The Number 1 Resume Writing Tip: Dig for Professional Accomplishments

When crafting your resume, numerous considerations come into play. However, not all resume writing tips hold equal significance; some are pivotal to successful resume development.

The foremost guidance underscores the imperative of unearthing your professional achievements. Therefore, if you retain just one aspect of resume writing, let it be the revelation and effective communication of evidence that bolsters your professional strengths, skills, and abilities. This critical step ensures your resume resonates with potential employers, showcasing your unique qualifications and enhancing your chances of success in securing desired opportunities.

As you embark on resume writing, you will find it daunting. There are numerous tips to learn, remember, do, and not do; it is easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

Uncover and effectively communicate relevant career accomplishments that highlight your most critical core competencies that will bring value to the organization.

Over my 24-year career as a resume writer, I’ve witnessed a common oversight in many self-written resumes: the absence of accomplishments. While these documents outline duties and skills, they frequently lack tangible evidence of performance or the results achieved in previous positions.

Employers seek quantifiable achievements that demonstrate value. Whether it’s increasing revenue, streamlining processes, or improving customer satisfaction, showcasing such successes is essential for standing out in today’s competitive job market and securing coveted opportunities.

Effective resume writing requires you to think about your past and what you did to add value to the organization where you worked. Even if you are a new graduate, you can still have accomplishments to highlight in part-time jobs, volunteer work, or during your academic studies.

I often see some professionals struggle more than others to come up with accomplishments in their jobs. People who work in office administration, bookkeeping or accounting, teaching, retail, customer service, and oil and gas are just a few fields where professionals struggle to uncover accomplishments. If you are writing an executive resume, you must communicate your leadership accomplishments to generate an interview.

What are professional accomplishments?

Professional accomplishments encompass achievements attained within your job, yielding tangible and identifiable results that contribute value to the company or organization. These successes highlight the application of your skills and talents in advancing the department or organization.

They signify measurable outcomes such as revenue growth, process optimization, or enhanced client satisfaction, showcasing your effectiveness and impact in your professional capacity. Identifying and articulating these accomplishments is essential for demonstrating your contributions and capabilities to prospective employers, ultimately bolstering your credibility and competitiveness in the job market.

Examples of professional accomplishments

• Implemented a new system to help streamline operations, thus boosting productivity and efficiency within the workplace.

• Created and implemented a new marketing program to recruit new clients.

• Forged strong relationships with international clients to penetrate the global market.

• Sourced different sub-contractors to reduce material costs.

• Trained colleagues on a new software program, which took time and patience to learn.

• Received a promotion due to hard work, resilience, top-notch skills, and an unwavering commitment to the company.

Why is it necessary to include professional accomplishments on a resume?

Incorporating job-related achievements in your resume and cover letter is essential for getting your job search documents noticed! Related accomplishments will set you apart from your competition because they demonstrate your skills and worth and prove to the employer that you would be a valuable candidate for the job. They also pique the reader’s interest and prompt them to offer you a job interview.

How do you dig for professional accomplishments?

Sometimes, developing work-related achievements can be easy; other times, you have to dig deep and get creative. If an accomplishment stands out immediately, that is fantastic—write it down! However, you will want to include several of them, so you may need to take the time to sit down and think.

One of the best ways to develop professional accomplishments is to list your hard and soft skills. Hard skills are industry-related, and soft skills focus more on personality traits and personal competencies, such as problem-solving, analysis, time management, communication, interpersonal skills, organization, etc.

Another method to uncover significant accomplishments is by preparing for a Behavioral Descriptive Interview (BDI). This type of interview is used to reveal and help prove whether a job candidate possesses a particular skill. They are open-ended questions that usually begin with, “Tell” me about a time when…”

• You had to complete a difficult task
• You solved a unique problem
• You had to function in a team
• You met an impossible deadline
• You had to cut costs
• You faced an ethical dilemma at work

Preparing for a Behavioral Descriptive Interview has two benefits:

1. you will uncover specific accomplishments and

2. you will be prepared for a BDI if that is the conversation you encounter in a job hiring screening session.

So, how exactly do you attempt to answer a BDI question?

Don’t do a Behavioral Descriptive Interview or the process intimidate you! The simplest way to answer potential questions is using the CAR acronym: Challenge, Action, and Result.

• Think of a situation where you faced a Challenge or problem.
• What Action did you take?
• What was the Result? What skill did you utilize or demonstrate?

You can answer the proposed question using the CAR acronym while demonstrating one of your beneficial talents or skills.

How do you write or incorporate professional accomplishments in your resume?

After identifying professional accomplishments or using BDI questions to uncover them, you need to write them in proper sentence format. Flesh out the details of the actions you took.

For instance, your CAR might be:

Challenge: Cut inventory costs by at least 20%
Action: Sourced new suppliers
Result: Reduced supply costs by 25% instead of just 20%

This career accomplishment now turns into the following:

• Researched and sourced new suppliers to land a more cost-efficient contract. Utilized excellent negotiation skills to decrease fees even further, resulting in a 25% reduction in supply costs instead of the original target of 20%.

Another CAR might be:

Challenge: Increase customer base
Action: Developed and implemented a new marketing strategy
Result: Boosted clientele base by almost 30% over three months

This professional achievement turns into the following:

• Researched marketing trends and demographics to design and implement an effective marketing strategy. Worked on brand development and exposure to penetrate a different demographic, thus boosting the clientele base by almost 30% over three months.

Another CAR could include:

Challenge: Boost company profits
Action: Streamlined operations and recruited new, high-level accounts
Result: Raised company profits by $600K from 2015-2016

Once again, below is the bulleted achievement:

• Forged strong relationships with high-level clients to land new accounts. Implemented new procedures to streamline operations, reduce downtime, and increase output to meet a more extensive customer base. Raised company profits by $600K from 2015-2016.

Incorporate as many facts and figures as possible. Numbers help break down the data and are accessible for the reader. For example, 75% or $1.5M are perceptible concepts for any hiring manager, providing concrete details about your accomplishments.

After integrating your professional accomplishments into your resume, ensure you do the same in your cover letter.

Ask yourself this question: Is your resume grabbing attention for the right reasons? If the answer is no, you must take a different approach to creating your resume to ensure you land job interviews.

If you found these resume writing tips valuable, I would appreciate it if you would comment on and share this post with others!

Reach out to Candace if you need help with your resume. You can contact Candace Alstad-Davies directly by email at or toll-free at 1-877-738-8052.