If you want to impress recruiters and secure job interviews, your resume must be packed with achievements.
Achievements prove that you have made a real positive impact in your work.
So, what exactly is a resume-worthy achievement? And how do you present them in your resume?
This guide will show you why achievements are so important to employers, and how you should add them to your resume for maximum impact.
There are also 46 example resume achievements from real resumes across a variety of industries.
Why add achievements to your resume?
Your resume is designed to prove your value as an employee in order to attract recruiters and employers.
Showing what you’ve achieved (rather than just showing what your skills are) is a great way to prove the impact you’ve made in previous roles.
The impact you’ve made is essentially the result of your actions.
Achievements show that you don’t just carry out your duties for the sake of it – but you endeavor to get results.
For example, in a sales resume you might write a responsibility like this:
“Making outbound sales calls”
This does a good job of showing what your actions were, but it doesn’t show what you achieved.
To show your achievements and prove your impact, you could expand to say…
“Making outbound sales calls to generate leads for business resulting in 12 sales per week”
Demonstrating your achievements like this shows employers that they will see a great return on investment if they hire you.
Which achievements should you add?
If you are using your achievements to prove your value, you should use benefits that affect your employer, colleagues, customers, stakeholders, or anyone else you support.
Revenue is the life blood of most businesses, especially in the private sector. Anything you can include in your resume to show your contribution to an increase in company revenue will make for an impressive achievement.
Spending affects employer’s bottom lines, so if you can show that you’ve cut spending in any way, which will help to prove your value.
Time is a precious resource to any employer, so including instances where you have cut time wastage will definitely boost your resume.
If you have helped to grow market share, client lists, sales, or any other important metric, highlight it in your resume.
If you can demonstrate instances where you have helped customers/clients to achieve goals, they can make a basis for great achievements.
Hitting and exceeding targets set by your previous employers are perfect achievements to prove that you perform above expectations.
If you are a student with little or no work experience, you can add achievements which you have made in the classroom or in your personal interests. Anything that proves you are a dedicated and hardworking individual is worth adding.
Which achievements should you avoid?
Personally, I would steer clear of adding achievements that are purely personal, such as getting a promotion, or an employee of the month award.
These achievements are good for you, but your resume should be demonstrating how you can benefit potential employers and other people around you – not just help yourself.
An employer wouldn’t care if you’ve been promoted five times in your last role, if you can’t explain how you’ve contributed to the company’s success.
How to add achievements to your resume
To ensure that your achievements are noticed and understood, add them to your resume in the following sections.
Add achievements to your resume summary
Your resume summary is the introductory paragraph which sits at the top of the resume.
Its purpose is to grab recruiters‘ attention when the open the resume and ensure they continue reading it – so it helps to start the resume with a bang by adding some impressive achievements here.
At this early stage in the resume, it’s important to keep your achievements brief and high-level – save the detail for your work history.
The summary below gives a good example of how to add achievements to your own.
Example resume summary with achievement
Experienced tax accountant with 5 years’ experience in US and global tax regulations and processes with a proven track record in saving clients’ money and remaining compliant. Extensive exposure within the retail sector, reducing clients tax bills by as much as 30% for over 45 leading businesses.
Add achievements to your work history
To provide recruiters with specific examples of the value you can provide them with your skills, add 3-5 impressive achievements to the bottom of each of your job descriptions.
To make them stand out, create a small section titled “Key achievements” and add achievements that show you have made valuable contributions to the success of your previous employers.
Add numbers for best results
Where possible, try to quantify your achievements with facts and figures – this is the best way to prove your impact to recruiters and employers.
For example, don’t just write:
- Negotiated new terms with suppliers to save on company spending.
Add numbers to show exactly how big your impact was, i.e.
- Negotiated new terms with suppliers, resulting in a 20% reduction in spend and a saving of $10k per year.
Example resume achievements
To help you add some powerful achievements to your own resume, here are some examples of achievements from real resumes across a range of industries.
These achievements for an analyst working in digital marketing show their contributions within client projects that have directly led to improvements in key metrics such as budget spend and social media followers.
Business development achievements
Business development roles are results driven by nature, so it’s crucial to include solid quantified achievements that show your contribution to the growth of the employer.
This example shows great instances of lead generation, sale closing and revenue generation, all backed up with numbers, financial figures, and percentages.
Customer service achievements
In a customer service role, your achievements should reflect results gained for both your employer and the customers you interact with.
This customer service candidate shows a strong ability of hitting KPIs (key performance indicators) which correlates to a high level of customer satisfaction, and also shows impressive business metrics such as high retention rates of customers.
Digital marketing achievements
This digital marketing resume shows recruiters some very strong signals that this candidate can make a big positive impact to a marketing function and contribute to leads and sales significantly.
Executive assistant achievements
As an executive assistant it’s crucial that your resume features some solid examples of how your work benefits the senior people you support, and the business as a whole.
This candidate shows how their proactive input has helped to save resource time, assist MDs, and save funds.
This HR achievement section demonstrates that the individual has led some high-profile initiatives that have boosted the HR department’s reputation and had big impacts on the business.
IT support achievements
IT plays an important part in businesses and public sector organizations – this IT resume shows achievements where IT improvements have a direct impact on business performance.
Managing director resume
In a managing director, or similar leadership role, it’s vital to use achievements which demonstrate your impact on the growth of the business you lead.
Project manager achievements
Project management requires a focus on completing complex projects within tight budgets and timescales. This candidate’s resume highlights their ability to deliver big projects at minimum cost, while maintaining high standards.
Supply chain achievements
This supply chain candidates uses their achievements to show recruiters how their input into the supply chain process helps the business to improve efficiency and save costs.
Adding achievements to your resume
Achievements are an essential element of any successful resume.
A strong candidate should not only list their responsibilities, but they should also be able to prove how their actions affect their employer and contribute to their success.
Add powerful achievements to the role descriptions of your resume to show recruiters the impact you make and show you’re not just there to pass the time.
Wherever possible you should quantify your achievements with impressive facts and figures to leave employers in no doubt of the value you will bring to them.