Dispelling the One-Page Resume Myth

You need to log in to view this content.
Please log in here.
Not a premium subscriber? Register for your Starter (free) Membership here and learn more about upgraded services.
Logged in but reached this page in error? Try clicking here.

Developing a Brag Book

Click here to add your own text

Job Search Library Categories

Applying for a Job

Branding

Career Change

Career Planning

Evaluating a Job Offer

Interviewing

LinkedIn

Looking for a Job

Losing Your Job

Networking

Resume

Social Media

Developing a Brag Book

If it’s true that a picture is worth 1,000 words, why don’t jobseekers come to job interviews prepared to show and tell?

One of the best ways to do this is with a “brag book,” otherwise known as a portfolio, leave-behind, or interview presentation binder.

While portfolios are expected in certain “creative” professions, jobseekers in many more “traditional” fields could benefit from preparing a brag book to use in an interview.

Putting together a brag book is also an excellent way to prepare for a job interview, as it can be used to reflect on what knowledge, skills, and abilities will be most relevant for the targeted position.

A brag book is also an excellent confidence booster. There’s just something about seeing all of your accomplishments in print that boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

A brag book is useful in a job search to:

  • Tangibly showcase your accomplishments
  • Document the breadth/depth of your educational credentials, training, and professional development
  • Set you apart from other candidates who are interviewed for the job
  • Give you a “prop” to make you more comfortable answering questions in the interview
  • Allow you to provide greater depth and detail about your qualifications than yoau can on the résumé alone

Posting a portfolio online can help set you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market. You can link to your digital portfolio on your LinkedIn profile as well as provide a link to the portfolio on your résumé.

The brag book is primarily designed to be used in the job interview — both to illustrate your qualifications and (possibly) as a leave-behind piece. Developing a customized brag book for use as a leave-behind can be a very effective strategy. It shows you prepared for the interview.

A brag book can also be used in your current job — for example, in a performance evaluation meeting or when requesting a raise and/or promotion.

Brag books support your qualifications as a candidate. The purpose of the brag book is to substantiate the information contained in your résumé and on your LinkedIn profile. Thus, your résumé and LinkedIn profile are the best place to start when compiling your brag book.

What to Put in Your Brag Book

How do you decide what to include in your brag book?

  • Review your résumé and identify any portfolio pieces that could substantiate your education, experience, training, or other qualifications.
  • Think about the responsibilities of the position you are seeking. Are there any skills that the position requires that you want to showcase your experience with — for example, writing, photography, social media, or leadership?

Here are some of the kinds of things you can put in your brag book:

Education/Training

  • A copy of your college or university transcript
  • Copies of the certificates or diplomas for trainings/workshops/degrees listed on your résumé
  • Example of major class assignments — report, presentation, or project (for recent graduates)
  • Documentation of knowledge of a foreign language (certificate, grade, or test result)
  • Licenses

Work-Related Documentation

  • Performance evaluations (or excerpts of evaluations) from supervisors or managers
  • Work samples (projects, newsletters, photographs, case studies, proposals, surveys)
  • Papers/reports/publications you’ve authored
  • Samples of communication/writing skills (writing samples)
  • Evidence of computer/multimedia skills
  • Logs/lists/charts that document your performance
  • Sales information — but make sure you are not disclosing confidential information
  • 30-60-90 Day Plan — what you plan to do in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job in your new position

Awards and Honors

  • If you mentioned an award on the résumé, include a copy of the certificate or photo of the trophy
  • Photos of individual or team participation in an event or award
  • Scholarships received

Feedback/Testimonials/Endorsements

  • Include copies of any thank you letters you’ve received, including letters and emails from customers and/or co-workers
  • Letters of recommendation from previous supervisors and managers
  • List of references
  • LinkedIn Recommendations — you can either select a few and put one on each page, or put together a page of Recommendation excerpts

Community or Organizational Involvement

  • List of professional affiliations, including leadership roles
  • Clubs or activities you’re involved with
  • Photos of events you helped organize
  • Newspaper clippings featuring you at work or your involvement in charity work or with a nonprofit organization

Other Documentation to Include

  • Personal statement or philosophy
  • Résumé
  • LinkedIn summary
  • Career overview (bio or list of positions/dates)
  • Photographs of you in action (on the job, or involved in volunteer activities)
  • Photo of you delivering a presentation

How to Create Your Brag Book

You can make an excellent hard copy (physical) brag book for under $30 — but you may decide to invest more, depending on how many pages/sections you include.

First, assemble any and all materials you are considering including in your brag book. Start a file of all of the documents that you may possibly want to include.

