How to Turn Resume Duties into Accomplishments
How do you want to present yourself to the hiring manager when you apply for a new job? You would definitely want to portray your accomplishments to the interviewer rather than plainly explaining what your responsibilities in your last organization were.
You want to explicitly narrate what you have achieved in your career to the recruiter. One of the best methods of highlighting your achievements is to list them one by one on your resume.
In fact, writing accomplishment statements on your resume is a proven method to impress the hiring managers and increase your chances of getting hired.
After all, you want to show all the amazing things you did for your previous employers. It also gives the interviewer a fair idea of what you can do for them. On the other hand, just putting your weekly assignments on your resume is not going to make any such impression.
Most people fail to recognize the difference between job duties and achievements. As a matter of fact, it is really difficult to convert duties into accomplishments in the first place.
Therefore, most of the modern resumes still read like job descriptions.
However, creating good curriculum vitae can become a piece of cake for you once you manage to understand the difference between your job duties and achievements.
Following is our step-by-step guide to convert those bullet points on your resume into your biggest bragging points. So, grab your resume now and get going.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RESUME DUTIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
First of all, it is imperative for you to grasp how your accomplishments differ from your resume duties especially before you start writing your resume.
You need to draw a line where your duties end and accomplishments begin because both these sections must be the part of your resume as well.
However, many resume writers struggle to accomplish this task. This is because many achievements often seem to be your duties and vice versa.
You have to take great care when you determine which experiences and skills you have gained in your previous roles fall under the category of duties and which of them fall under the category of accomplishments.
This will definitely enable you to present your skills, duties, accomplishments and experiences in a more professional and appealing manner to the interviewer.
So, what actually constitutes duties and achievements in a work place? Following lines throw some light on both of them.
What are Achievements in a Workplace?
There are various definitions of achievement. It means attaining something through skills, effort, courage and experiences. It also means doing a remarkable feat. Achievement also means a task you have accomplished after putting a lot of hard work and using your abilities.
Above definitions clearly draw a line between achievements and duties. An accomplishment is something you have achieved through extreme hard work or outside sources which you cannot have access to in your office.
For instance, various types of trainings and classes you have taken to acquire new skills and improve you already have can be classified as achievements. Achievement is something you have attained by going out of the way and through sheer effort and dedication.
For instance, the diploma or degree you acquired after studying for a couple of years in the college is the proof of your achievement.
On the other hand, completing assignments, attending classes and passing tests to attain the degree were part of your responsibilities. You had to perform these duties to achieve something you so dearly wanted that is your college degree or diploma.
What are Duties in a Workplace?
You must thoroughly analyze your position and go through its detail if you want to understand the difference between your duties and achievements.
What were your responsibilities in your current and past roles? What tasks were regularly assigned to you? What were you supposed to do days in and days out?
You would definitely be able to compile a huge list of your responsibilities with regards to your position if you sit down and put some thought on what you have been doing all those years.
Now let’s say that your boss in one of your previous companies promoted you to a management position only after six months because you fulfilled your responsibilities so brilliantly.
Your promotion in this particular case is your achievement and all the responsibilities you followed through to get the promotion can be classified as your duties.
Tell the Hiring Manager what He Does Not Know Already
In simple words, the duties are how you perform a task and achievements are how well you perform them. The difference seems minimal but many people just fail to grasp it.
The end goal you want to attain is your achievement. Responsibilities on the other hand are all the things you have to do to attain that very goal.
For instance, “you planned a certain event” means you only performed a duty. However, you can considerably augment your CV by writing “I raised $200,000 by selling tickets to 500 persons in a charity event.” Now, can you see the difference. Planning an event is not a big deal. Everyone can do that.
But not many people can raise thousands of dollars for a charity in an event. In this case, your ability to influence people to attain a particular goal is what sets you apart from other candidates with similar skills, experience and abilities.
It is important to explain everything you did in detail because you want to tell hiring managers about you he does not already know. Most of the hiring managers already know what duties are associated with a certain job or role.
For instance, they know that duties of an admin assistant involve answering phone calls, providing customer service and managing files etc. You will not do any favor to yourself by putting these duties on your resume.
You actually need to sell yourself by painting a picture of your abilities. You can do this only by highlighting your achievements in your application rather than focusing only on your responsibilities.
Once you understand the difference, you will find it very easy to write a professional CV. It will enable you to put your duties and achievements in their appropriate places on your resume.
You will be able to create a CV with the ability that can move the hiring manager and compel him to hire you.
On the contrary, you can make some serious mistakes in your resume if you still have not grasped the basic difference between responsibilities and accomplishments.
