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How to Showcase Achievements on Your Resume: Turning Responsibilities into Accomplishments

Revision Resume regularly reaches out to hiring managers to learn what they are seeking on current resumes. During these conversations, we hear about what they don't like to see too. One of their biggest complaints, is applicants submitting what boils down to a list of responsibilities.


We see this as well when we are critiquing resumes for job seekers. Clients will literally just list what they are supposed to be doing each day in their role. Often they even start bullets with "Responsible for...."


Why is Listing Responsibilities on a Resume Such a Negative?


A hiring manager doesn't learn much about you as a job applicant when you only provide what you are responsible for. They want to know what you actually did in your previous roles. In other words, what did you achieve and how did you achieve it?


In resume writing training, we talk a lot about using the STAR Method, also called the PAR approach. (STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. PAR is for Problem, Action, and Result.)


When a resume lists responsibilities, it just shows the tasks. A hiring manager would like to know what actions you took and the result of those actions. That will show what kind of employee you will be when they hire you.


How Can You Turn the Responsibilities into Accomplishments?


Turning your responsibilities into accomplishments requires a few steps. Let's look at each one:


  1. Consider each of your responsibilities and try to identify what you achieved. You may not come up with something for every single task, and that is OK. But try to come up with times you met or exceeded your goals. Did you ever improve the process, or help achieve a company success?

  2. Use the STAR or PAR method as you evaluate your previous work experience. What was the problem or task you faced? What action did you take to address it? What was the outcome? This will help you rewrite your bullets with details, moving away from just listing responsibilities by instead incorporating actions and results as well.

  3. If your bullets start with the words "responsible for," or something along those lines, try to come up with a new action verb that instead shows the achievements you brainstormed in steps 1 and 2. Examples might include, "Increased profit 10% through..." or "Improved efficiency by..." or "Achieved on-time, accurate payroll for ...."


Why is Listing Accomplishments on a Resume SO Challenging?


We believe that people often list responsibilities on their resume because it is much easier than trying to list accomplishments. There are few reasons for this.


Some of our clients still have the job description from when they were hired for their current role. They simply copied that list of job responsibilities into their resume, because it was easily accessible to them. It is not as easy to pull up a list of actions and results. Yes, it requires time and thought -- perhaps digging into past emails -- to identify these successes, but it is worth it!


Your previous performance reviews can also be a great source of your achievements, if you still have access to them. You may also want to reach out to a boss or co-worker and ask how they felt you showed success.


teamwork at the office

One of the most common things we hear from job seekers is that they just don't feel comfortable "tooting their own horn." Our response? If not you, then who?


In some cases, you may feel like you are taking responsibility for a group effort. Maybe it was a team that achieved a 20% increase in profit, not just you, and you don't feel right taking all of the credit. Yet, you need to show the hiring manager what you actually did. So, select your action verbs appropriately. Did you lead the team or manage the team? If so, say "Managed a team that achieved a 20% increase in profit by implementing a new marketing strategy."


Putting in the effort to transform a list of responsibilities into accomplishments makes your resume much more powerful. It helps distinguish you from other job seekers who only list their responsibilities. You can show the positive impact you have had in your previous jobs, which helps a hiring manager see your value for their company.


If you need assistance transforming your responsibilities into accomplishments, reach out to Revision Resume! We pride ourselves in helping clients see what they have to offer a potential employer.

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What’s Next?  With the Right Resume, the Sky’s the Limit!
 

The challenge for most job applicants is crafting the right resume. 

Revision Resume is here to help offering the following writing services:

Resume critiques are also offered to those who have already created their own resume but would like a second set of eyes to check for errors and to ensure the document is up to modern standards!

With up-to-the-minute knowledge of the hiring industry, Revision Resume can make sure you are submitting the right resume!

In addition to our blog that is packed with useful information and tips, Revision Resume also offers a monthly newsletter and group educational programs. 

Finally, for the "do-it-yourselfer," we offer a checklist package that helps you ensure you haven't missed any vital details. 

 

To learn more, contact us.

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