Some tips:

  • If you don’t already have them, contact previous supervisors and request letters of recommendation.
  • Call your college or university and request a copy of your transcript. Or check the school’s website — some allow you to order transcripts online. If you have to, pay for a certified copy of your transcript rather than logging into an online account and simply printing out a list of classes.

Next, review your materials to prioritize what to include.

Create a logical order and structure for your brag book. This can be reverse chronological or by section. Start with your most recent accomplishment and work backwards.

Your brag book should be 10-25 pages in length.

If it’s more than 20 pages, it should include a table of contents, listing the documents that are included (although you do not have to number the pages).

Consider creating sections to make it easy to navigate. If dividing the brag book into sections, use professional divider tabs. You can purchase these in an office supply store. Generally, a 5-tab or 8-tab configuration is sufficient.

You can purchase a view binder from an office supply store. Choose the most durable (heavy-duty) option they sell — and opt for the “D” ring style instead of the standard “O” ring. (This makes it easier to turn the pages.) A 1” or 1-1/2” size is sufficient to start.

Have a cover made for your portfolio. Title it “Professional Portfolio of [Your Name].”

This is easily done on Fiverr.com (www.fiverr.com). For $5, you can have a flat image designed. Search for an ebook cover designer. This one was designed by a designer named Vikiana (www.fiverr.com/vikiana). Send along a high resolution photo of yourself.

For an extra $20, you can get both a front and back cover, plus a spine design.

Purchase clear sheet protectors — the kind you can slip sheets of paper into. Either top-loading or side-loading sleeves will work. Purchase the heaviest (strongest) ones they have — and make sure they will hold 4-5 sheets of paper. (You will include multiple copies of each page in one sheet protector, so you can give a copy to the interviewer — at their request.)

Have color laser prints/copies made of your photos and documents — or, if you print them yourself, make sure you choose the highest quality setting on your printer. Color prints are preferable to black-and-white.

Do not, under any circumstance, include original documents in your brag book (except for your résumé). This way, if you are asked for your transcript, for example, you’re giving the interviewer a copy (one of several you’ve made), not your only copy (your original).

Take the time to “polish” the materials. For example, type a key phrase or phrase from a performance evaluation on a single sheet, listing the name of the supervisor who wrote it and the date of the review. This makes your brag book more “scannable.”

Design your pages. Don’t just include a photo — to be sure to put a description of what’s going on in the photo, who is in the photo (identify the scene/setting/participants), and your role. Use captions to explain/highlight the specific skills or experience you are emphasizing (if the item is not self-explanatory).

Proofread and edit carefully. Review all the materials in your brag book for typos, spelling, grammar, and formatting issues. Have a friend or family member proofread it too.

When possible, tailor your brag book specifically for a desired job. If you use a 3-ring binder with page protector sheets, you can simply insert the pages you want to include for a particular job interview. For example, if the position requires public speaking skills, include a photo of you delivering a presentation to a large crowd. If the position does not require presentation skills, then you could leave that page out.

For maximum results, personalize the portfolio — especially if it’s a leave-behind piece.

The first page should include some or all of the following information:

  • Full contact information — your name, address, cell phone, email
  • Your LinkedIn URL
  • Job title and company name for the position being sought
  • Your photo (either a professional photo or a photo of you at work)

A few more tips:

  • Choose only the best examples of your work to include.
  • Carefully cultivate items to include that provide concrete evidence of your skills.
  • When in doubt, leave it out. If you are not sure if you should include a particular item, don’t put it in your portfolio.

Creating Online Brag Books

According to a 2012 survey conducted by Hams Interactive, 37% of hiring personnel use social websites to check on clients. A digital portfolio is one way to highlight what hiring managers will find about you online.

A digital or online version of a brag book has several advantages. Creating duplicate physical brag books is time intensive and can get expensive. Digital brag books can be copied and customized very easily. They are also easily shared with prospective employers. A digital brag book is also easier to keep updated.

Another advantage of a digital brag book is the multimedia capabilities — you can include video, audio files, photos, and document files.

One new, innovative way to create a brag book online is to use Pinterest (www.pinterest.com). Because Pinterest is a visual medium, search out images to represent career milestones — for example, a photo of you in a cap and gown with your diploma, and then a close-up of your diploma. Or a photo of you receiving a sales award, and then a scan of the award certificate. Pinterest also allows you to pin videos, so you can include a video of you making a presentation, for example.

Do you work with recognizable client companies? Assemble their logos in a collage labeled “Key Clients” or “Strategic Account Management.”

You can also create a PowerPoint presentation and save it as a PDF file that you can bring up on an iPad or other tablet device in a job interview. Here’s a PowerPoint presentation example:

Microsoft offers numerous free PowerPoint templates:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/powerpoint-templates-FX102828209.aspx

Using a Brag Book in an Interview

Before using a brag book in an interview, you will need to practice. Incorporate your brag book as part of your natural conversation. Role-play an interview with a friend, colleague, or family member, and practice referring to your brag book to answer questions.