It can make you look less professional and competent than you actually are, seriously damaging your chances of landing a job.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONVERT RESUME DUTIES INTO ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
This is the most common questions candidates ask to hiring experts. Can they successfully and effectively convert their job duties to achievements?
The answer is a big yes.
You can successfully accomplish this important task if you are little more careful while creating your CV.
You can effortlessly determine what your achievements are if you closely go through all of your duties and responsibilities. It is impossible to convert every duty to an achievement but you will be able to convert most of them fairly easily.
It is worth mentioning that you usually write job duties in a straightforward manner, plainly explaining what you were supposed to do in your previous roles.
For instance, you can suggest you provided support to a department or an individual or you planned events and attended important business meetings with clients in simple words.
However, you must narrate your accomplishment using more fancy words such as met, implemented, devised, attained, accomplished, introduced, approved, increased, delivered, improved, saved, reduced, negotiated and developed along with many more.
THE TYPE OF ACHIEVEMENTS YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IN YOUR CV
It is hard to keep track of your achievements in today’s faced paced business world. You are so busy in your day to day duties that you just cannot remember what you have achieved despite achieving a lot.
You happen to be totally at loss when it is time to recall all of your achievements and put them on your resume.
You feel like you haven’t accomplished anything and as a result, you fill your resume only with your duties.
Achievements You Should Track
You actually need to track each and every of your achievements. Whether it is the successful completion of projects to any award or commendation you received, it should be on your resume.
Similarly, you can also list your major accomplishments, recognitions and past awards which are not directly associated to the role you are applying for.
They will in fact highlight your qualities and abilities which employers want to have in their employees.
You need to include all the financial goals you attained with all the analytics and results. Track all the financial targets you achieved and how you achieved them.
Similarly, use analytics and facts to further highlight your success.
Resolving Difficult Situations
Have you ever worked through difficult situations with coworkers? If yes, you must reference it on your resume.
Don’t go berserk lest you cover valuable space on curriculum vitae.
Just explain in a single sentence what course of action you took to resolve the problem.
Completing Tasks on Time
It is never easy to complete tasks and projects on time. Therefore, if you have managed to complete them on time and within specified budget, it should be considered your greatest achievement. You can include details of the projects you successfully completed, both big and small, on your resume.
Overcoming Pressure Situations
You can really be a good employee if you have the ability to meet your goals by overcoming pressure situations. Employers value such employees a lot and want to have them in their teams.
Therefore, you should tell them that you are one such employee and can be a great asset for their organization.
You also need to keep track of the situations when you exceeded expectations and how you did that. Organizations always want to have employees who are willing to do more than what is expected of them.
Highlight Leadership Skills
You also need to highlight your leadership and administrative skills on your resume.
Therefore, if you held any such position in the past such as being a member of a board or leading a team, you must mention it on your CV regardless of the type of organization or industry.
Awards and Recognitions
Winning awards means you have the ability to excel in any work environment. They show your worth and how others, especially management, perceive of you.
Mentioning awards on the resume can considerably increase your chances of success especially if they are from a relevant industry or organization.
An example of the award you might have won is the “Employee of the Year Award.”
Similarly, you should also think of the times other praised you. What you did and why it was so special. Describe your approach and what the end results were.
Did you introduce a better system of working or completing tasks? Did you improve the work environment as a whole? What was your idea and how you persuaded others to implement it? It does not necessarily have to be anything big but should be able to demonstrate your experience and skills to the recruiter.
For instance, you might have introduced paperless environment, reducing the consumption of the paper in the office and related expenditures.
Employers and hiring managers actually love to see these kinds of things in a candidate’s resume. They show that you are not only able to do the job but to do it in the best manner possible.
It also highlights that you are a confident person with the ability to think and take actions at your own.
You can show how committed, dedicated and ambitious you are if you mention any extra responsibilities you fulfilled in your previous organizations. It also reflects your true potential, making it easier for the interviewer to hire you. One way of taking additional responsibilities is promotion.
However, it is mostly not in your own hands. Therefore, emphasize on any new practices you introduced in the workplace, how you helped others to complete their projects or why you became employees’ representative.
It also shows that you are capable of taking responsibility and pressure.
TURNING YOUR DUTIES INTO ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Now, you have fully understood the difference between resume duties and accomplishments. You also have fairly good idea of what type of accomplishments to include in your resume.
Now, it is time to discuss how you can further revamp your CV by turning most of your responsibilities into achievements. Following lines explain how you can perform this important duty.
Know the Difference
We have already explained the difference between the resume responsibilities and accomplishments in detail. However, this is the most important step towards creating a really nice and result oriented curriculum vitae.
