And if you don’t believe resume writers and career counselors, take it from a hiring manager. On the HR.com Web site, KPMG Principal Mary Anne Davidson recently observed, “Candidates write about what their positions entailed and not what they actually did. So they tell us their job was to do XYZ. I know what controllers do. I know what recruiters do. I need to know what accomplishments you made in your role. This makes you different than another candidate.
“In less than two sentences,” Davidson continues, “I want to know the scope of your responsibilities, size of budget, geographic territory, number of team members you led or were a part of, product lines, and reporting relationship relevant to each of your roles in the last eight years.”
To a great extent, if a job activity cannot be portrayed as an accomplishment, it may not be worthy of mention in your resume, cover letter, or in an interview.
OK. You’re convinced. An awareness of the importance of accomplishments does no good, however, if you haven’t been keeping track of all your wonderful achievements. So, Lesson One: The minute you start a new job, start keeping track of your accomplishments. Keep a log in a little notebook, or on index cards, in a computer database, on a little tape recorder, or on your palm device.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to come up with accomplishments from the kinds of jobs that college students typically hold. But it’s important to:
- Start tracking your accomplishments NOW.
- Start HAVING accomplishments NOW!
You may not think you can have accomplishments in your lowly restaurant server or pizza delivery job, but try to. Ask your boss what you can do to improve. Strive to win any awards (such as Employee of the Month) that your employer offers. Find ways to go above and beyond your job description.
But what about all the jobs that have gone by in which you haven’t recorded your accomplishments? Lesson Two: Use the following prompts to brainstorm all those terrific things you did. Try to list some accomplishments that set you apart from other job candidates.