At the beginning of the job interview, let the interviewer know you’ve prepared a “portfolio” that illustrates your qualifications and accomplishments. Offer to let him/her review it. If the interviewer declines, set it aside until you need it to illustrate a point or answer a question in the interview.

You can offer the brag book again at the conclusion of the interview. In general, you will not want to leave your brag book with the interviewer, unless you are specifically asked to do so. Being asked to leave it is a great sign that the interview went well.

However, don’t plan on getting a leave-behind brag book returned. If you don’t get offered the job, you can follow up and request the book back, but don’t be surprised if the interviewer can’t locate it, or says it’s been discarded. This happens. Instead, consider creating a specific leave-behind version of your brag book. You can have a bound book made at your local office supply store. Have your customized cover printed on cardstock, and have the book wire-bound or spiral-bound.

If you have not created a specific leave-behind portfolio and you are asked to leave a brag book with the interviewer, immediately start working on creating a replacement book. If you get the original book back, you’ll have a spare. This is also why it’s important not to include original photos or documents in your brag book.

Be Ready

Building your brag book from scratch will take some time, but you can start small and improve it over time. Keep it updated and when an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to respond.

Resume Accomplishments: Brag about It!

Click here to add your own text

Job Search Library Categories

Applying for a Job

Branding

Career Change

Career Planning

Evaluating a Job Offer

Interviewing

LinkedIn

Looking for a Job

Losing Your Job

Networking

Resume

Social Media

Resume Accomplishments: Brag about It!

Our memories are short. Can you remember all the details of the project you worked on last week? How about last month? What about a year ago?

One of the best ways to prepare for a time when you will need to share your accomplishments is to collect details of your achievements as you go along — and there’s no better time than now to start!

Accomplishments demonstrate your skills and experience. It’s one thing to claim you can do something — it’s another to prove you’ve done it.

In sports, we keep score. It helps us evaluate our progress compared to others. But in your career, it’s sometimes harder to measure your progress. If your current boss doesn’t provide performance evaluations, tracking your own accomplishments is even more important. You can track your metrics and communicate this information to your boss — you can provide it in an “end-of-year review,” and even if you only submit the information in writing, it can help you showcase what you’ve done and the value you add to the organization.

This guide will give you the framework to collect your accomplishments.

When to Collect Accomplishments

There are many situations when you can benefit from a review of your accomplishments — and it’s not just when you’re developing your résumé for the first time, or when it’s time to update your résumé.

Here are some other reasons for collecting your accomplishments:

  • For performance evaluations or an annual review
  • To set your personal and professional goals for the next year
  • Tracking the progress of projects you’re working on
  • To support your candidacy and qualifications in a job interview
  • When you want to make the case for a raise or a promotion
  • To remind you of your achievements when you’re having a bad day
  • When applying for recognition (awards or scholarships)

Quantifying your accomplishments also helps you stand out from others who do the work you do — whether you’re using the information for a raise or promotion request, or when seeking a new job opportunity. But accomplishments go beyond the basic job duties and responsibilities.

There is also value in simply collecting and reflecting on your personal and professional accomplishments. If you don’t “toot your own horn,” who will?

Tracking and Documenting Your Accomplishments

There are several ways you can collect your accomplishments:

  • Online. You can create a Microsoft Word file to document your achievements. (Be sure to back up your file regularly.) In your email program, you can create a folder for accomplishments and send yourself emails to store in that folder. You can also use an app like Evernote.
  • Offline. Something as simple as a file folder or notebook can be used to track your achievements. You could also use a diary.

When you receive a “kudos” email, forward a copy to your personal email account. To help you organize it, tag or label it with a specific subject line (like “Kudos”).

If you receive notes of appreciation from customers, coworkers, or your company, compile those. You can make a copy and keep it in hard copy form, or take a screen shot and keep a digital copy.

You should also print out and/or take a screenshot of any LinkedIn Recommendations you have on your profile. These are an important part of your accomplishments record as well.

Other ways to document accomplishments:

  • Take photos.
  • Collect news clippings (the digital equivalent is setting up a Google Alert for yourself)
  • Create a brag book or portfolio.

How often should you update your accomplishments? As often as necessary. For some, that may mean weekly updates (for example, if you’re working on a series of projects); for others, that could mean a quarterly assessment. The most important thing is to take the time to do this on an ongoing basis. Put an alarm or task reminder on your calendar so you remember to set aside the time to track your accomplishments regularly.

