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Achievements to List on Your Resume

Are you working on creating the perfect resume?

You will naturally want to create a CV that reflects your work experience and qualifications. However, the perfect resume also consists of several other essential sections.

achievements to list on your resume

One of the most powerful of these is the achievement section. There are several different ways of displaying your accomplishments in your resume so that employers do not overlook them.

So, let’s take a look at the best types of achievements to list on your resume.

Why You Should Add Accomplishments to Your Resume?

Listing your achievements on your resume is a good way of presenting your talents and strengths. They help to indicate to an employer that you have a strong skill set and work ethic. There are two main ways of doing this…

In Job Descriptions

Your job descriptions section is a good place to highlight your work-related accomplishments and achievements. This allows you to connect these accomplishments directly to your career. The implication to employers is that you will continue to achieve during your next career move.

Separate Achievement Section

The other option is to list your key achievements in a separate section, probably close to the bottom of the resume. This is a great option if you have various achievements that were not necessarily gained during regular work. They could be special training programs that you completed and personal achievements that you undertook independently that you apply to work.

Any advantage of this placement?

The primary advantage of creating a separate achievements section is that it allows you to go into more detail. This also allows you to showcase special awards and other honors that you have earned.

Consider Both Options

Including your accomplishments in both of these sections helps to make them stand out. It indicates to employers that you understand how important your achievements are. The trick is to do this without repeating yourself or including unnecessary details.

Achievements vs. Awards

The terms achievements and awards are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are notable differences between the two types of accomplishments. Identifying the difference will help guide you on which ones to include in your resume.

What to know…

An achievement is generally a type of accomplishment that you aimed for and successfully completed. Good examples could be increasing a company’s sales or optimizing the work schedule. Although these achievements may ultimately gain you a promotion or reward, they are obtained through your hard work.

achievement to list on your resume

An award is usually presented by a third party in recognition of an individual’s work. Any award is ultimately a symbol that outside parties notice and are satisfied with your work.

Best practice…

It is recommendable to include both achievements and awards on your resume. This shows that you have a strong work ethic and innovative ideas that are recognized by other people. However, you may prefer to organize these two types of accomplishments in separate sections.

Identifying Your Best Achievements

When considering What Achievements to List on Your Resume, the last thing you want to do is include a massive list of every professional achievement you can think of. Instead, you need to highlight the achievements that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Therefore, you need to put some thought into identifying your best achievements and presenting them in the best possible way.

How to do this?

You can identify your career accomplishments by reviewing your skills and previous job duties. As you go through each one, determine the type of positive difference you made to the company. If possible, review work-related feedback such as the results of performance reviews.

If you are someone who has limited work experience, you may need to include accomplishments from other areas of your life. However, you need to make sure that these accomplishments are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Examples and tips…

Some types of achievements could be raising money for charity, serving on a committee, and leading a student team on a project. Ensure you are clear about your role in each of these types of accomplishments. Make your contribution clear and highlight the way in which it was particularly valuable.

Instead of simply listing awards, explain what you did to win the awards. Try to make the details around the achievements as relevant to the job you are applying for as possible. Ultimately, you are painting a picture of how successful you would be if you were given the position in the company.

The Types of Achievements to Include on a Resume

Professional achievements can be broken down into different basic categories. Each of these categories features a certain level of importance. Let’s outline the main categories professional achievements can fall into on a resume.

General

General achievements could include promotions and exceeding targets. These general achievements are usually gained as part of your regular work. Therefore, it is best to have them within your job descriptions.

Industry-Specific

Achievements that are related to solving industry-specific problems can be listed in an achievements section to make them stand out. This highlights the value of these achievements and your ability to apply them to your new position. An example would be an IT professional highlighting that they led an important digital project to fruition and ultimate success.

achievements to list on the resume

Academic

Academic achievements include accomplishments like specific publications and academic awards. The academic achievements that you include in your resume will change depending on the job you are applying for. They should generally be included in your education or achievements section.

Examples of General Professional Achievements

You will naturally have a unique set of achievements and awards that you can include in your resume. Depending on the job you’re applying for, these awards and achievements may not be directly related. However, highlighting these special achievements provides you with the opportunity to present your work ethic and transferable skills.

