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Create an achievements-focused resume

To truly market yourself in your resume it's important to list your career achievements or accomplishments.

This demonstrates that you have the skills that you claim, and that you have used these skills (and your initiative) in the workplace.

It's also a much more intereresting read for the recruiter or prospective employer - trust me, no-one wants to read a long and boring list of job responsibilities!

But unfortunately, most women talk down their achievements.

  • They make excuses for not deserving the credit for an outcome.

  • They say they were only doing their job.

  • They say that others really deserve the credit.

  • They fail to see the amazing contribution that they made when part of a team.

They hold themselves back from the next step in their career by not owning their amazing talents and accomplishments.

So how do you overcome this to create an achievements-based resume?

1: Mindset

The biggest thing you'll probably need to overcome when brainstorming and writing achievements is your mindset!

When you are trying to come up with job and career achievments, you might find a negative narrative in your head saying that you can't claim certain things.

It can be useful to take a step back and view yourself from another's viewpoint. What would your colleagues say? If you were an outsider, what would you say about your work?

It can also be useful to talk this through with a trusted friend, colleague or coach. They can help you to see and articulate all the amazing things you have done.

You have permission (and should) claim your achievements, no matter how small, and even if you were just doing your job!

2: Brainstorm

For each of the roles on your resume you need to brainstorm and write down any achievements that you can think of.

If you are stuck, ponder these questions. Did you:

  • Fix a process to make it more efficient?

  • Identify a problem and fix it?

  • Lead or contribute to a project or team successfully? (Maybe through Covid?)

  • Achieve a work outcome that added some value to the organisation?

  • Grow an area of your organisation?

  • Lead a change program?

  • Improve your team's culture?

  • Get recognised (formally or informally) for your achievements by your boss or peers (could be winning an award, being promoted, praised)?

  • Negotiate and resolve an issue?

  • Present your work to your colleagues/peers/external stakeholders?

  • Manage, train or mentor people?

3. Own them!

Once you have your list of achievments, you need to go back to your mindset. If you are feeling uncomfortable about claiming a particular achievement, think about this:

  • Did you deliver/do it?

  • Could you do it again?

If yes, claim it!

If you don't feel comfortable taking full credit for something, you could change the verb from 'Led' to 'Co-led' or write something like 'Key member of..'.

4. Write them up - succinctly and with impact

Now it's time to write your achievements up. However, don't fall into the trap of writing a paragraph on each one. Try to stick to 2 lines maximum - the detail can be explained at the job interview stage.

  • Start with a strong verb in past tense. For example. Led, Managed, Initiated, Developed, Delivered, Transformed, Project managed, Trained, Implemented, Achieved, Increased.

  • Describe what you did, focusing on the outcome or result. Remember to try and stick to 2 lines!

  • Add some figures or evidence if you have some. For example add a $ or % to show your impact.

  • Edit to try and make it sound more succinct and impactful.

Here are some examples:

  • Established and led a team to design and deliver phase 1 and 2 of the $7B XX Project.

  • Won several new international accounts (X, Y and Z), bringing sales back to pre-Covid levels

5. Front Page: Sales Page

Once you have a few achievements written up for each job, select your biggest 2-3 achievements for the front page of your resume.


Need some extra inspiration and a more detailed template for writing achievement statements? Register for the Masterclass for Professional Women: The Resume is Not Dead!

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