Writing Up Your Accomplishments

Accuracy in collecting your accomplishments is critical. Quantify the scope and scale of the achievement in terms of percentages, numbers, and/or dollars. Be as specific as you can.

Make the statements as powerful as possible. Include action verbs in your accomplishment statements — in fact, try leading with one. If you are having a hard time thinking of your achievements, you can also review the verb list to brainstorm your accomplishments.

Here is a list of accomplishment-stimulating verbs:

[column-group]
[column]
Accelerated

Accentuated

Accepted

Accessed

Accessorized

Accommodated

Accomplished

Accountable for

Accounted for

Achieved

Acquired

Acted

Activated

Adapted

Added

Addressed

Adhered

Adjudicated

Adjusted

Administered

Admitted

Adopted

Advanced

Advertised

Advised

Advocated

Affected

Aided

Aligned

Allayed

Alleviated

Allocated

Altered

Amassed

Amended

Amplified

Analyzed

Anchored

Announced

Answered

Anticipated

Applied

Appointed

Appraised

Appreciated

Approached

Appropriated

Approved

Arbitrated

Argued

Arranged

Articulated

Ascertained

Assembled

Assessed

Assigned

Assisted

Assumed

Attained

Attended

Attracted

Audited

Augmented

Authenticated

Authored

Authorized

Automated

Averted

Avoided

Awarded

Balanced

Bargained

Began

Believed

Bestowed

Bettered

Bid

Blended

Booked

Boosted

Bought

Brainstormed

Bred

Briefed

Broadened

Brought

Budgeted

Built

Calculated

Calibrated

Campaigned

Capitalized

Captured

Carried out

Carved

Cataloged/Catalogued

Catapulted

Categorized

Caused

Celebrated

Centralized

Certified

Chaired

Challenged

Championed

Changed

Channeled

Charged

Charted

Checked

Choreographed

Chose

Circulated

Clarified

Classified

Cleared

Closed

Coached

Co-Authored

Collaborated

Collated

Collected

Combined

Commanded

Commercialized

Commissioned

Committed

Commoditized

Communicated

Compared

Compelled

Competed

Compiled

Completed

Composed

Computed

Computerized

Conceived

Conceptualized

Concluded

Condensed

Conducted

Conferred

Confirmed

Connected

Conserved

Considered

Consistently/Consistently found

Consolidated

Constructed

Consulted

Contacted

Contained

Continued

Contracted

Contrasted

Contributed/Contributed to

Controlled

Convened

Converted

Conveyed

Convinced

Cooperated

Coordinated

Corrected

Correlated

Corresponded

Corroborated

Counseled

Counteracted

Crafted

Created

Critiqued

Crystallized

Cultivated

Curtailed

Customized

Cut

Dealt

Debugged

Decentralized

Decided

Deciphered

Declared

Decreased

Dedicated

Deferred

Defined

Defrayed

Delegated

Delivered

Demonstrated

Deployed

Depreciated

Derived

Described

Designated

Designed

Detailed

Detected

Determined

Developed

Devised

Devoted

Diagnosed

Diagrammed

Differentiated

Diminished

Directed

Disbursed

Discerned

Disclosed

Discovered

Dispatched

Dispensed

Displayed

Dissected

Disseminated

Dissolved

Distinguished

Distributed

Diversified

Diverted

Divested

Divided

Divulged

Documented

Dominated

Doubled

Downsized

Drafted

Drew/Drew up

Drove

Earned

