You should feel a sense of pride and self-confidence when you hit milestones and reach new heights at work. But those feelings shouldn’t stop with kudos in a Slack channel or words of gratitude from your manager.
Every experience molds you into a unique professional. And when it comes to getting a new job, listing work accomplishments on a resume promotes your value as a candidate to potential employers, hiring managers, and recruiters. When you carefully include accomplishments throughout your resume, you back up your expertise with results.
Here’s how to stand out from other candidates and narrow down your experience into a few key work achievements for your resume.
Should I include work accomplishments on a resume?
Listing achievements can substantiate your skills, color in your years of experience, and demonstrate your potential to a hiring manager, which makes it a great decision.
Hiring managers and recruiters, on average, only screen your resume for 7.4 seconds before moving on to the next. Include more tangible details about your value so that when they do skim your resume, they like what they see.
It’s best to include the relevant accomplishments that align with the roles and responsibilities. But even ones that don’t directly apply to the position can show off your skills and work ethic by demonstrating your transferable skills.
Here are a few benefits of including professional accomplishments:
- Makes a strong impression: Accomplishments clearly and concretely demonstrate the value proposition you’ve brought to other employers and projects. When people read your resume, they’ll see exactly why you’re a good candidate.
- Shows impact with metrics: Writing that you worked in sales management for five years may demonstrate longevity, but it says nothing about what you’ll bring to a new employer. A phrase like, “Generated $1 million in sales revenue, exceeding annual sales goal by 20%,” shows the details of what you accomplished and leaves little guesswork to the hiring manager about your skills.
- Builds credibility: Including examples of accomplishments provides clear evidence that supports your skills, experiences, and abilities. Backing your representation of yourself with receipts can help hiring managers evaluate you with more confidence and build a compelling case for your qualifications.
- Leads the conversation: Job interviews are nerve-wracking, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect and prepare for. But “What are the accomplishments you’re most proud of?” is actually a common interview question, and including accomplishments on your resume sets you up for a good interview later. Achievements that align with the job description will likely pique the interviewer’s interest and may inspire them to ask you questions about your greatest accomplishments.
- Demonstrates consistency: Writing strong accomplishment statements in every entry of your work experience section shows consistency in your performance, professional growth, and work ethic. It lets a hiring manager know you’ll bring the same growth mindset to the new job.
Where to list accomplishments on your resume
You can point to accomplishments throughout your resume, but your work history and education sections are the easiest places to fit them. Here’s how:
For every entry in your work history section, include a few bullet points highlighting your job responsibilities and most relevant accomplishments. Not every bullet has to be a monumental achievement with financial goals, percentages, or other numbers. But be descriptive and show how you put your skills to use.
If you’re a recent graduate with impressive honors or awards, include them on your resume. These insights provide useful insights into your work ethic, reliability, and professional goals.
Here are some university accomplishments to consider including on your resume:
Graduating with honors, like magna cum laude or summa cum laude
A high cumulative GPA
Professional growth is an accomplishment within itself. Emphasize the growing skills on your resume by using action verbs that bring hard and soft skills to life. If you opt for a skill-heavy functional resume format, it’s especially important to ensure your skills express development and value in the absence of formative work experiences.
“Conducted business analysis” is vague and doesn’t help a hiring manager develop clear expectations. Instead, explain that you’ve “Cultivated proficiency in Salesforce and other programs to perform data analysis and forecastings.” Words like “piloted,” “fine-tuned,” or “developed” make your skills section come to life.
While you should only include references on a resume or CV if the job application asks for it, it’s a good idea to have a few professional or character references ready just in case. And notifying your references ahead of time lets you fill them in on accomplishments you’d like to highlight for a hiring manager beforehand.
If you want your references to talk about the office skills you’ve honed, team accomplishments, or the overall performance you mention on your resume, let them know. That way they can present you in the best light possible for the job you’re applying for.
Tweaking accomplishments to fit your job search
Your resume’s function is to convince a hiring manager that you’re the right candidate for the job. The posting is your blueprint: it tells you the exact skills and responsibilities that a hiring manager is looking for.
To understand how to list accomplishments on your resume to fit the job description, consider the following scenario.
