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.
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.
- In each job, what special things did you do to set yourself apart? How did you do the job better than anyone else did or than anyone else could have done?
- What did you do to make each job your own?
- How did you take the initiative? How did you go above and beyond what was asked of you in your job description?