Economized

Edited

Educated

Effected

Elaborated

Elected

Elevated

Elicited

Eliminated

Emphasized

Employed

Empowered

Enabled

Enacted

Encouraged

Endeavored

Endorsed

Endured

Energized

Enforced

Engaged

Engineered

Enhanced

Enlarged

Enlisted

Enlivened

Enriched

Enrolled

Ensured

Entered

Entertained
[/column]
[column]
Enticed

Entrenched

Equalized

Equipped

Eradicated

Escorted

Established

Estimated

Evaluated

Examined

Exceeded

Excelled

Exchanged

Executed

Exempted

Exercised

Exhibited

Expanded

Expedited

Experienced

Experimented

Expertise in

Explained

Exploded

Explored

Exported

Expressed

Extended

Extracted

Extricated

Fabricated

Facilitated

Factored

Fashioned

Featured

Fielded

Field-Tested

Filed

Filled

Filtered

Finalized

Financed

Finished

Fixed

Flew

Focused

Followed

Forecast/Forecasted

Forged

Formalized

Formed

Formulated

Fortified

Forwarded

Fostered

Fought

Found

Found and corrected

Founded

Framed

Fulfilled

Functioned as

Funded

Furnished

Furthered

Gained

Gathered

Gauged

Geared

Generated

Governed

Graduated

Granted

Greeted

Grew

Grossed

Grouped

Guided

Halted

Handled

Harmonized

Harvested

Hastened

Headed

Heightened

Held

Helped

Hired

Honed

Honored

Hosted

Hurried

Hypothesized

Identified

Illustrated

Imagined

Implemented

Imported

Improved

Improvised

Incorporated

Increased

Indexed

Induced

Influenced

Informed

Infused

Initiated

Innovated

Inquired

Inspected

Inspired

Installed

Instilled

Instituted

Instructed

Instrumental in

Insured

Integrated

Intensified

Interacted

Interpreted

Intervened

Interviewed

Introduced

Invented

Inventoried

Invested

Investigated

Invited/Invited to

Involved

Isolated

Issued

Itemized

Joined

Jointly acquired

Judged

Justified

Kept

Labeled

Launched

Learned

Lectured

Led

Lessened

Leveraged

Liaison between

Licensed

Lifted

Lightened

Liquidated

Listed

Listened

Litigated

Lobbied

Localized

Located

Logged

Lowered

Maintained

Managed

Mandated

Maneuvered

Manipulated

Manufactured

Mapped

Marked

Marketed

Mastered

Masterminded

Matched

Maximized

Measured

Mediated

Mended

Mentored

Merchandised

Merged

Met

Minimized

Mobilized

Modeled

Moderated

Modernized

Modified

Molded

Monetized

Monitored

Motivated

Mounted

Moved

Multiplied

Named

Narrated

Narrowed

Navigated

Negotiated

Netted

Networked

Nominated

Normalized

Notified

Obliterated

Observed

Obtained

Offered

Officiated

Opened

Operated

Operationalized

Optimized

Orchestrated

Ordered

Organized

Oriented

Originated

Outdid

Outlined

Outsourced

Overcame

Overhauled

Oversaw

Paced

Packaged

Packed

Paid

Painted

Parlayed

Participated

Partnered

Passed

Patented

Patrolled

Patterned

Perceived

Perfected

Performed

Permitted

Persuaded

Photographed

Piloted

Pinpointed

Pioneered

Placed

Planned

Planted

Played

Pointed out

Positioned

Posted

Practiced

Predicted

Prepared

Prescribed

Presented

Preserved

Presided

Prevented

Priced

Printed

Prioritized

Probed

Processed

Proclaimed

Procured

Produced

Professionalized
[/column]
[column]