Imagine you’re a marketing professional with social media management experience applying for a product marketing manager job. The responsibilities on the posting include leading a team, coordinating with other departments, and building marketing strategies to support sales.
While an achievement like “Increased Instagram follower count by 250% over six months” is impressive, it doesn’t highlight the skills the job is asking for. Consider how that accomplishment contributed to better sales conversions or required you to coordinate with coworkers.
“Developed marketing campaign strategy alongside sales and product development teams that increased Instagram follower count by 250% and led to higher conversions” uses the same achievement, but ties it directly to the job skills.
Tailoring the achievements for your resume to align with the specific requirements of the job you’re applying for will help you sell yourself as a candidate. Like an elevator pitch, it’ll help you quickly catch the hiring manager’s eye and show them why you’re the right choice.
Examples of accomplishments to put on a resume
Here are some resume accomplishments examples to help get you started.
Recall projects and initiatives that you participated in or helped implement successfully. These should follow a template with a clear beginning (what you did) and end (what the result was). Here’s how to get into detail:
Developed a tracking system and centralized documentation of customer satisfaction rates. Collaborated with marketing, quality assurance, and product development teams to launch new product offerings that increased total market share by 3%.
Completed SEO optimization of 100% of blog content in half the anticipated time, increasing page views by 150% and new visitor sessions by 500%.
Oversaw the implementation of marketing strategy with a cross-functional team of graphic designers, project managers, and sales experts to launch a new product. Resulted in sales that exceeded goals by 25%.
Every entry in your work history section should include a basic idea of the day-to-day responsibilities you had in that position. Highlight the ones that brought the most value to the company or your team. Supporting them with metrics helps illustrate your potential in the role you’re applying for. Here are some examples:
Designed images, text, and social media layouts that helped increase conversion rates by 55% and increased social media followers by 250%.
Managed CRM platform for client onboarding and successfully trained 1,000+ users, which increased client satisfaction by 35%.
Assisted in several human resources initiatives such as employee engagement, performance management, and diversity and inclusion programs to increase employee retention by 50%.
Skills and certifications
Your skills section is a place to demonstrate your professional growth and hands-on abilities. Here are a few ways to give skills an extra sense of accomplishment:
Fine-tuned proficiency in Java, Python, and Ruby, as well as Agile software development methodologies. Completed additional software engineer certifications in modular architecture, code refactoring, and best practices for software development.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Political Science summa cum laude and was awarded Academic Excellence Award by the College of Letters and Science.
5 more tips for including accomplishments on your resume
Now that you know how to list accomplishments on your resume, you should know how to optimize the rest of it. Here are four more tips to make your application stand out from other candidates:
- Don’t go overboard: Every section of your resume should highlight relevant achievements, but you don’t have to list every career milestone you’ve ever accomplished. Stick to the key moments that connect directly to the hiring manager’s needs.
- Respect the format: The best resumes are concise and organized. Too many accomplishments could create a lack of balance, visually unappealing design, or length that goes beyond most hiring managers’ standards. For extra help, use a customizable template from a resume builder to keep you on track.
- Choose your language carefully: You shouldn’t just choose your accomplishments based on the job description. You should mimic the language as well. It’ll help the job manager more easily check off all their boxes and make sure you’re a viable candidate. If the job description asks for someone who’s collaborative, don’t write that you’re a team player. Talk about your collaboration skills.
- Favor confidence over arrogance: Self-confidence is a soft skill that shows your resilience, independence, and self-assuredness to rise to the challenge without a need for constant guidance. On the other hand, arrogance can create organizational failures and is likely a big red flag for hiring managers. Avoid language that puts down others to raise your value. “Awarded number one employee of the year in sales with 50% of total sales” is as impressive as, and more kind than, “Number one salesperson with more sales revenue than three team members combined.”
- Align with your online persona: If you maintain a professional social media account, like a LinkedIn profile, or have a professional website, use them to show off your accomplishments. Ensure that big statements like awards and accolades are consistent between every platform.
Be loud, be proud
You work hard to move your career path forward, and you should let the world know — especially if someone’s hiring for your dream position.
Now that you know how listing accomplishments on your resume can help you stand out as a job seeker, it’s time to pay careful attention to the job description, connect the dots to your achievements, and put your best foot forward. This is your chance to achieve even more.