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Whether its in a resume or in a job interview, your ability to describe your achievements is a critical factor for success. Here are 7 tips to help you effectively communicate your great work!
So many people underplay their achievements! Question is, do YOU? If so then you’ve got to do something about it, as opportunity could be passing you by – picked up by the people who can.
Are you polishing your resume for that job you really really want, or even need? Or perhaps you’re preparing for an interview? Maybe updating your LinkedIn profile? Then helping people learn how good you really are will be a major advantage. Successful sales people are really good at this. Let’s learn from them about how to sell ourselves:
- Clarify Your Involvement in the achievement: Use powerful words that describe your contribution. For example, ‘created’, ‘reorganized’ or ‘initiated’. Passive statements like ‘did’, ‘performed’ or ‘was involved in’ don’t indicate your level of involvement – they’re worthless, so don’t use them. Words that show that you actually made a difference are what count.
- Describe a Start, Middle and End: mention the starting conditions, such as ‘poor performance’, ‘high costs’, ‘unpalatable risk’, and follow with a statement on what you made happen to overcome it (the project, change initiative, etc), and then cap it off with the result – was the desired outcome achieved? A story sells!
- Quantify the Achievement: use numbers and hard measures where you can. For example, say ‘saved $50,000’ rather than ‘saved operating costs’. The more specific you are, the greater the value of your statement of achievement. In almost all cases, a percentage value has a higher-impact than an absolute number. In some cases, what might look like a minor achievement, when quantified, it could be a major achievement as perceived by others.
- Don’t Forget Over-Achievement!: If you set out to save $50,000, but instead saved $60,000, then make sure this is known. State the target and what you actually achieved. This is gold-dust to sprinkle! So many people forget to do this.
- Be Bold with Your Accolades: Some achievements warrant special reward, so mention them. Perhaps you or your organization gained industry recognition? Or did you break a performance record within your organization?State this. Don’t be shy and be specific.
- Include details of challenging circumstances: If the achievement was tough due to business events, market conditions or any other challenging situations, then make sure you say what they were. Achievement through adversity rocks. It’s important to describe any challenges you faced because it makes the achievement all that more special. Think again about your achievements and consider if there were circumstances that made it difficult – you might not have thought about this yet. For example, if there were many layoffs in your organization whilst you were tasked with improving team morale, then make these conditions clear. Again, don’t be shy; be bold.
- State the Effect of the Achievement, 360-degree style: Describe the achievement not just from your own perspective; also describe what it meant for your colleagues, subordinates, management and customers (where appropriate.) Not only does this describe your achievements in an organisational context, it also shows that you think in this way too. Don’t forget to quantify the effect for each of these groups of people too.
I was awarded Employee of the Month in July because of my leadership in helping the customer services department, who were suffering from morale issues and continuously missing targets by 40%. I reorganized them into product teams, placing mentors in each team, which resulted in a complete turnaround – the department exceeded targets by 6% and reduced complaints by 15% within 2 months. My colleagues in this department are now happier than ever and feel on top of their game, and they say that staff attrition has reduced by 18%.
How Do You Describe Your Achievements?
Have you an effective or unusual way of describing your achievements? Then share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Know an 8th? Then please tell us by leaving a comment below…
Your achievements, described pro-style by a Pro!
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