Proficient in

Profiled

Programmed

Progressed

Projected

Promoted

Promulgated

Proofread

Propelled

Proposed

Prosecuted

Prospected

Protected

Proved

Provided

Publicized

Published

Purchased

Pursued

Quadrupled

Qualified

Quantified

Queried

Questioned

Quoted

Raised

Ran

Ranked

Rated

Ratified

Reached

Read

Realigned

Realized

Rearranged

Reasoned

Rebuilt

Recaptured

Received

Recognized/Recognized need for

Recommended

Reconciled

Reconstructed

Recorded

Recovered

Recruited/Recruited by

Rectified

Recycled

Redesigned

Redirected

Reduced

Reengineered

Reestablished

Reevaluated

Referred

Refinanced

Refined

Reformed

Regained

Registered

Regulated

Rehabilitated

Reimbursed

Reinforced

Reinvigorated

Rejuvenated

Related

Remained

Remedied

Remodeled

Rendered

Renegotiated

Renewed

Renovated

Reorganized

Repaired

Replaced

Replicated

Reported

Repositioned

Represented

Reproduced

Requested

Required

Requisitioned

Rescued

Researched

Reserved

Reshaped

Resolved

Responded

Restored

Restructured

Resupplied

Retained

Retooled

Retrieved

Returned

Reused

Revamped

Revealed

Reversed

Reviewed

Revised

Revitalized

Revived

Revolutionized

Rotated

Routed

Safeguarded

Salvaged

Sampled

Satisfied

Saved

Scanned

Scheduled

Scouted

Screened

Scrutinized

Sculpted

Searched

Secured

Selected

Sent

Separated

Sequenced

Served

Serviced

Set strategy

Set up

Settled

Sewed

Shaped

Shared

Shepherded

Shipped

Shortened

Shot

Showed

Shrank

Signaled

Signed

Simplified

Simulated

Sketched

Slashed

Sold

Solicited

Solidified

Solved

Sorted

Sourced

Sparked

Spearheaded

Specialized

Specified

Speculated

Speeded

Spent

Spoke

Sponsored

Spread

Stabilized

Staffed

Staged

Standardized

Started

Steered

Sterilized

Stimulated

Strategized

Streamlined

Strengthened

Stressed

Stretched

Structured

Studied

Submitted

Substantiated

Substituted

Succeeded

Successfully

Suggested

Summarized

Superseded

Supervised

Supplemented

Supplied

Supported

Surpassed

Surveyed

Sustained

Synchronized

Synergized

Synthesized

Systemized

Tabulated

Tackled

Tailored

Tallied

Tapped

Targeted

Taught

Tended

Terminated

Tested

Thwarted

Tightened

Topped

Totaled

Toured

Traced

Tracked

Traded

Trafficked

Trained

Transacted

Transcribed

Transferred

Transformed

Transitioned

Translated

Transmitted

Transported

Traveled

Treated

Trimmed

Tripled

Troubleshot

Trusted

Tuned

Turned around

Tutored

Typed

Uncovered

Underlined

Undertook

Underwrote

Unified

United

Unraveled

Updated

Upgraded

Upheld

Urged

Used

Utilized

Vacated

Validated

Verbalized

Verified

Videotaped

Viewed

Vitalized

Volunteered

Waged

Weighed

Widened

Withdrew

Withstood

Won

Worked

Worked closely with

Wove

Wrote
[/column]
[/column-group]

To come up with accomplishments:

  • Take a look at your past performance reviews
  • Think about any awards or recognition you’ve received
  • Answer the questions at the end of this guide

The most important part of the accomplishment is outlining your results. To be most effective, however, you also need to provide context for your accomplishment. There are several different formats to do this.

Here are three common formats: STAR, CAR, and PAR.

STAR

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Results

An example of a STAR statement would be:

Recruited to revitalize an underperforming sales territory characterized by significant account attrition. (Situation) Tasked with reacquiring accounts that had left the company within the last six months. (Task) Developed contact list for lapsed accounts and initiated contact with decision-makers at each company. (Action) Reacquired 22% of former customers, resulting in $872,000 in revenue.

CAR

  • Challenge
  • Action
  • Result

An example of a CAR statement is:

Manufacturing plant recently had its third accident, leading to a line shutdown. (Challenge) Updated internal safety plan and instituted new training program for production employees to reduce accidents and injuries. (Action) Plant has been accident-free for the past nine months — the longest it has been without accidents in plant history. (Result)

PAR

  • Problem
  • Action
  • Result

A sample PAR statement would be:

Nursing home employee morale was at an all-time low, and long-time employees were leaving in droves. (Problem) Identified that new scheduling system was not well received by either new hires or long-time employees, resulting in significant dissatisfaction with employee schedules. Instituted new “employee choice” schedule system that increased employee cooperation in determining ideal staffing schedule and improved employee satisfaction as a result. (Action) Reduced turnover by 15%, saving more than $12,500 in hiring and training costs in the first three months after implementing new system. (Result)

Can you quantify your accomplishments through any of these superlatives?

  • Only
  • First/Last
  • Best/Worst
  • Most/Least
  • Largest/Smallest
  • Longest/Shortest
  • Highest/Lowest
  • Busiest

Think about achievements in these situations:

  • Current job/most recent position
  • Previous work experience
  • Summer jobs/work-study positions
  • Volunteer activities
  • Temporary work
  • Educational experiences (internships, class projects, group projects, study-abroad programs)
  • Professional organizations
  • Involvement in sports or other extracurricular activities
  • Consulting or freelance projects
  • Social networking accomplishments
  • Events/conferences

When collecting accomplishments for a job search, consider the key areas of competency required for success in the position you are seeking. What are the key components of your job? You should be able to identify accomplishments directly related to this expertise.

Ask yourself: What does the person in this role need to actually do and accomplish in order to be considered successful?

This may include accomplishments related to:

  • Budgets/Finances
  • Promotions
  • Employee Development
  • Employee Recruitment
  • Employee Retention
  • Processes and Procedures
  • Deadlines
  • Revenue/Sales
  • New Clients
  • Information Technology
  • Cost Containment
  • Publications
  • Team Leadership
  • Product Launch
  • Presentations

Here are some questions to help you come up with additional accomplishments.

