What is an Accomplishment? What is Not?

What is an accomplishment?

You would think this would be an easy question to answer and to show examples. But resumes prove that people view the word accomplishment differently. There are people who say they believe in writing an accomplishment based resume, but when you look at their resume, it is task oriented instead.

So where is the confusion coming from?

For resume purposes it comes from wanting to show results, not that you just did something, but showing that it made a difference … that you reached a goal or overcame a challenge that benefited the organization or a department or a customer, etc. When resume writers conduct a consultation, many will respond “so what” (at least in their head) when a client says they did something … because there is no result, no benefit. You can say you managed 100 people but that doesn’t show you did it well. That’s what resume writers want to do. Show what you did well, so that it differentiates you from your competition.

if you are writing your own resume, you need to ask yourself what was the benefit of your efforts as you list each task.For example:

“Created a new procedural manual.”  That’s great, but for now it is a task that you did.
“Helped new hires acclimate faster to by creating a new procedural manual.”  That task is now an accomplishment.

“Educated potential clients on product features.” That is a task.
“Increased sales by educating potential clients on product features to overcome resistance and close the sale.”  That is an accomplishment.

The easiest way to write an accomplishment if you aren’t used to it is to write a key task that you did and then think “to what benefit.” Did the  effort:

help a customer or client …
did it make things faster or more streamlined …
did it allow you to complete a project by deadline …
did it improve satisfaction among the workforce or customers.

Here is one last task / accomplishment example:

Taught resume writing to job seekers. That is a task.
Explained the difference between tasks and accomplishments to job seekers that led to more accomplishment-based resumes being written.

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