If I had a dollar for every time I heard a job seeker say, “I just did my job, I don’t have any accomplishments”, I would be so rich. So why are you so humble? Why can’t you take some credit where credit is due? That’s all we are asking you to do. But, why, you ask, are accomplishments important? Because, your next employer wants to see and hear a demonstration of your skills. They want to know that you will be a good hiring decision and that means, you will stick around, pitch in and help out when asked, do your job well, and ultimately help make the company money.
An accomplishment is any time you successfully did your job. It is a short story. Think of a time when there was a problem (probably daily).
Try and brainstorm answers to some of these questions:
- What were you proud of doing
- What did you do better than
others around you?
- Were you ever recognized (formally or informally) for work that you did?
- Did you ever go above and beyond what was required of you?
- Were you ever selected to be a part of a team or train others?
- Did you identify and solve a problem?
- Did you save time and/or money?
- Have you improved productivity?
- Have you ever streamlined operations?
- Did you devise new strategies?
- Did you minimize customer complaints?
- Did you provide a service that did not exist before?
- Did you develop an idea that was used or presented?
- Did you help others achieve their goals?
Now, recall the specifics of what you did and how you did it and what was the
outcome. Also think about what the outcome would have been if you had
not been there to do your job. You can download this simple document to record your stories Accomplishments-1.
- I don’t remember
- This is too hard
- It happened daily
- I was just one of many
Please, don’t use these excuses. Look at it this way. If you were called into your manager’s office one day and they said to you, “I need you to tell me what you did this year to deserve a raise”. What would you say? How would you prove you were worthy of a raise?
Documenting your accomplishments isn’t just to get a job. It is about taking accountability to manage your future. Today, more than ever, managers and leaders are expecting you to prove to them why they should keep you on the payroll. Keeping track of your accomplishments is expected. It is an easy insurance policy for justifying your work.
When do you use these stories? On your resume, in your interviews, while networking…the answer is, all the time.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.