Work Accomplishments:

What is unique about how you do your job? __________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What does your current boss praise you for? __________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Do you have quotas or goals in your current position? Are you able to meet or exceed them?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Were you hired to meet a particular challenge for the company? __________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Were you rewarded with any additional responsibility? _________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you done anything to improve customer relationships with the company? ______________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you done anything to improve communications, either internally or externally? __________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What teams have you been part of? _________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What are you most proud of? ______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What would your co-workers say about you? _________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What do you enjoy the most? _____________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How did you take initiative in your position? _________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What special projects have you worked on?___________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How did you set yourself apart? ___________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How did you go above and beyond what was required? ________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What have you done to increase your responsibilities in your current job? ___________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of? ________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Were you promoted in recognition of your work performance? ___________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Did you increase sales or profits? ___________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Did you recruit new customers for the business? _______________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Did you save the company money? _________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Did you institute any new processes or procedures? ____________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Educational Accomplishments:

What workshops have you attended? _______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you attended any conferences? _______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What seminars have you attended? _________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you taken any courses? ______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you achieved any new certifications? ___________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Do you have any new skills? (These might be things like computer software, social media, blogging, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

“Soft Skill” Accomplishments:

How have you demonstrated planning skills? _________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What have you done to demonstrate conflict management abilities? _______________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How have you demonstrated time management skills? __________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

What have you accomplished in terms of digital proficiency? ____________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How have you demonstrated team coordination abilities? _______________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

How have you shown leadership skills? ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Do you have achievements in terms of your language specialization (foreign languages)? _______

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Recognition Accomplishments:

Did you receive any honors this year? (awards, recognition) _____________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Did you earn any certifications or licenses? ___________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Which of your contributions received the most recognition? _____________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Have you received any notes, emails, or kudos from customers? From your boss? ____________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Communication Accomplishments:

  • Have you done any public speaking or made any presentations? (Who did you speak to? On what topic? How many people were in attendance?) __________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  • Have you written any articles, whitepapers, or other documents? ________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Leadership Accomplishments:

  • Have you taken on any leadership roles — either within your job or in your volunteer work?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  • Have you led any significant projects? _____________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Using Accomplishments for Reflection

Now that you’ve collected your achievements, it’s the perfect time to set some goals for yourself. Another key part of accomplishments is using them to take a “big picture” approach to your life. Take some time to reflect. Finish these sentences:

I learned: _____________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

I made progress: ________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

I’m able to: ____________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

I now know how to: _____________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

I discovered: ___________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Next, I want to: ________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

In the future, I want to: __________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Why You Need a Resume

Why You Need a Resume

Job Search Library Categories

Applying for a Job

Branding

Career Change

Career Planning

Evaluating a Job Offer

Interviewing

LinkedIn

Looking for a Job

Losing Your Job

Networking

Resume

Social Media

Why You Need a Resume

The most obvious reason why you might need a resume is when you’re looking for a job. But there are many other reasons why you might want to put together a resume now, even if you’re not actively seeking new employment.

Your employment situation can change in a heartbeat — the company may be acquired, or sold, or go out of business. A great boss may leave for a new position — and maybe he wants you to come with him. Or maybe his replacement wants to bring in his own people.

Even if you don’t need a resume to apply for a position online, it is useful to have a well-organized, neatly formatted document to hand to the hiring manager at the beginning of an interview. The resume can also serve as “talking points” to guide the content of an interview. The time invested in compiling information on your credentials, skills, and accomplishments can also help prepare you for the job interview itself.

Your current employer may even request a resume from you — for example, to include in a proposal the company is preparing for a new contract. It’s not uncommon for key personnel bios to be included in a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or applications for grants.

If you want to apply for an internal promotion or transfer, you may not think a resume would be required, but often, it is. An internal recruiter or a hiring manager in a different part of a big company isn’t going to be familiar with all the aspects of what you do — and even if they have access to the job description for your position, that won’t tell them about the specific contributions that you’ve made in your current role. It’s your job to quantify and document your achievements — and a resume is a good way to do that, even for an internal position.

A good time to create — or update — your resume is when you are preparing for an annual performance review. Documenting your accomplishments can help you prepare to show your manager how you’ve added value to your position — and department — since your last review. The resume development process is also a good time for self-assessment. A well-written resume tells the “story” of your career — demonstrating consistent themes and supporting information that highlights your qualifications for the job target you’re seeking, while omitting irrelevant information and positions.

Outside of an employment context, you may also be asked for a resume if you’re going to be a speaker for an organization or an event, so they can use the resume to create your bio and speaker’s introduction.

Individuals being considered for a political appointment — for example, a state government committee or board — will likely be asked for their resume. The same is true for individuals being considered for key volunteer roles — for example, if you are asked to be on a nonprofit’s board of directors.

You may also be asked for a resume if you are being considered for an award — or being given an award in recognition of your work or volunteer efforts.

Resumes are also a tool for networking. Someone you just met who is interested in learning more about you may ask for your resume. This contact may help lead you to unadvertised job openings. In the same way, getting your resume in the hands of someone who knows you well can also lead to new opportunities. They can use the resume to pass along to other people who might be in a position to hire you, or to use as a “door opener” to introduce you to other people who might be useful in your job search.

