top of page
  • Lori A. Jazvac

Formulating Achievements for Exceptional Résumé Building: Highlight Your Value

Are you struggling with formulating the achievements in your résumé?

This can be the most challenging piece to showcasing your overall brand and value in the résumé. Achievements are critical in empowering the employer to continue reading about your offerings and understand how you could add value to their company.

Accomplishments take time to build, and equally, they need to be communicated in the right way. Without a solid strategy to create achievements, the task can seem daunting.

Failing to highlight achievements in the résumé accurately can hinder your candidacy.

Why do “achievements” in résumé building pose a challenge for jobseekers?

...Because jobseekers may...

  • believe that their achievements are trivial compared to industry standards or their colleagues’ performance

  • fear that quantifying or highlighting achievements may oversell or undersell their value or their brand

  • be uncomfortable about highlighting their value

  • think achievements are not really important in the résumé or to employers, especially past achievements

  • not understand the true purpose or value of achievements

  • place too much weight on responsibilities of current/previous roles

  • fail to understand how to quantify/describe their achievements

  • not recall their achievements at all or enough about them

  • have no or little evidence to discuss achievements at the interview

  • have never bothered to track any milestones over the years and so they may find this task for résumé building overwhelming

Tell your career story in a way that is concise and compelling. Work with a professional résumé writer to help you create a stellar résumé that offers strong results.

Achievements: essential for career and networking opportunities

Accomplishments are not only required for applying for jobs or promotions. You will need to think about what you’ve achieved and share your accomplishments for these reasons:

  • Annual performance reviews

  • Regular résumé updates -- at least once every few months

  • Informational interviews

  • Volunteering or community leadership roles

  • Board or committee roles

  • Recruiters may request your résumé or wants to know about your achievements for upcoming opportunities

  • Consideration for awards or nominations

  • Academic program applications

  • Networking events or conferences (résumé or biography)

  • Presentations or speaking engagements

Speaking of performance evaluations, if your current supervisor does not provide any (which sometimes occurs), it is even more important to detail and track your own accomplishments.

Be creative; think strategically.

Don’t discount achievements -- this is a value builder and key piece to your brand marketing collateral and your growth!

Develop You Own 'Creative Brag Book'

Create your own portfolio of accomplishments and milestones that you can retain, improve, and evaluate. Your “personal brag book” will help you to understand what sets you apart and will aid in career forecasting and planning, career growth and management.

  • Choose a simple, yet efficient method to track your accomplishments — using Microsoft Word, Evernote, Excel spreadsheet, or simply sending yourself emails — or offline in a paper file, notebook, diary, or log.

  • Determine if a brag book — called a portfolio or interview presentation binder — would be useful in your job search

  • Decide if you want to maintain your brag book online or offline.

  • List all the possible items you can include in your brag book:

  • Copy of your degree and any training certificates you’ve earned

  • Performance evaluations

  • Business cases and results

  • Work samples

  • Visuals that demonstrate performance and exceeding targets

  • Sales data

  • Awards and honours

  • Feedback from co-workers and/or clients

  • Letters of recommendation

  • LinkedIn recommendations

  • Testimonials from those who can affirm your work performance

  • Create a logical order and structure for your brag book. Organize the information into sections: Education, Work Experience, Awards/Honors, Testimonials and Endorsements, and Community or Organization Contributions.

  • Curate your book.

  • Choose only the best examples of your work.

  • Leave out the redundant content.

  • Keep your brag book updated by re-evaluating it quarterly or annually.

Use Care and Thought When Detailing Your Milestones

Your milestones are a key piece of your career story that you can share with others and also reflect upon for continuous improvement.

  • Take time to draft your accomplishments.

  • Keep it simple and structured. Use the Challenge / Situation – Action – Result (CAR) Method

  • What was the challenge you faced?

  • What specific actions did you take to address the challenge?

  • What was the outcome? Document numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts to quantify the impact.

