Highlight Your Achievements On Your Resume

AchievementsA few years ago I was considering going back into a corporate role so I reached out to a contact of mine who is a very experienced recruiter – Martin Warren. Martin recruits recruiters. I sent him through my resume and this was his reply:

Hi Shireen

I hope you don’t mind but I just had a look at your CV and it doesn’t sell your capability, sorry!

Rather than rewriting your CV do a 2 page bio on your capability and achievements with lots of evidence such as saved X$ or improved by x% in the bio.

Hope this helps, let me know if you require any further detail.



Martin was right, I only had a reverse chronological resume with no achievements listed. I was selling myself short. One of the most challenging aspects of re-writing my resume was highlighting my achievements. Like many people I know, I didn’t want to be seen as bragging.

However, adding achievements into my resume was the best thing to do to improve it. The reason is that most recruitment theories are based on the premise that past performance predicts future performance. This is why employers are looking to find out about achievements not just responsibilities.

By listing your achievements on your resume it also prepares you for interviews because you will be asked about what you accomplished in your previous roles.

To help identify and list your achievements start at the current/most recent positions and then work back chronologically. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • Did you receive any recognition, award, promotion, internal or external feedback (verbally, email, survey)?
  • Did you prevent or fix a problem that could have had a negative impact on the business/person?
  • Did you complete a project or task taking less time or resources than usual?
  • Did you create something? What impact did that have?
  • What metrics, numbers, projects or results can you include?

In his LinkedIn blog post, Laslo Bock, SVP People Operations at Google says there is a simple formula for presenting your achievements:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]

Here are some examples using an x, y, z model:

  • Met deadlines consistently for x by closely managing y.
  • Grew customer base by x amount/percentage within y time by doing z.
  • Kept under budget for x quarters/years by closely managing y.
  • Trained x new team members which resulted in y.
  • Improved x procedure which resulted in a quicker turnaround time for y internal queries.
  • Managed a team/project/task of x which created a new system for y resulting in decreasing/increasing z.

Get started on adding achievements to your resume today. Employers are looking for people who will add value, not just do a job. Your list of achievements will help prove your worth.

For more examples on how to add achievements to your resume, read my new eBook Career Management: Resume Guide and Resume Templates, which is available for download now from my online shop:


About the Author

Shireen DuPreez
Shireen DuPreez

Hi, I’m Shireen DuPreez, an executive search consultant, recruiter, career coach, author, speaker and philanthropist.

Check out my blog, subscribe to my newsletter and  connect via social media on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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