Also important…

General achievements and awards indicate your passion and commitment to your work and can give you the edge. Examples of achievements to include are promotions at a past job, problems you solved for the company, and increased sales. If you designed and implemented a unique system for the company, make sure that you highlight it, with a focus on how the company benefited.

Examples of Accomplishments to Put on your Resume

Ideally, you should highlight your accomplishments throughout your resume. The most common places to put them are in your summary, your professional experience, your skills section, and/or a dedicated accomplishments section. The way you display your accomplishments is likely to vary depending on the section you place them in. So, let’s break down those sections…

Summary Section

The summary is usually the first section on your resume, and it is the first section recruiters see. You should use this section to highlight the skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Any achievements that are highly relevant to the job position should be highlighted in this section.

Professional Experience Section

Your work experience section is an essential part of your resume. It is used to show employers your qualifications and skills so they can evaluate if they are suited to the position. Listing your experience with important responsibilities as accomplishments makes them more impactful.

Top tip…

When writing about your achievements in this section, highlight exactly what you did and why you did it. Perhaps the goal was meeting your sales target, saving the company money, or creating something more efficient. Define the purpose and goal in your mind. This will help you to write about the achievement more clearly as well as the impact that it had.

Accomplishments Section

This section can be used to reveal impressive achievements you gained outside of the workplace. A well-rounded accomplishments section can make up for a lack of work experience to a certain extent. However, you can also use this section to showcase your numerous achievements throughout your career.

The best practice, in this case, is to…

Make sure that the accomplishments you have included are easy for employers to understand. It is important to be able to give facts and figures to make the achievements more impactful. If you regularly exceeded your sales target, provide the exact percentage whenever possible.

Or suppose you were the top seller in the company. Then explain how many other sellers you were working with. If possible, mention how many weeks you were the top seller for and how this helped the rest of the team. Perhaps your performance inspired the other team members to perform better and increased sales in general?

Achievements To Leave off Your Resume

Creating a long list of achievements can be overwhelming to potential employers. So, identifying the achievements not to include in your resume is just as important as identifying those that you need to have. If the list is too long and disorganized, it can ultimately weaken your resume instead of strengthening it. So, here are examples of what not to include…

Old or Irrelevant Achievements

It is crucial to make sure that all the achievements you list are directly related to the job you are applying for. As you progress in your career, some achievements may have been eclipsed by larger ones. It is time to weed out these older achievements and highlight the more impressive or more recent accomplishments.

achievement to list on the resume

Personal or Isolating Topics

While you may have some impressive personal achievements, they may be too personal to include in your resume. Being a spokesman in a political rally may be impressive to some, but this does not belong on a resume. Make sure you always prioritize professional achievements and avoid politics and religion as much as possible.

Exaggerated Information

If your achievements sound especially impressive, the employer is likely to refer to them during your interview. Alternatively, the employer could ask for specific references that back up your achievements and awards. This could be embarrassing and damage your job prospects if you have exaggerated the details on your resume.

Accomplishments That Disclose Sensitive Information

Take care about the types of details you include, along with your professional accomplishments. Certain companies may require you to sign a non-disclosure agreement along with your contract. Not only does revealing company secrets look unprofessional, but it could also land you in serious trouble legally.

Is There Space on Your Resume for an Accomplishments Section?

Ultimately, employers need to be able to read your resume in just a few minutes. If your resume is already rather long, including a separate achievements section is a bad idea. Instead, weave your professional achievements into your experience, skills, and education sections.

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Back to today’s article…

Final Thoughts

Listing your professional and educational accomplishments helps employers understand your current skills and value as an employee. They also act as conversation starters when you get to the interview stage. Therefore, it is crucial to include achievements that are relatable and that you can talk about confidently.

Highlighting your achievements indicates to employers that you are a valuable candidate and understand your worth. While it is essential to avoid over exaggerating, make sure that you include strong achievements and accomplishments. This is sure to make employers sit up and take notice which is likely to give you the edge.

Happy job hunting!

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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