  • When gathering accomplishments, think about the key areas of competency required for success in your role.

  • What are the key components of your job? Then identify accomplishments directly related to this area of emphasis.

  • How has leadership, problem solving, or innovation played a role in managing key projects? What was the strategy that you used to achieve goals? Did you meet or exceed targets; by how much?

Achievements can be derived from other areas such as:

• Current job/most recent position

• Previous work experience

• Summer jobs/work-study positions

• Volunteer activities

• Temporary work

• Educational experiences (internships, class projects, group projects,

or study-abroad programs)

• Professional organizations

• Involvement in sports or other extracurricular activities

• Consulting or freelance projects

• Social networking accomplishments

• Events/conferences

Can you quantify your accomplishments through any of these superlatives? For example: only, first/last, best/worst, most/least, greatest/smallest etc.

Effective Tips for Formulating Achievements

Clearly Relate Achievements to Your Focus

  • Highlight accomplishments that relate directly to your career focus. What are key measures for success in your role?

  • For instance, if you're applying for a sales role, consider showcasing customer service excellence, revenue growth, performance improvements or cost reductions.

Accuracy, Balance, and Conciseness are Key

  • An employer will likely look to your most recent achievements first.

  • Ensure that the most compelling achievements are showcased at the top.

  • Remember, 100% accuracy is important!

  • Convey a bit about the backstory showing your success strategy.

  • Demonstrate impact concisely with solid metrics. Use context to include the challenge/situation -- show the big picture.

Remember the 'Rule of Six'

  • Rule of Six: Keep achievements to maximum of 6 bullets per position if possible for ease of readability.

  • Categorize achievements under functional areas or skills so that they are easier to digest and read. (Example: transformational leadership, operational efficiency, or process improvements etc.)

  • Sum up the achievements with a one-line header to draw the employer’s attention. See below examples.

  • Use high-impact verbs to begin the achievement.

  • Lead with metrics for maximum impact. Think "results first."

  • Incorporate visuals for emphasis using a text box, graphic, or graph.

Take Accomplishments to the Next Level – Analyze Further to Get Accurate and Relevant Results

What many clients (jobseekers) fail to do is quantify or delve deeper with the accomplishments to show value. Their résumé stops at the responsibilities and often, their value is not shown.

Employers want to see the results! get the big picture of your capabilities and performance. Demonstrate how you can meet their strategic goals or buying motivators.

Here are some questions to help you formulate additional accomplishments:

  • What is unique about how you do your job? What sets you apart?

  • What does your current boss recognize you for?

  • Do you have targets or goals in your current position? How have you been able to meet or exceed these goals?

  • Were you hired to meet a particular challenge for the company?

  • Were you rewarded with any additional responsibility?

  • What special projects have you worked on?

  • How did you go above and beyond to generate growth, save money or time, create new processes / systems, or impact stakeholders?

The examples of achievements below use keywords to break the achievements down (example #1) or a key statement to highlight the candidate's unique value. (example #2). Each include the strategy.

Example #1:

  • Process Improvements: Reduced approval time of expense reports 65%+ –– from 3 weeks to 1 week by implementing a web expense management system.

  • Operational Efficiencies: Accelerated financial capabilities and promoted continuous improvement by instituting a web-based budgeting system.

Example #2:

Streamlined reporting from days to hours to meet customer needs while cultivating sound decision-making.

  • Operational Efficiencies: Accelerated financial capabilities and promoted continuous improvement by instituting a web-based budgeting system.

Leverage Accomplishments for Self-Reflection & Growth

Assess your accomplishments to get the “big picture” of your work and career to set current and future goals. Perhaps you may need to take more courses, join some associations, or refine your marketable skills.

Leverage the achievements to uncover new patterns, career themes, exciting ideas, and success strategies for uplevelling your career.

For more information on receiving a compelling résumé package that incorporates solid results, contact Creative Horizons Communications. Visit

Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon!

22 views0 comments
bottom of page