How to List Achievements on Your Resume (With Examples and Tips)
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Listing your achievements in your resume can help set your job application apart from other candidates. Making your resume stand out through listing achievements is especially important when many job applicants have similar professional and academic backgrounds. Clearly listing your achievements shows employers you have exceptional talents and a strong work ethic. In this article, we will explain how to list achievements on your resume, with examples.
What achievements should I list on my resume?
Any professional, academic and community achievements are worth noting on your resume. These are milestones or noteworthy accomplishments that go beyond simply performing your regular duties. They show how you are better than other people in some way, and they can also show the way you have helped your company improve. Your achievements tell a potential employer that you can do more than simply fulfil your basic duties. They emphasise your dedication and your specific talents.
Examples of noteworthy achievements include improving the way a company runs or its results, awards or professional recognition you have received through your employment, and high marks or awards gained for exceptional academic achievements. Achievements earned through community participation are also worth including, as they show you are a well-respected community-minded person. For example, you might note if you received awards from your community or participated in community programs.
If you are unsure which achievements deserve a place on your resume, review the postings for jobs you're interested in. Their lists of required or preferred credentials can highlight achievements worth mentioning.
Achievements vs. responsibilities
Achievements are your results which exceeded expectations. Responsibilities are the things you did which people expected of you. Listing responsibilities is important because your points show employers the tasks you can confidently complete. However, these responsibilities belong in a separate section of your resume. Reserve your achievements for truly outstanding efforts and results.
If you are unsure whether something is an achievement or a responsibility, consider whether it was part of your job description or coursework. If it was, it is a responsibility. If your efforts created a result that exceeded people's expectations of you, then it is an achievement.
How to list your achievements on your resume
You should list your achievements throughout your resume. This consistent approach emphasises that you are the kind of person who excels in everything you do. Follow these steps to list your achievements on your resume:
1. Incorporate achievements into your summary
Your summary section should make a positive first impression that encourages employers to read on, so it's the perfect place for achievements. Incorporate into this short section one or two of your most noteworthy or relevant achievements.
2. Add a list of achievements to your work experience section
The achievements listed in the work experience section of your resume may be most important because they tell employers what kind of employee you are. Your professional achievements highlight your strengths and strong work ethic. Include a short bullet-point list of achievements for every position listed on your resume. Write the subheading 'Achievements' underneath your key responsibilities before listing two or three bullet points. Make every bullet point specific and comprehensive.
3. Include notable academic achievements in the education section
If you achieved excellence during your time studying, your accomplishments deserve a place in your academic achievements section. Follow the format used for your work experience section, listing any key achievements with bullet points under the relevant educational periods.
4. Add community achievements to your resume
If you have noteworthy community achievements, you should also list these on your resume. If you are an active member of your community, you may have a volunteer experience section, in addition to your work experience section. This is a good place for your community achievements, as you can simply list them underneath the relevant volunteer positions. If you have several community achievements, you could create a separate community achievements section. Alternatively, you could list your community achievements within your hobbies and interest section.
5. Proofread your achievements
Once you've added your achievements, proofread them carefully for errors. Careful proofreading makes your resume look professional. Correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes as you find them. Double-check the names of awards and make sure they're written in full. You may like to ask a trusted friend or colleague to read over your resume to ensure it's error-free.
6. Revise your achievements over time
As you progress in your career, you will continue achieving. Regularly revising your achievements listed on your resume makes sure employers view the most current and relevant information. It also ensures you don't omit any notable achievements from your resume that are worthy of space. As you achieve, consider whether your accomplishments deserve a place on your resume. If they occur through a listed position, you should also consider which achievement they should replace. The best achievements are recent and relevant to the roles you're applying for.
Read more: How to Make a Resume
Resume accomplishments examples
Use the examples below for inspiration when writing your own accomplishments on your resume.
Accomplishments in the summary
Notice the way these resume summaries naturally incorporate accomplishments into their sentences.
'A three-hatted chef with 20 years' of experience, I can bring creativity and flavour to any commercial kitchen. My history of increasing revenue for my last three restaurants would make me an asset to any eatery.'
'A recent Bachelor of Accounting graduate from the University of Sydney, I am keen to make my mark on the finance world. Distinctions in all my final year subjects shows the dedication I will bring to any role.'
Accomplishments related to work experience
The following bullet points could feature in the work experience sections of resumes.
Exceeded sales targets by at least 20% in every quarter of employment
Named employee of the month in March 2020 for exceptional customer service and reliability
Awarded Top Hairdresser in Queensland trophy in the 2019 Australian Style Awards
Promoted from checkout work to front desk customer service role after one year after manager received several positive customer feedback forms
Studies published in Science Weekly, Australian Scientist and Advancing Science magazines
Accomplishments related to education
The following bullet points could feature in the education sections of resumes.
Received Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 98.95
Received the top mark in the state for Visual Arts and Music
Averaged a distinction grade for the entire course
Held the position of first speaker on the debating team that won the 2015 New South Wales state title
Accomplishments related to community
The following bullet points relating to community achievement could also feature on a resume.
Named Northern Territory Local Hero in 2018 for knitting clothes for Parramatta Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Boosted annual fundraising total by $5000, on average
Helped build 20 homes in remote indigenous communities around the Northern Territory in 2019
Part of the 2018 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race winning team
Performed for local troops in Afghanistan in 2015
Tips for listing your accomplishments on your resume
Keep the following tips in mind to give the accomplishments listed on your resume the most impact:
Quantify your achievements: Wherever possible, use specific details to quantify your achievements. For example, you could mention by how many dollars you increased profits, the amount of time your new initiatives saved or the percentage by which you increased web traffic. Using these specific numbers will give your achievements more impact.
Provide context for your achievements: Your achievements will have more impact when employers know the context for them. For example, exceeding sales targets in any period sounds good, but it is even more impressive when it's clear the industry faltered and rival companies struggled. Using the STAR method, which notes the situation, task, achievement and result, is a great way to provide context.
Explain the impact of achievements: Adding the impact of your achievements can make them sound more impressive. Implementing a new digital filing system is a large undertaking and a notable achievement, but its impact is not obvious. However, implementing a new digital filing system that increased data security and made files more accessible to employees sounds more notable. It explains what the achievement did for the business, and therefore what the employee could do for a new employer.
Customise your achievements for each application: Some achievements may impress employers with certain vacant roles more than others. Before submitting each job application, assess your listed achievements and consider whether they show you are the best fit for the role. Modify your listed achievements as required so they highlight your suitability.
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