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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: __________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________