Listing achievements on your resume is perhaps the best way to grab an employer’s attention and set yourself apart from your competition, but you can increase the impact of your achievements with a few simple strategies. You can write the exact same achievement in multiple ways, but some methods are much more effective than others. Below are a few tricks which will help make your resume more powerful using some basic wordsmithing techniques:
1) Achievement first, explanation later. This is a simple and often overlooked tactic. Examine the two sentences below:
A) Responsible for leading the development and implementation of a software solution which automated several processes, reduced labor, and saved the company approximately $500K.
B) Saved the company $500K, reduced labor, and automated several process by directing the development and implementation of a new software solution.
Sentence A and B state the exact same achievement, but sentence B is more effective. Why? Sentence A starts out with “responsible for…” just like any other boring job responsibility. This may prompt employers to skip reading the sentence all together, thus missing your achievement entirely. Sentence B starts with quantifiable results, then explains how you achieved those results. Make sure to always list your achievement first and then provide a brief description of what you did to accomplish it.
2) Add or remove details to increase the relevance of your achievements. This strategy is most often used for military personnel transitioning to the civilian sector, but it is applicable in a wide variety of scenarios. Compare the two sentences below:
A) Earned an Army Achievement Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals for service in the U.S. Army.
B) Recipient of three awards and medals throughout career for exemplary service and achievement.
Both sentences mention the awards you earned, but sentence B will make your awards more appealing to a larger audience. The same technique will apply to anyone who has earned an award in one job/industry, but is transitioning into a new job where the employer will not understand or appreciate your previous awards. Simply mentioning that you earned an award demonstrates your success, but avoid including irrelevant information if possible.
In summary, we all know that achievements are worth their weight on gold on your resume, but how you list them can make a huge difference. Make sure to list the most important information towards the beginning at the sentence, then follow up with supporting details. Also, list your achievements so they appear relevant and impressive to a wide range of employers. These simple strategies should help your resume look even more impressive!
By Drew Roark