When you're writing your resume, it's important to focus on results rather than responsibilities. After all, hiring managers want to know what you've accomplished, not what you were supposed to do. In order to make your achievement statements stand out, it's important to move from responsibility to result. In other words, start by stating what you did, and then explain the impact that it had. Here are tips from our recruiters to craft the strongest achievement statements for your resume:
Achievement v. Responsibility
To build a strong achievement statement, it is important to first understand the difference between achievement and responsibility on a resume. A responsibility is something that is assigned to you, while achievement is something that you accomplish. For example, “managed a team of four” is a responsibility, while “led a team of four to successfully complete X project” is an achievement.
Thus, the big difference between achievement and responsibility is the impact. Responsibilities are always the things about how you did something. Achievements tie the how to a what and why. Keeping this in mind is what will help you to build the strongest achievement bullets for your resume.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to craft an achievement statement for your resume is to include numbers. Doing this makes it easier for people skimming your resume to visualize what you did and how it impacted the organization. For example, let’s say you increased sales by 15%. By including this number, the reader can immediately see the significance of your achievement.
When selecting numbers, be careful about how you convey them on your resume. This is particularly important when trying to make a career change or to move to a different type of organization. For example, if you are at a larger organization now and want to move to a mid-size or smaller organization, the fact that you manage multi-million budgets may make you look overqualified. The same is true if you are trying to move from a smaller organization to a larger one.
There are also some numbers that you can't or shouldn't disclose on your resume. This may be because the numbers are confidential or pretty sensitive in your industry. To avoid these challenges in using numbers, consider using percentages on your resume whenever possible. Percentages show change up or down and that can be the result of your efforts.
The resume bullets below are examples of responsibility and achievement.
- Managed a team of four
- Led a team of 4 to successfully complete X project
By including this number, the reader can immediately see the significance of your achievement.
Focus on You
The entire point of writing your resume is to market you for the job that you want using your prior experience to show that you are qualified for the jobs that you are pursuing. This means that the resume should focus on what you did and how that impacted the organization, its clients, or your team.
Keeping yourself in focus is key to making sure that the bullets move from responsibility to achievement. You can do this by thinking about and communicating what you did in the situation that yielded the result that you are trying to convey on your resume.
When writing achievement statements for your resume, be sure to use powerful action verbs. These will help you to demonstrate what you did in a way that is clear and concise. Starting the bullet with a verb will also ensure that you are focused on the result in the statement. It will also catch the attention of the person skimming to quickly see what your role was in the example.
Here are some high impact action verbs to start creating your achievement statements:
Think About Impact
The key to building achievement statements is to focus on the outcome of the item that you are trying to convey on your resume. This could be an outcome for your client, your team, the products, or the entire company. By thinking about the impact of what you did, it will be easier for you to write an achievement statement that is clear and concise.
For example, let’s say that you were responsible for developing a new training program for your team. You can turn this into an achievement by adding information about how the team performed after completing the training.
Here is an example of how you could turn responsibility into an achievement:
Responsibility: Developed a new training program for the sales team
Achievement: Led the sales team to successfully complete the new training program which resulted in a 15% increase in sales
The resume bullet above moves from responsibility to result by adding information about the impact of the training program that was developed.
Moving from responsibility to achievement requires specificity. This will help to ensure that the resume bullet points that you include are clear and concise. It will also help to make sure that your resume is tailored to the job that you are applying for.
When you are specific, it will be easier for the resume reader to see how your experience is relevant to the job that they are trying to fill. This can make a big difference in whether or not you move forward in the resume review process.
Here is an example of a specific achievement statement:
- Launched a new product successfully to generate over $100,000 in revenue
The resume bullet above is specific about the outcome of launching the new product. This can be helpful to include on your resume because it shows the direct impact of your efforts.
Factor in the Change
Taking responsibility to achievement can be as simple as thinking about a change in the organization or your approach to doing your job. This can be a change that you identified or that you helped to launch.
For example, let’s say that you were able to improve customer satisfaction ratings by implementing a new process. You can turn this into an achievement by adding information about the change in customer satisfaction ratings.
Here is an example of how you could turn a responsibility into an achievement:
Responsibility: Implemented new process to improve customer satisfaction
Achievement: Identified and led the implementation of a new process that increased customer satisfaction ratings by 20% in 30 days.
The resume bullet point above is focused on how that changed process improved the customer experience. This shows that you are focused on the customer and that you helped deliver.
Address the People Involved
Achievements can also include the types of people involved in obtaining the result. You may want to consider adding information about the team that you led or the clients that you served. This can help to paint a picture of your experience and what you are capable of achieving. It also helps the hiring manager to understand the scope of your experience and the skills used in obtaining the result.
Here is a comparison of a responsibility and achievement centered around people involved in a result.
Responsibility: Manage the customer service team.
Achievement: Managed the 12 person customer service team with varying backgrounds to their strengths to increase employee engagement by 33%.
Provide Context with Comparisons
One of the most overlooked tactics to building a strong achievement statement is to think about how your result compares to others on the team. You may want to consider adding information about how your performance compares to others in your role or the company. This can help to provide context around the resume bullet point and make it more relatable to the recruiter and hiring manager.
Here is an example of how you could provide context with a comparison:
- Successfully closed $100,000 in sales
The resume bullet above could be made stronger by adding information about how this compares to others in the role or company.
For example, you could say:
- Closed over $1M in new business to achieve top sales rating in the country out of a sales team of 100 people.
This resume bullet point is now focused on how your result and provides a comparison to the rest of your team to provide important context.
When you are writing your resume, remember to focus on moving from responsibility to achievement in your resume bullets. This will help to make sure that your resume is focused on your experience and what you have accomplished in your career. By using these tips, you can create achievement statements that will stand out to resume readers and help you to land the job that you want.