In Part 1 of this series (if you missed it click here) wrote about the importance of accomplishments while conducting an effective job search. Once you have collected and organized these accomplishments, you are ready to start using them. The first place you want to showcase your achievements is in your resume and any other written communications such as a cover letter. And be sure to save this information to use later on in pre-screen phone calls and interviews.
Accomplishments tell your story. It’s all about informing the reader with the results that you were able to obtain and the circumstances around the issues, or challenges that you overcame. You are painting a picture in the mind of the reader or interviewer of your skills and abilities while strengthening your worth within their organization.
Writing Up Your Accomplishments
Accuracy in collecting your accomplishments is critical. Quantify the scope and scale of each achievement in terms of percentages, numbers, and/or dollars. Be as specific as you can without stepping on corporate policies.
Make the statements as powerful as possible. Include action verbs in your accomplishment statements — in fact, try leading with one. If you are having a hard time thinking of your achievements, you can also review the verb list to brainstorm your accomplishments.
To come up with accomplishments:
• Take a look at your past performance reviews
• Think about any awards or recognition you’ve received
• Answer the questions at the end of this guide
The most important part of the accomplishment is outlining your results. To be most effective, however, you also need to provide context for your accomplishment. There are several different formats to do this.
Here are three common formats: STAR, CAR, and PAR.
STAR(Situation, Task, Action, Results)
An example of a STAR statement would be:
Recruited to revitalize an underperforming sales territory characterized by significant account attrition. (Situation) Tasked with reacquiring accounts that had left the company within the last six months. (Task) Developed contact list for lapsed accounts and initiated contact with decision-makers at each company. (Action) Reacquired 22% of former customers, resulting in $872,000 in revenue.
CAR(Challenge, Action, Result)
An example of a CAR statement is:
Manufacturing plant recently had its third accident, leading to a line shutdown. (Challenge) Updated internal safety plan and instituted new training program for production employees to reduce accidents and injuries. (Action) Plant has been accident-free for the past nine months — the longest it has been without accidents in plant history. (Result)
PAR(Problem, Action, Result)
A sample PAR statement would be:
Nursing home employee morale was at an all-time low, and long-time employees were leaving in droves. (Problem) Identified that new scheduling system was not well received by either new hires or long-time employees, resulting in significant dissatisfaction with employee schedules. Instituted new “employee choice” schedule system that increased employee cooperation in determining ideal staffing schedule and improved employee satisfaction as a result. (Action) Reduced turnover 15%, saving more than $12,500 in hiring and training costs in the first three months after implementing new system. (Result)
Can you quantify your accomplishments through any of these superlatives?
Think about achievements in these situations:
• Current job/most recent position
• Previous work experience
• Summer jobs/work-study positions
• Volunteer activities
• Temporary work
• Educational experiences (internships, class projects, group projects, study-abroad programs)
• Professional organizations
• Involvement in sports or other extracurricular activities
• Consulting or freelance projects
• Social networking accomplishments
When collecting accomplishments for a job search, consider the key areas of competency required for success in the position you are seeking. What are the key components of your job? You should be able to identify accomplishments directly related to this expertise.
Ask yourself: What does the person in this role need to actually do and accomplish in order to be considered successful?
This may include accomplishments related to:
• Employee Development
• Employee Recruitment
• Employee Retention
• Processes and Procedures
• New Clients
• Information Technology
• Cost Containment
• Team Leadership
• Product Launch