You can only create a winning CV if you grasp this difference otherwise your CV will not be able to compete with more professionally written and formatted resumes.
Make a List of Your Accomplishments
The next step is to make a list of all of your accomplishments you can think of. In the previous section, we have talked about some of the accomplishments you can include in your resume.
You may or may not need to list all of them on your CV depending upon the job and the nature of organization you are applying for.
However, do mention all of your accomplishments which set you apart from rest of the candidates.
For instance, you can talk about the following for each of your previous positions.
- Have I done anything which was beyond and above my job description?
- How I was better than other employees? What made me stand out of the crowd?
- Did my supervisor ever recognize me for my good performance? If yes, when and how?
- As mentioned above, you want to talk about all of your awards and recognition if you have won any.
- Did I improve the working environment by introducing and implementing new processes?
- What particular problems I solved which others failed to even identify?
- Did I meet goals or exceed expectations consistently over a period of time?
- Did I ever help my company save money by cutting extra expenditures?
- Why was I really great at my job? What are my skills and abilities which helped me excell in a certain role?
Use Numbers to Pain the Picture
The third step is to thoroughly examine your list and try to add as many facts, figures and numbers you can.
How many people you were able to influence and impact during your time in a certain organization? By what percentage you improved the productivity or the profits of the company? By what percentage you exceeded the expectations of your seniors?
Specify the exact amount of money you managed or saved instead of simply saying you managed the company’s budget.
Painting the pictures with numbers is one of the best methods to enable hiring managers to visualize how you can help their company prosper and reach highest levels of success.
They will also understand how passionate you are about your job and the level of energy you need to perform duties associated with the job you have applied for.
Talk about Benefits
The fourth step is to analyze how much your boss or company benefited from each of your accomplishment or achievement.
This is important because you will be telling your prospective employers what you are capable of doing. How beneficial your experience and skills can be for them if they hire you?
You need to remember they will only hire you if you have something in you for them.
The moment they realize you are just another ordinary candidate, they will simply ignore your application and divert their attention to other better candidates.
For instance, it is suicidal to write, “You prepared 30 clients reports each month.” This statement does not reflect what you actually did or how you helped you previous employer achieve his objectives. You need to explain this little further.
For example, you can say, “Ensured the provision of complete and timely information to our valued clients by creating and preparing 30 weekly and monthly clients reports.”
This particular statement will inform the hiring manager about your real talent. He will learn that you are resourceful and can find different ways to facilitate the company’s clients and provide them with high quality services.
You actually tell the hiring manager that you are capable to bring more tangible things to the company if you include benefits of your previous actions in the resume.
Do List Volunteer Work Experience
Any volunteer experience you had in the past is part of your achievements because it was beyond your responsibilities and duties.
In fact, listing such type of experience can greatly boast your resume if you are a newbie or short of experience related to the position you have applied for. It can actually give additional insight about you to the hiring managers as well.
For instance, if you mention in your resume that you managed three charity events last year or collected funds for the victims of Hurricane Michael, you will actually be highlighting your excellent managerial and communication skills to the recruiters.
In fact, it is important to have a separate section for your volunteer experience just like your normal job duties in case of a paid job. Don’t forget to write the name of the organization you did volunteer work for in addition to your title, date of service and your accomplishments.
It is also important for novices to sign up for volunteer experience because it can further enhance their achievement section.
Even if you are stuffing envelopes, putting flyers on the walls or distributing brochures, you have something new to write on your CV, making it better than it originally was. Not to mention, you will hopefully have a rewarding and fulfilling experience as well.
Also Include Immeasurable Achievements
There are times when you cannot measure your achievements in hard numbers. For instance, you have managed to smoothly run a crowded office for a prolonged period of time.
Or, you assumed the duties of phone troubleshooting, relieving some of the pressure on IT department.
You ensured that bills are sent to the clients on time by completely revamping the company’s billing system. These are some of the immeasurable goals you can attain in any office.
However, you can list all of these achievements in your CV and they will have exactly the same effect on recruiters as measurable achievements.
Include Achievements outside the Workplace
You can also take on projects and duties outside your scope of work to acquire new skills and enhance you repertoire. These activities and projects can help you grow in powerful ways.
Therefore, it is imperative for you to mention them on your resume as well. Although work related experiences carry more weight yet things you achieved outside your workplace can greatly boast your resume as well.
Remember that duties and accomplishment vary from industry to industry and job description to job description.
You need to understand the subtle difference in order to make your resume more attractive and appealing to the recruiters.
They both are equally important and should be presented effectively and temptingly in their own sections on the resume.
Only then you will be able to impress the recruiter and compel him to hire you.
Professors and researchers have been warning about the practice of resume whitening for a while now! …