How to Phrase Achievements on Your Resume for Job Applications, Performance Reviews, or Raise Requests
Are you thinking of a new position, a performance review, or an annual raise? Prepare gradually by knowing the measurable components of your work and noting your achievements on a regular basis.
Gather data about your accomplishments for potential resume updates.
I recommend that you jot down, on a regular basis (each month, quarter, or year—depending on the type of work you do), the problems you solved at work, how you solved them, and what the measurable results were for the company, internal or externals customers, or other stakeholders.
- The problem is a situation in which a work challenge is either presented to you by the office or identified by you on your own.
- Your solution is the method or the approach you take to improve the situation (your analytical skills, knowledge of your work environment, leadership, problem-solving, or ability to use technology).
- The result is a measurable outcome for the whole company, one department, or a particular group of people.
Make notes on the context and quantify the results where applicable. This can include:
- new prospects opened
- effective processes introduced
- number of work hours or dollars saved
- % of the increase in revenue or accuracy
If the outcome is not measurable in terms of quantity, accurately describe the resulting change in quality (improvements in relationships, staff motivation, or new opportunities).
This approach is commonly used for active job search or performance reviews. However, if, in the absence of a performance review, you see an opportunity to present your accomplishments to the management, you may choose to email them your description of achievements (problem – solution – result) and request a raise.
The sample resume below features examples of quantified achievements.
Here are some questions you can use for self-assessment. Not all of them apply to your situation, but some of them can give you an idea of the measurable results and details you have not yet put on your resume.
Your personal brand is a consistent representation of your work – online, in person, and on paper. Questions to ponder:
How do you want to position yourself within your specialization and industry?
Are there any niches where you are a Subject Matter Expert? Does this stand out to a new reader of your LinkedIn profile early on?
What are your top 3-5 unique selling points/differentiators?
What are the top 3 personality traits that brought you professional success?
What is your unique combination of soft skills and hard skills?
What is your leadership style like? What do your subordinates or mentees say about you?
What specific problems do you help your employers solve and how?
What are some of your favorite problems to solve in the workplace?
How do your soft skills strengthen your work practice and the value you deliver?
What would be your desired tone/voice for work-related social media posts?
Who is your target audience and what information do they need the most now?
How many people were on your team, how many direct reports (if applicable)?
What were the target metrics and how did you perform?
Did you achieve or exceed any targets? By how much?
If you created anything from the ground up, what measurable impact did it have on the company?
Language for the resume could be:
From the ground up, conceptualized, developed, and put in place tools to re-focus marketing efforts on XZY. As a result, propelled engagement by 60% and site visits by 74%.
If you led projects, what were the budgets, deadlines, deliverables, and number of contractors? Which of those numbers could you combine/reveal on the resume to show impact and scope?
Were you able to deliver projects under budget and before the deadline, or save costs and time? If so, quantify the results.
Not every aspect of your work can be measured in numbers. What quality improvements have you achieved and how? Thinks of several before-and-after scenarios.
Promotions and Reputation:
Have any new positions or projects been designed for you specifically?
If so, in recognition of what skills or expertise?
If you received promotions, what were the projects or achievements that led to the raise?
How many competitors were there who qualified for the promotion but did not get it? Language for the resume might be:
Promoted before 9 competitors in recognition of outstanding skills in XYZ.
How soon were you promoted? (It is certainly worth noting on the resume if you were offered a more senior role in less than a year.)
The first among 30 sales associates to be promoted to a management role in 6 months.
Have you been invited as a contractor or special project contributor by previous employees?
Are you sought-after as a speaker, presenter, or consultant?
What hard or soft skills have you been praised for in the workplace?
Have you trained or mentored any team members? If so, what skills did you teach them?
Have you developed a new process from scratch?
Have you advised senior leadership on process improvement measures?
Have you led any projects with multiple locations? Elaborate on the complexity of the projects.
Has there been a change in company structure or a major transformation? What and how have you contributed (integrations, acquisitions, any new initiatives to overhaul performance)?
If you have professional training within the last 5 years, was the program selective? If so, mention this on the resume.
Has your employer sponsored the training?
What were you able to do at the end of the training that you were not able to do at the beginning?
Are you a member of any industry associations that are directly related to the target role? If not, could you join 1-2 such associations and highlight membership on your resume?
Do you actively follow industry trends via conferences and association publications? If so, the people you meet there may be an excellent source of new ideas for your job search.
Roles Older than 10 Years:
Is there anything about these roles that is essential and directly related to the target roles? If not, condense them to 1-2 lines.
Do you have recent testimonials or quotes from previous colleagues or supervisors (emails, letters of recommendation, or LinkedIn recommendations)? Use some of them on your resume, cover letter, and/or references sheet.
Language for the resume could be:
Recognized by the colleagues and senior leaders for improving processes and empowering teams to achieve their best performance.
If not, who are the people (colleagues, leaders, bosses, clients) whom you could ask to provide recommendations?
Your professional network consists of many levels of people – colleagues, service providers, clients, alumni, friends, and professionals in related industries.
Do you have a ‘map’ of your professional network?
How do you introduce yourself to new colleagues when you reach out?
Do you have a list of target companies you want to research?
Do you network regularly or only when looking for a new job?
Do you network as a Subject Matter Expert, sharing knowledge with your colleagues?
If some of these questions have helped you identify areas in your career development that need more attention, write them out, create a list of action items, set smaller goals, and start improving your career documents based on these new ideas.
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