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 you’re looking for.
- 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 (the project, change initiative, etc), and cap it off with the result – was the desired outcome achieved?
- 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. So many people forget to do this.
- Indicate Your Personal Award: Some achievements warrant special reward, so mention them. If you were promoted, or awarded a bonus, then add it into your statement of achievement.
- Include details of challenging circumstances: If the achievement was tough due to business events or conditions, then make sure you say what they were. It’s important to describe any challenges you faced. For example, if there were many layoffs in your organization whilst you were tasked with improving team morale, then make these conditions clear.
- 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.) 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.