Improve Your Resume with Stronger Accomplishments
Whether you’re a brand-new graduate, a growing professional or a veteran worker, you’ve probably wrestled with the many struggles of job hunting. Finding prospective jobs, preparing to interview, waiting to hear back from an employer — each step offers its own challenges and stresses.
One of the most dreaded steps in the job-hunting process? Resume writing.
Fortunately for you, though, there are hundreds of tips and tricks for writing and designing strong resumes available online.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to really boost your resume’s content, though, is to highlight your accomplishments. If done correctly, highlighting your accomplishments makes both you and your resume look more impressive from the get-go.
It may feel unnatural to brag about your achievements, but remember: to an HR professional, your resume is just one of hundreds sitting in a stack. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your resume absolutely must have a clean, professional layout and solid, intriguing content. So take those unique experiences of yours and turn them into eye-catching content.
Here are three great ways to bulk up your resume with stronger accomplishments.
Beef Up Your Job Duties
When writing out your resume, it’s tempting to simply name positions you’ve held and then list out the basic job duties you performed in each position. But job duties aren’t impressive! Rather, they make it sound as though you only did the bare minimum at your previous jobs.
Your potential employers aren’t looking for job descriptions of your past positions — quite the opposite. They’re looking for evidence that you’re a candidate who will scoff at the idea of merely fulfilling the basic expectations listed in their job description. That’s why you need to change those hum-drum job duties into impressive — and preferably measurable — accomplishments.
Here’s the difference:
- Participated in several fundraising events
- Suggested making a company newsletter
- Offered ideas to increase productivity
- Led the marketing team in raising $1,000 via one-day cookoff fundraiser
- Suggested and produced the monthly company newsletter, How Awesome Are We?, now in its third year
- Increased warehouse productivity by 8% by researching and selecting an appropriate new line of software
Of course, it’s one thing to show off your achievements, but find the line between bragging about your skills and just plain exaggerating the truth. Start off on the right foot by offering real facts.
The above examples are a start, but if you find yourself getting stuck, don’t ever be afraid to Google tips and tricks for writing resume accomplishments. But don’t forget — you’re a unique person with a unique history and a unique skill set. Don’t settle for the achievements you find online. Instead, write out your own.
Consider Non-Work-Related Accomplishments
Now, think outside the box — or rather, that boxy cubicle you called home at your last job. What notable things have you done outside the workplace?
Have you ever volunteered or done something that resembles volunteering? Have you ever been the leader of a group project? If so, how’d it go? Have you ever organized an event? Been part of a team that did something great? Participated in events or clubs at school?
Whatever events, projects or clubs your interests have led you to — they can all be turned into accomplishments. You just need to dig a little deeper. You didn’t just participate in a mandatory event that your sorority held. Rather, you and your sisters raised awareness for multiple sclerosis to an audience of 300 attendees.
You didn’t just tutor Spanish students. You helped a specific number of students to become better speakers, writers, listeners and readers in a foreign language.
The list goes on.
Remember, you don’t have to have served in the military or traveled the world through the Peace Corps to have a great resume — and if you have or plan to do those things, more power to you! No matter where your unique talents and interests have taken you, you have resume-worthy accomplishments.
Keep Gathering Accomplishments
Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean you’re out of opportunities to do some extracurricular activities. It’s never, ever too late to learn new skills or to hone existing ones, and employers value workers with this mentality.
Take a closer look at the preferred skills listed on some job descriptions that interest you. Do you have all those skills? If so, great. Time to hone them even more. If not, that’s okay too. Time to learn.
Where can you develop and practice skills specific to your field, you ask? Well, that depends.
No, there’s no Accomplishments Bureau you can visit that stocks all the skills you’ll ever need for your career, but there is a multitude of options for the worker who genuinely wants to continue learning, improving and — bonus! — bulking up their resume simultaneously.
Everyone’s preferences on how to do this are a little different, but some common ideas include taking elective(s) at a local or online university, participating in webinars and volunteering.
Each of these options has its own benefits. For example, there’s a webinar out there for just about every job skill you could ever need — including how to build stronger resumes! And as an added bonus, webinars tend to be fairly affordable, or even free. Here’s one on writing strong accomplishments that’s created by expert resume writers and totally free.
As for volunteering, if you offer up your services at a company or program that will put your specific skill set to use, everyone benefits because:
- You gain valuable practice and industry knowledge.
- The company you volunteer for gets free or inexpensive help.
- You bulk up your resume with impressive, relevant accomplishments.
- You build a relationship with the company you’re volunteering at, which could lead to job offers and/or future recommendations.
Hop to It!
No matter how inexperienced you feel or how overwhelmed you become during the job-hunting process, just remember this: you are an accomplished person. You’ve acquired a unique set of skills and experiences over the course of your life, and they are worth advertising. Now open up that old resume in Word and get to updating!