How to List Accomplishments on a Resume

writing accomplishments on the resume

Why are accomplishments important for your resume? And how do you put accomplishments on your resume? These are important and great questions that you have as a job seeker. And if you found this article then you’re on your way to creating an impactful, effective resume that speaks to your hiring manager.

Accomplishments are one of the true hidden secrets in terms of creating effective resumes. Many job seekers feel like the way to stand out with their hiring manager is to make a unique aesthetic to their resume. Though, that’s incorrect.

The best way is through listing accomplishments. So, how do you do it? Before we jump in, let’s talk a little bit about accomplishments.

What Are Accomplishments for the Resume?

Not everything that you did at your previous job was an accomplishment. A majority of your work was most likely an accomplishment for you, as a professional but not an accomplishment that’s suitable for your future or current resume.

Let’s say that you got a promotion. Or that you overcame a significant challenge with one of your colleagues. Are these accomplishments? Yes, they are. But they are personal accomplishments and not accomplishments that future employers will resonate with.

It’s very important that before you write your accomplishments on your resume that you consider what type of accomplishment you’re about to list.

Focus on achievements that you made for the business you were part of. For example, something that was impactful to the business, that you were part of. Not something that was impactful for you or your career.

This may sound a little backward when you initially think about it. It is the act of being valuable to the business that makes your resume bullet points of accomplishments impactful to the reader.

What Type of Accomplishments Are Good to List

If you’re spending the time thinking about your previous work experience and wondering what might constitute a great accomplishment to speak to or list on your resume, here are a few examples of achievements which are great to list:

These are some areas to focus on when cultivating your own accomplishments for each previous job experience you list on your work experience section.

How to List Accomplishments on Your Resume

Now that you have a good idea of what you might want to tell your future employer when submitting your job application, it comes time to put it on your resume.

Before you start listing your accomplishments and achievements under each previous job you’ve had, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Keep each bullet point simple. Try to keep your accomplishment to about one sentence. Or two short sentences. This might be difficult for you but it’s going to be more impactful to the reader. Something like this example, “Was able to increase project management efficiency 25% by implementing agile methodology.”

Never have more than three bullet points. For each previous work experience that you list, keep your total number of bullet points (or accomplishments) to three points at the most. If you have short metrics, a fourth could be acceptable. But for a majority of resumes, three bullet points is a maximum.

Keep your accomplishments focused on the business. Remember to keep focused on what you were able to do within the company. Not what the company did for you. This tells your hiring manager that when you’re hired, you bring value to the business.

Use action verbs. Try to stay focused on actionable written communication when listing your accomplishments. Words like “efficiency”, “saved”, “increased” and more. Keep your statement impactful by using these keywords.

Use numbers to support your case. If you can, use supportive numbers. How many employees did you hire? How much revenue did you produce? How many projects did you accomplish? How much time did you save? It’s okay if you provide an estimate. But any supportive metrics or numbers can make your statement more believable and more meaningful.

Focus on metrics that are targeted to the job you want. Are you applying for a job as a teacher? If you are, how many students have you worked with? How many of them passed their state testing? Target your accomplishments and achievements toward the type of job that you want.

Don’t forget to keep it simple. The other reason why listing accomplishments works so well on a resume is that it’s simple. Your resume reader doesn’t want to spend more than 90 seconds reading your resume. If you ever feel lost when writing your accomplishments, keep it simple.

Now that you're ready to list accomplishments on your resume, list your previous job experiences in reverse chronological order and then under each of your previous jobs, list up to three bullet points that contain prior work accomplishments. Don't list anything else. You don't need to explain what your responsibilities or duties were. Your accomplishments are enough.

What's a Summary of Accomplishments

A summary of accomplishments is great. It's better than listing a resume objective. But before you start writing yours, be sure that you've completed writing all of your previous work experiences and their accomplishments.

Do you have that completed? Yes? OK, now keep reading.

Your summary of accomplishments is a full synopsis of your career highlights that encapsulate all prior work experiences. This is best described as the best achievements of your career. It is three to six bullet points that are listed at the top of your resume before your prior work experience but after your contact information and formal business header.

A summary of accomplishments can be a great way to ensure that your hiring manager first reads your most important achievements that speak to your abilities as an employee.

To create a summary of accomplishments, write your entire resume with previous job experiences. Then list each of your accomplishments at every company you were part of. Then take the best ones from your prior work experience and summarize it into this new section, "Career Highlights" or "Summary of Accomplishments".

Sample List of Accomplishments

To give you more of an idea of what your accomplishments should look like, here is a list of examples.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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