En Route: A Career Blog

Having difficulty coming up with accomplishments?

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

In my career, I’ve created more than 10,000 resumes, cover letters and other business documents for clients. I’ve seen and heard it all. When someone tells me they have absolutely no quantified accomplishments to put on a resume, I know that’s not true.

Why?

If the client had achieved nothing at his or her career, if the only purpose was to show up for a paycheck, then that individual would have been fired faster than he or she could have ever imagined. Companies don’t babysit adults and pay them for simply sitting in a chair all day. If you’re not achieving, you’re history. Therefore, the question to ask yourself is ‘how valuable am I to my current – or past – company?’

Within the answer will be the first of your accomplishments.

An accomplishment is making your company money or saving it money

For example: I have a client who has worked fifteen years for ABC Firm. “Nope, I have no accomplishments,” he tells me.

“Fine,” I say. “So if you were to quit your job today, the position would be eliminated?”

“Well, no. They’d have to hire someone.”

“Just someone?” I ask. “Just one person?”

“At least two people,” he says. “I do the work of two, maybe three people.”

Hmmm. “What’s your salary?” I ask.

“$60,000 a year.”

I do some quick math. “If your company would need two people to replace you, they’d have to shell out $120,000. If it were three, the number would rise to $180,000 annually. Am I correct?”

“You bet.”

“Then,” I say, “you’re saving your company $60,000-$120,000 a year by doing the work of two to three people. THAT’S an accomplishment.”

This is what every candidate needs to do when composing a resume. Brainstorm with yourself, consider your value to a company, what they’d be losing if you moved on. Whatever that is, that’s the beginning of your accomplishment.

An accomplishment that’s not quantified has little impact

With all achievements make certain they’re quantified – that is, they contain dollar figures, percentages of improvement and time periods. If you made your company $500,000 that’s impressive, until the hiring manager learns that it took you 20 years to do so. If you made that half million for ABC firm within six months of hire, that’s amazing.

And it’s what gets a hiring manager’s attention.