Results are usually demonstrated in two main ways.

Firstly, in the revenue you have delivered either in growth or cost reduction saves money. Example: “On target delivery of $30m cost saving programme over three years”.

Secondly, in the time you have saved by making an improvement to processes. Example: “Streamlined the month end reporting and forecasting processes. I  redesigned reporting to align to the needs of key stakeholders. This reduced labour costs by 30% and delivered an improved quality in reporting”.

Each achievement above includes a measurement of success. However this is not always possible. Sometimes only qualitative results can be delivered. If so, ensure they are delivered clearly and concisely. An example of a qualitative achievement is “Developed a mentorship program allowing access to knowledge across company hierarchy”. 

In your resume, your achievements should provide top-line detail on your result. Just enough information to whet the appetite of the person reading your resume so that they make contact with you and invite for a phone, online or in-person interview. When they make contact, you know your resume has done it’s work.

This is the third segment in a series of Resume Tips Next up… Great and not so great reasons for leaving a role

 

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