by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Before we get into a collection of sample accomplishments-rich resume bullet points, let's look at some guidelines for presenting accomplishments on your resume:
How to Tell Stories of Accomplishment on Your Resume
Tell accomplishments stories "backwards" in resumes. The story structure most commonly suggested for job-interview responses can also be used for resumes -- with a twist. That formula is:
- Result, sometimes expressed as Challenge
- Result or Problem
- Result or a similar structure.
Since a hiring decision-maker reads your resume quickly (between 2.5 and 20 seconds on average), you need to tell the accomplishment story backwards. Grab the reader's attention by giving away the ending first. So, instead of situation, action, result, resume bullet points should be told as result, action, then situation.
Keep resume accomplishment stories brief. How long should accomplishments be on a resume? One expert recommends about two sentences. Detailing your accomplishments is an important part of learning how to write a resume.
Be authentic and truthful. Be sure you are totally truthful about the accomplishments you list on your resume. Have you really accomplished all the things you say you did on your resume? Remember that a resume is a statement of facts. While you can put a spin on your accomplishments, the bottom line is that they all must be truthful statements. By the way, young people are more likely to stretch the truth about accomplishments, reports Anne Fischer on CNNMoney.com.
While you can put a spin on your accomplishments, the bottom line is that they all must be truthful statements.
Pack your resume with accomplishments. How many accomplishments should you include on your resume? Many experts argue for a resume that is entirely accomplishments-driven. Recruiting expert Dr. John Sullivan, for example, asserts that all your accomplishments should be included, writing: "Everyone wants employees who produce results, so you need to find a way to list every significant result, output, or accomplishment. Your resume should include dozens of performance-related references. (Example: Achieved 100% of ------- rollout project milestones while being first to implement ------ within the division.)"
Consider depicting accomplishments using a chart or graph on your resume, suggests Career Directors International, for such accomplishments as showing progress in fiscal responsibility, beating colleagues in goals, meeting/exceeding quotas, or simply showing the volume of sales achieved each year. Of course, charts are best used in the paper, "print" version of your resume that you use for networking, take to interviews, or submit via postal mail to employers. Employers' Applicant Tracking software may have difficulties with charts in resumes that are submitted electronically.
You may want to hire a professional resume writer. "Resume writing is less about the actual writing and more about the strategy than many people realize," writes Safani. "A resume writer can look at your background objectively ... and create a strategy that emphasizes your overarching accomplishments and doesn't dwell on your more difficult to explain roles and transitions."
Sample Accomplishments-Rich Resume Bullet Points
Note that most of these contain metrics.
- Saved company $1.5 million by motivating team to beat software-conversion deadline by two weeks.
- Doubled revenue to $3.9M, resulting in region's consistently representing up to 40 percent of distribution revenue.
- Increased revenues in voluntary, group dental product 124 percent, doubling membership in 18 months.
- Selected by Vice President to turn around subsidiary that lost $11.3 million in 2011 and delivered $2.4 million profit within 12 months for Florida's largest optometric franchise with $4.5 billion in annual revenues.
- Doubled cable distribution to 90 percent, establishing region's No. 1 news channel.
- Boosted membership in group, self-insured product 126 percent by dramatically improving TPA operational efficiency and maintaining low-cost producer position.
- Grew hotel client base by 50 percent and achieved maximum distribution by licensing UBTI to other markets such as schools, hospitals, newspapers, ships, and North Sea oil rigs.
- Developed strategy that returned product line to profitability: loss ratios to 65 percent.
- Led five directors and 17 professional staff in three-year, $32-million project designed to overhaul existing product portfolio. '
- Won Profitability Achievement Award in 2009 and 2010, achieving 76.3 percent and 78.8 percent loss ratios respectively.
- Improved cash flow from a negative $13 million to positive cash flow by restructuring company.
- Boosted sales from $450,000 to $2.6 million.
- Grew organization to be largest cellular operating company within a year of going live. [superlative]
- Exceeded plans for growth, achieving revenue of $100 million within two years while maintaining high profitability levels.
- Directed 12-person sales force in $15-million Industrial Sales organization while simultaneously bolstering sales in own territory from zero to $2.5 million.
- Reduced time spent on quality assurance and decreased product defects by enhancing development procedures for firmware and software development.
- Improved company's competitive market position by reducing product costs, accelerating delivery of new features, and increasing overall product quality.
- Accelerated time-to-market for embedded software by 25 percent through use of appropriate software quality tools, improved debugging methods, and timely personnel training.
- Spearheaded 35 percent cost reduction by leading hardware/software redesign of access control system, resulting in improved performance, increased reliability, and additional features.
- Led global team in developing hardware and software platform utilized enterprise-wide.
- Increased sales revenue with product that simplifies retrofit of competitive facility equipment and that was awarded a US Patent.
- Dramatically improved product margins and quality levels by implementing new Design-for-Manufacturing programs.
- Escalated annual revenue from $500K to $15M and boosted company's recognition as an industry leader by developing cutting-edge products.
- Led development of process-control instrument that was completed 20 percent under budget and generated sales at 10 times higher than projected.
- Played key role on team that successfully achieved ISO 9001 certification.
- Awarded U.S. patent for developing solution to common industry problem related to calibration; solution resulted in lower maintenance cost for customers.
- Promoted regularly throughout tenure at company.
- Generated 139 percent incremental video sales and 130 percent incremental income in Japan in 2011, as well as 296 percent incremental sales and 207 percent incremental income in 2006, by introducing catalog re-pricing program.
- Executed turnaround via non-cash acquisition of local equity, converting to wholly foreign owned; prepared thorough acquisition management analysis; neutralized and improved hostile shareholder relationships.
- Launched the most effective integrated marketing and brand-building programs ever in South Africa's jewelry industry, resulting in nation's position as world's No. 2 natural resources market; increased annual revenue to record-high US$3 billion+ (224 tons) against high international gold price of US$390+/oz.
- Realized annualized savings of $2.5 million per project by implementing manufacturing improvements.
- Achieved 125 percent annual increase in business with targeted accounts by formulating and implementing key marketing and sales-management programs.
- Introduced flexible time schedule that reduced labor costs by 27 percent.
- Reduced lead time 50 percent and increased sales volume 500 percent by leading team efforts in new-product design, quality, and process design.
- Reduced lead time on quotes from average of 3-5 days to 1.5 days by implementing system to track quote-lead times, which previously resulted in loss of business;
- Increased orders by interacting with suppliers to create extended pricing and reduce dependence on quote-lead times.
- Won manufacturer certification for new process by reverse-engineering the procedure.
- Saved $50K+ yearly by incorporating additional functions with no staffing increase.
- Led team to increase recycling rates of up to 49 percent monthly; achieved 100 percent compliance during eight vigorous inspections.
- Created new method of transistor fabrication that will soon be produced at multiple semiconductor manufacturers.
- Led base to achieve No. 1 ranking out of 12 bases for Base Appearance/Commander-in-Chiefs (CEO equivalent) excellence award, No. 1 Environmental Award out of 10 installations, and No. 1 of nine Administrative and Personnel units in command. [superlative]
- Achieved 20 percent reduction in development time and 12 percent reduction in development cost by directing development and implementation of operations improvements and change-management strategy for R&D division of national manufacturer.
- Attained fast-track promotion through series of increasingly responsible positions.