Yes, most employers are interested in your skills. But what they really want to know is how successful you are at applying them. And that’s why you should always beef up the work experience section on your resume with a shiny list of accomplishments rather than a bleak list of work duties.
And to showcase you just how much difference good wording can make, let’s imagine that you are applying for a job as a customer service agent. The resume accomplishment examples in this post will relate to that (…and can 100% be adapted to other jobs).
Understand the Difference Between Duties and Accomplishments
Let’s cover the basics first. Duties vs accomplishments – what is the deal here?
When you list your tasks and duties, this tells the hiring manager what you did. For example, ‘Used a multi-line phone system to answer customer calls’ is a task.
An accomplishment describes the results you’ve achieved while carrying out those tasks. Often, an accomplishment reflects the results of several related tasks. Answering phones and chatting with customers online are two tasks. These could be summarized in a statement that emphasizes the resulting accomplishment:
“Helped customers to fully enjoy the benefits of ABC Software. Contributed to maintaining the average app rating at 4.8 ”
Should You Always List Accomplishments and Never List Tasks?
The answer to this is a resounding…it depends.
Sometimes, the tasks you complete show that you have achieved certain competencies. They can also be used in your resume as a way to include relevant keywords.
For example, “providing online customer support” is a vague task. So you’d be better off framing it as an accomplishment, similarly to an example above.
But, you can also play it the other way. For instance, if you know how to use some popular customer support tool (e.g. Zendesk), you’d want to let the employer know about that, especially if they mentioned it as a requirement in the job ad.
You have three ways to handle this:
- Integrate those specific competencies into statements about your accomplishments. “Ensure customers understand how to use ABC software using a variety of tools including HelpDesk3000.”
- Separate technical competencies and other skills from your accomplishments entirely. You can list these as bullet points in the skills section of your resume.
- Finally, as you make entries into the ‘work experience’ section of your resume, you can create two sections for each entry. The first can be a description of your primary responsibilities. There, you can list the tasks you completed regularly. The second will be notable achievements. There you can list your accomplishments.
One last thing to keep in mind. Your list of daily tasks might be exhaustive. There’s no need to mention all of them in any context. Stick with only those items that will be meaningful to this particular hiring manager.
Tips For Framing Duties as Achievements on Job Application
Ok, so now let’s get to the writing part. It can be fast and simple if you use the next 4-step approach:
List All Your Work Tasks
Think about your job day-to-day and all the things you are asked to do. Now make that big long list you’ll use as a reference. In particular, think about:
- Software/tools you use
- Your primary duties
- Any additional duties you get asked to do
- Business processes that you participate in
Create Logical Groupings of Related Tasks
Getting back to the customer support agent example, here, the answering customer calls, providing live online support, and responding to customer service emails are all related to one another. These can be rounded up as “assist the customer” task group.
Determine The Benefit of Executing Those Tasks
The overall benefit of providing top-notch customer support is that you maintain customer satisfaction. You also increase the likelihood that customers will recommend the company’s product to others. This is where your duty will turn into an accomplishment. Something like this:
“Increased customer satisfaction levels by using multiple support channels to help customers with questions or concerns about ABC software.”
Quantify Where You Can
You can really make your accomplishments stand out if you can back the statements you make when you describe your work experience with some data.
If you have increased customer satisfaction, that’s great. It’s also a bit meaningless without context. Now, if you have increased customer satisfaction by 25% in 24 months, that’s the information that gives you some leverage!
Use The Job Listing as a Guide
To make your application even more relevant, reverse-engineer the job listing. Look into what the employer wants in the new hire and incorporate those bits in your work experience sections.
In particular, take note of:
- All the specific skills, tools, and technologies mentioned. Use these as keywords, and to build the skills section of your resume.
- Required years of experience. Work this into your professional summary.
- General statements about their expectations (Team Player, Prioritize Customer Experience, Problem Solver). Refer back to this when detailing your accomplishments
Your accomplishments reflect your work ethic, commitment, levels of skills and overall competency. Every other job candidate can be proficient in the same tasks and tools as you do. But no one else will have the same achievements as you. So use these as your way to stand out of the crowd! And for that extra oomph, use a unique and memorable resume template!