The resume can also be used as a tool to market yourself. If you work in a service-oriented position, your skills, education, and expertise are a critical part of what makes you credible to potential clients. Having a resume — or a bio based on your resume — that communicates why you are a good choice to provide the service can help fill your appointment book, especially for therapists, clinicians, coaches, and teachers. A document that showcases your credentials can be an important part of your company or practice’s marketing materials.

Resumes are important at any age. A resume can be a good resource for high school students applying for scholarships and to include with college applications. It can be updated throughout the college years and be used to apply for internships and part-time jobs. And, of course, once you graduate from college, you’ll likely need a resume to apply for your first job.

It’s also important to note that a LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for a resume. Because a LinkedIn profile is public (even if you have your privacy settings locked down on LinkedIn, someone can still take a screenshot of your profile or create a PDF of it), there may be information that you do not want to include on your LinkedIn profile that can help demonstrate your accomplishments to a prospective employer. In addition, a resume can be customized to target a specific position, while you can only have one LinkedIn profile.

Furthermore, a well-written resume can actually help you populate your LinkedIn profile, making it easy to complete the “Work Experience” and “Education” sections.

Why to Update Your Resume Now

One of the most common reasons to update your resume when you’re not actively looking for a job is because you don’t have a good feeling about your current situation. Is there a lot of turnover in your current job or the company overall? Have there been rumors of layoffs, or did the company just lose a big contract? Both of these can signal a need for a resume update.

On the other hand, what if your department — or your company — is doing very well? In that case, you may be contacted by competitors — or recruiters working for competitive companies — looking to hire you away from your current job.

Putting together your resume can also help you determine where you want to go next in your career. Sometimes, looking at your work history can help you identify a pattern in your employment history that will help you determine where you want to go next in your career. An effective resume communicates both your current skills and qualifications and your future potential. Identifying a common thread in your experience and accomplishments can help you decide the next step in your career.

The same exercise can also help you identify where you may need to enhance your current skills or education. If you’re putting together your resume and you realize your last certification or in-depth training was more than 10 years ago, it may prompt you to look at how you can bring your skills up-to-date in a key area.

A resume can also help you if you’re considering a career change. Your resume can highlight transferable skills targeted towards a new career goal. The new document can also help you identify any deficiencies that you may need to work on strengthening as you pursue a different type of job or career path.

Having your resume prepared by a professional resume writer can also provide you with a sense of how you are seen by others. A third-party validation of your accomplishments — put together in an attractive, easy-to-read, modern format — can give you confidence. It can also provide reassurance that you have marketable skills — and that you would likely land on your feet should your current position be eliminated.

Why to Keep Your Resume Updated

The main reason to create — and maintain an — updated resume is that it takes time to put a good resume together — whether you’re writing it yourself, or having a professional prepare it for you. A resume is not just an “obituary” of your work history — it’s not a summary of everything you’ve done — it’s a strategic marketing document that showcases your value to a prospective employer.

It’s easier to maintain a resume than to scramble to put one together, especially when a new opportunity arises and you need to give someone your resume on short notice. Even if you don’t keep your resume fully updated, keep track of your accomplishments. Use a work journal to track your accomplishments (including a file folder to keep copies of emails or letters of appreciation from customers, co-workers, or your boss). You can also maintain an electronic record: forward “kudos” emails to your personal email address (change the subject line so it’s easy for you to find these later) and email yourself notes about project specifics — especially scope-and-scale information like percentages, numbers, and dollar figures.

How often should you update your accomplishments? As often as necessary. For some, that may mean weekly updates (for example, if you’re working on a series of projects); for others, that could mean a quarterly assessment. The most important thing is to take the time to do this on an ongoing basis. Put an alarm or task reminder on your calendar so you remember to set aside the time to track your accomplishments regularly. This will make it much easier to update your resume.

Coming up with accomplishments will also help you prepare for a job interview. Anytime you are asked to “describe a time when you…” or “give me an example of when you…” that is an opportunity to share a story in CAR format: Challenge-Action-Result.

First, describe the Challenge — or situation — that you faced. Next, identify and articulate the specific Actions you took to resolve the situation. Finally, outline the Results your actions brought about — specifically quantifying them in terms of measurable numbers, percentages, or dollars, when possible. Including CAR statements on your resume — and preparing them to discuss in an interview — is a valuable exercise.

Even if you keep your resume updated, you may still need to re-target it for different kind of opportunities that may arise, but it’s easier to re-work an existing resume than to start from scratch. You may decide to keep a “master” resume document that contains all of your credentials (including a full list of your continuing education classes and workshops, for example), but editing the list down to meet the needs of a specific position.

If you don’t have a resume, it’s time to get one; and if you have one, but it hasn’t been updated in a while, now is the time to bring it up to date. You never know when you might need your resume, and you want it ready when you do.