How to Track and Leverage Your Achievements

A common attribute of a successful person is his or her accomplishments. Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been instructed to list your accomplishments, and you can’t think of any. Or you’re asked in a job interview, “What accomplishments are you most proud of?” — and you freeze up. You know you have had accomplishments, but you just can’t dredge them up.

The inability to come up with accomplishments happens to lots of job-seekers— it’s very easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind of work and forget to take note of all the great things you do for the company. Accomplishments are far more important than duties and responsibilities, but a surprising number of people are unable to articulate beyond the day-to-day tasks they performed in their jobs.

Accomplishments are the points that really help sell you to an employer — much more so than everyday job duties, and you can leverage your accomplishments for career success at all stages. Consider the following reasons for taking score of your accomplishments:

  • For performance evaluations or an annual review
  • To set your personal and professional goals for the next year
  • Tracking the progress of projects you’re working on
  • To support your candidacy and qualifications in a job interview
  • When you want to make the case for a raise or a promotion
  • To remind you of your achievements when you’re having a bad day
  • When applying for recognition (awards or scholarships)
Tip: “A resume should be accomplishment-oriented, not responsibility-driven.”

WHAT IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT?

Note that “employers are seeking success stories increasing the company’s bottom line (i.e. facilitating its growth).  People aren’t interested in your responsibilities. They already know the general responsibilities of a position so they don’t want to know what you do from day to day. They want to know that you’re a mover and a shaker; how you contribute to the organization, how you show initiative, that you can be a key player. That’s what they want to see.  To identify your accomplishments, look at your role in:

  • Streamlining procedures
  • Promotions
  • Special projects successfully completed
  • Decreased costs
  • Company- or industry-sponsored awards
  • Certifications and licensure
  • Special Skills

What is not an Accomplishment?

  • Daily responsibilities that are included in your job description
  • Regular attendance at work
  • Getting along with co-workers
  • Working full-time while going to college at night
  • Volunteer or community service unless it has a direct bearing on your job search

In other words, an accomplishment is service that goes beyond your usual job description. 

Tip:  “Think of the PEP Formula:”Profitability, Efficiency, and Productivity”

KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENTS:

OK. You’re convinced. An awareness of the importance of accomplishments does no good, however, if you haven’t been keeping track of all your wonderful achievements.  One of the best ways to prepare for a time when you may need to share your accomplishments is to collect details of your achievements as you go along.

So, Lesson One: The minute you start a new job, start keeping track of your accomplishments. Keep a log in a little notebook, or on index cards, in a computer database, on a little tape recorder, use an app or on your palm device. It is as simple as that. List specific examples that illustrates your success. Maintain a career journal.

But what about all the jobs that have gone by  in which you haven’t  recorded your accomplishments?

Lesson Two: Use the following prompts to start brain-storming all those terrific things you did. Try to list some accomplishments that set you apart from other job candidates.

  • In each job, what special things did you do to set yourself apart? How did you do the job better than anyone else did or than anyone else could have done? What did you do to make each job your own?
  • How did you contribute to profitability, such as through sales increase percentages? How did you contribute to efficiency, such as through cost reduction percentages? How did you contribute to productivity, such as through successfully motivating your team?
  • Is there material you can use from your annual performance reviews? Did you consistently receive high ratings? Any glowing quotes you can use from former employers? Have you received any complimentary memos or letters from employers or customers?
  • How did you leave your employers better off than before you worked for them? Did you win any awards, such as Employee of the Month honors? What are you most proud of in each job?

Add some more brain-storming questions of your own or take help of a coach or colleague to come up with a list.

Tip: “Start tracking a “kudos” email received; notes of appreciation from customers, coworkers, or your company; or LinkedIn Recommendations you have on your profile.”

HOW TO WRITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT?

For an accomplishment to have the most effect, it must be quantified. One that includes rupee figures, percentages, and time periods. Quantify.  Employers love numbers. Examples:

  • Increased sales by 50 percent over the previous year.
  • Produced total sales 20 percent higher than those of the other servers in the restaurant.
  • Supervised staff of 25.
  • Served a customer base of 150, the largest on firm’s customer-service team.
  • Use superlatives. You can impress employers with words such as “first,” “only,” “best,” “most,” and “highest.”.

Make a list of active “Problem, Action, Resolution” (PAR) statements that illustrate quantifiable accomplishments.

P – Problem (a problem you have solved )

A – Action (actions and the skills you used to solve the problem)

R – Resolution ( result of the action in resolving the problem)

Focus on what makes you stand out as an effective contributor in the kind of job you’re looking for.  These brief, action-packed statements should show how your previous employers benefited from your achievements in terms of rupees earned, or costs or time saved.  When listing your work history, don’t just list job duties, explaining the benefit of those skills to employers.

 

Tip:  “Stay away from the phrase “Responsible for”, “responsibilities included” and replace it with on-the-job accomplishments – Use “PAR” statements.”

CONCLUSION:

To a great extent, if a job activity cannot be portrayed as an accomplishment, it may not be worthy of mention in your resume, cover letter, or in an interview. Quantifying your accomplishments also helps you stand out from others who do the work you do — whether you’re using the information for a raise or promotion request, or when seeking a new job opportunity. The employer needs to know what makes you different than another candidate in a role. As one employer said:

“In less than two sentences …… I want to know the scope of your responsibilities, size of budget, geographic territory, number of team members you led or were a part of, product lines, and reporting relationship relevant to each of your roles in the last eight years.”


Renuka Tandon- Image ConsultantRenuka:  “As you start tracking your accomplishments , you will discover a pattern and the skills you use best . This discovery contributes further to defining your personal ‘career’ brand, gently leading you towards your path to career success.”

Renuka Tandon is Director and Chief Consultant at ACE Impression and TanNet Technology Resources . She provides customized image management and personal branding consulting to corporate executives and business owners targeted towards  professional growth and business success . Click here to contact Renuka. 


 

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