Fine Tune Your Resume with Accomplishments


by Kari Rosand Scanlon

With the unemployment rate in Minnesota still hovering around six percent, hiring managers are inundated with resumes and only have time to glance at an applicant’s resume before deciding if the applicant might be a match to the position. One of the best ways to catch a hiring manager’s attention is to focus on your accomplishments rather than your responsibilities.

For example, an administrative assistant’s resume might list these responsibilities:

  • Scheduled meetings.
  • Ordered supplies.

Alternatively, the administrative assistant’s resume might include the following accomplishments:

  • Prepare logistics for annual shareholders’ meeting, including confirming meeting dates, times and venues with 25 shareholders; arranging airline, car, and hotel reservations; reviewing room setup, IT needs, and catered meals with venues.
  • Streamlined ordering process for office supplies, reducing the number of unexpected orders by 50 percent per month.

Listing your accomplishments gives the hiring manager a better picture of how your work supports the business. To replace your responsibilities with accomplishments, start by asking these questions:

  • Why is this responsibility important to my position, department, and/or company?
  • How have I improved a process or procedure at work?
  • How have I helped a coworker complete his/her work more effectively or efficiently?
  • What accomplishments am I most proud of?
  • How have I responded to the biggest or newest challenges of my job?
  • How have I helped the company save money, lower costs, or meet budget?

As you answer these questions, replace each responsibility with an accomplishment. Or, better yet, try to write one to three accomplishments for each responsibility. As your list of accomplishments grows, group them into categories. Your categories might include customer service, time management, project management, computer skills, and initiative. Then, when you actually submit your resume for a particular job, narrow your list of accomplishments to match the requirements listed in the posting. For example, if the job posting only mentions customer service and time management, only include accomplishments from these categories.

This exercise will not only help you catch the attention of a hiring manager, but will also give you a confidence boost.

Kari Rosand Scanlon, PHR, Principal Consultant at Spotlight HR Solutions, is a client-focused business partner with expertise to customize HR solutions for small to mid-size companies, educate managers and employees on HR functions, and guide decision makers in employee relations matters.

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