Articles from TheCareerAdvisor
Showcase Your "Home Run" Accomplishments, Part Five
Seven Helpful Hints
  1. Use before-and-after comparisons. For example: "Before I organized the inventory, orders took three hours to process. After I organized the inventory, orders were processed in 20 minutes." Such before-and-after statements are easily turned into written accomplishments: "Organized inventory and saved more than two and one-half hours per order."
  2. Add numbers, data, details, facts and percentages.
    Long report 250 page status report
    Very short time Two hours
    Large company $250 million furniture manufacturer
    Managed staff Managed 18 person sales staff
    Machinery D9 Caterpillars

  3. Condense long sentences into short ones.
    Served as SOHIO liaison with the Northwest Alaskan Pipeline Company, which headed the consortium charged with designing and constructing a $2 billion cubic foot per day gas processing facility on the North Slope of Alaska and a gas pipeline from this facility to the lower 48 states. The estimated project costs were $43 billion. Served as liaison on $43 billion project to line-process and transport 26 trillion cubic feet from the Prudhoe Bay Reservoir to the lower 48 states.

  4. Be relevant. If you repainted the factory, that's irrelevant (unless you want a painting job). If you repainted the factory for $10,000 less than last year, that's significant.
  5. Avoid glowing generalities, statements that fall into the category of "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." If not supported by facts, they aren't believable.
    "Work well under pressure" Give a specific example of a pressured situation where you performed well.
    "Thrive in fast-paced environment" Give a concrete example of an accomplishment that demanded fast-paced activity.
    "Real decision-maker" Give one example of a decision you made that brought desirable, measurable results.
    "Achievement-oriented" Fill your resume with specific, measurable achievements.
    "Outstanding leadership skills" Give an example of a project that you led that produced outstanding results.
    "Success-oriented" Document several big successes.

  7. Be realistic. An achievement statement should sound difficult, but not impossible. If it sounds "too good to be true" and you take credit for it, it may damage your credibility.

    Also, there's a thin line between sounding good and bragging. Sounding good is fine but bragging isn't. One client told me he had sold his duck logo (a piece of artwork on a business card) for $3,500. I could tell the art was inexpensive "clip art," so I disbelieved him and never again fully trusted what he said.

  8. Add struggle. This may seem to contradict the advice just given, but it doesn't. I've seen too many resumes full of bulleted-accomplishments that lack impact because they lack "struggle." They sound too easy.

    "Reduced operating costs 4%," is fine—but sounds as if it could've been achieved with one phone call to a vendor. Therefore, it sounds weak—or if not weak, it doesn't sound nearly as strong as it could if "struggle" were added.

    Whenever possible, add the agony of the process. Show the dragons you slayed, describe the 14,000-foot mountains you climbed without oxygen, and mention the bushels of broken glass you tiptoed across to complete your task. Don't exaggerate, but don't minimize, either. Let's reword the above accomplishment, adding struggle:

      "In midst of strong, ongoing opposition from consultants and peers on senior management team, reduced vendors from six (6) to three (3), negotiated sharply discounted raw materials prices, and cut operating costs 4%, a savings of $228,000 per month."

    This is much more powerful. It sounds as though some work went into it, as though there were obstacles along the path. If there were obstacles in the path of your accomplishment—and there always are—tell the reader what they were.

    After you've drafted your "triples" and "home runs," read them from the viewpoint of struggle. If they sound too easy—like you could've completed them on your cell phone by the pool—go back to the drawing board. You're not finished yet. | Next -->

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