Starting from Scratch

Take your brainstorming sheet and turn it into resume language.

Writing Accomplishment Statements

What are Accomplishment Statements?

A common weakness found with undergraduate resumes (and even resumes of seasoned professionals), is the absence of accomplishment statements. It’s easy to write on a resume what you did in a particular job, internship or even volunteer opportunity, but the more challenging part (and usually more important part) is telling the reader how good you are at what you did. This is done through accomplishment statements.

Basics of Accomplishment Statements

A well-formulated accomplishment statement has two parts:
  1. The results or benefits that came as a result of your work. These results/benefits should be stated in terms of the value added and in as tangible and quantified a manner as possible.
  2. The action you took to achieve those benefits/results.

Examples of Accomplishment Statements

  • “Directed team of 4 classmates to complete marketing project on time”
  • “Instituted residence hall tutoring program that increased average overall GPA from a 2.9 to a 3.3”
  • “Increased membership in ABC student club by 40% through creative advertising”
  • “Presented training for new campus-wide email system to approximately 30% of the student body”

What are not considered Accomplishments

  • Daily responsibilities that are included in your job description
  • Regular attendance at work
  • Working full-time while going to college at night
  • Volunteer or community service unless it has a direct bearing on your job search
In other words, an accomplishment is service that goes beyond your usual job description. The best statements describe how you added value by increasing efficiency, saving time, and saving money.

How to Write Accomplishment Statements

Always start with an action word

  • Good: “Responsible for leading team for classroom assignments.”
  • Better: “Directed team of 4 classmates to complete assignment on time”

Attempt to quantify

  • Good: “Routed calls to Annual Giving staff.”
  • Better: “Routed over 100 calls daily to Annual Giving staff of 10.”

State first the benefit to the employer and then what you did to accomplish the result

  • Good: “Developed a marketing strategy that increased student involvement”
  • Better: “Increased student involvement by 15% through a creative marketing strategy"

Gathering the Information

As an exercise to gather your career achievements, review your former jobs and roles and responsibilities within each position. Ask yourself what tasks you performed. What did you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? Now think about the challenges you faced while performing these duties. Accomplishments are often the result of creative solutions to unique or ongoing challenges. Some Additional Hints To help list your accomplishments, think of a time when you: Increased Profits • Did what couldn’t be done • Found a new opportunity • Reduced Costs • Foresaw a need • Accomplished the same with less • Reduced Errors • Foresaw a problem • Accomplished more with the same • Reduced conflict • Found an easier solution • Presented a problem • Improved teamwork • Found a cheaper solution • Solved a chronic problem • Raised Standards