The information placed on a resume or cover letter can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you are successful in getting a job offer. Make no mistake; employers are not going to hire candidates with mediocre work records without notable accomplishments. In order for your cover letter or resume to be noticed by employers, it is imperative that it contain resume worthy accomplishments.
The problem is that most job seekers are not aware that every job task is not considered to be a true accomplishment. For example, preparing payroll for a staff of 1000 employees is not an accomplishment. Creating a procedure which streamlined the payroll process for 1000 employees would be considered an accomplishment. There is definitely a difference.
What are resume-worthy accomplishments?
Decreasing costs and/or streamlining procedures – “Doing more with less,” has increasingly become an organizational mantra. Employers are looking at ways to decrease operating costs. Decreasing costs often goes hand-in-hand with streamlining procedures. If you have assisted your current employer in these efforts, be sure to highlight this on your resume, cover letter and in the interview.
Increase profits – While the more politically correct term may be to “positively affect the bottom line,” increasing profits is what it’s all about. It is especially powerful when completed in conjunction with decreasing costs. Companies may talk customer service, but it’s still all about the profit. Customer service increases profits by increasing customers.
Promotions – Fast tracking up the company ladder is an excellent way to show that you are involved and engaged in the organization.
Responsibility for special projects – Depending on the project, special projects outside the scope of normal job tasks are excellent examples of accomplishments. This shows that you were trusted and empowered by the management. A successful project is an even bigger plus.
Awards and certifications are also considered to be great accomplishments, when related to your field.
What is not considered to be an accomplishment?
Any task or responsibility associated with doing your daily job is not considered to be an accomplishment. (This can actually include certain special projects). Arriving to work every day on time is an expectation, not an accomplishment. In fact, if you list this as an accomplishment, you may need to take a look at your work ethics. The same is true about getting along with your co-workers or providing excellent customer service. These are expectations, not accomplishments.
By listing your truly successful accomplishments, you will set yourself apart from the many other qualified candidates and increase your chances of getting an interview and the job.