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Why it’s Necessary to Have an Achievements Based Resume

In this article we are covering why it’s necessary to have an achievements based resume. What is the purpose of a professional resume? Is it a rundown of your job history, your qualifications and your key qualities? Of course, but it is also more than that. Most professionals in the Australian Public Service (APS), State Government or local Council construct their resume based on their everyday job duties, which time and again fails to stand out or create impact. As a result, recruiters or HR Managers get the impression that they are dealing with someone who can only do the basics. Although resumes need to include day-to-day job responsibilities, the way to make a achievements based resume truly stand out is through unique, quantifiable achievements. Achievements are activities you have completed that have made a lasting impact on the company or client. Typically, they are initiatives that you have created, implemented, managed and analysed. They are absolute gold on your achievements based resume, and therefore, it is important to keep your key duties concise and focus instead on unique accomplishments. In doing so, you will be sure to remain ahead of your competitors.

Many of us underestimate our achievements. We are often told not to boast, that modesty is the best policy. We show up to do our jobs every day and sometimes do great things— surely that is enough! Well, not if you want your resume to get noticed. Employers in the APS, State Government or local Council look for examples of accomplishments to help them pinpoint achievers and candidates who go above and beyond their job duties. Your resume accomplishments allow you to describe your best wins, so employers want to take a chance on you. If you think you have no career accomplishments, think again. Everybody has them—it is just a matter of digging down and pinpointing what they are.

Public Service Resumes » Key Achievements Based Resume Writing Experts

The key to writing achievements is to focus on results. Your achievements based resume can be loaded with details about your previous jobs, but without compelling achievements, it will blend in with hundreds like it. Achievements are different from abilities, duties or strengths. Abilities are what you can do, duties are what you have done, and strengths are what you do well. However, your achievements will show the specific actions you have taken in a particular situation, the skills and abilities you used to meet a challenge, and the results or outcomes you achieved. Achievements are specific; they state concrete actions and results. When quantifying your achievements, it is important to use numbers whenever you can – money saved, decreased costs, achieving more with less. The best numbers are in dollars and show your future employer that you have the skills and experience to make an impact on bottom-line results. If it’s not possible to give a dollar amount, use other measures. For example, the number of people affected, amount of time saved, percent increase in subscriptions or traffic, percent reduction in customer complaints, or similar measures.

In order to generate ideas of workplace accomplishments, try and consider times when you have;

  • Achieved measurable outcomes that added value to the company
  • Re-organised a system to make it work more efficiently
  • Received awards or commendations from a supervisor
  • Trained, inducted or coached new staff members
  • Substantially increased revenue for the company
  • Exceeded targets or key performance indicators
  • Contributed to outstanding customer service
  • Saved time or money for the company
  • Actively contributed to team projects
  • Identified a problem and resolved it

Achievements are specific; they state concrete actions and results. Therefore, when our team of professional Writers at Public Service Resumes focus on enmeshing achievements within a resume, they utilise the Problem, Action, Result (PAR) process to expand your achievements and ensure that they are measurable.  For example;

Problem        What was the problem, situation or challenge?

Action            What did the client do to solve the problem or improve the situation?

Result            What was the outcome? Where possible, include figures, percentages, dollar amounts or other metrics

An example of this could be;

Problem:        A disorganised and inefficient warehouse

Action            Redesigned the layout to improve organisation

Result            Saved the company $175,000 in recovered stock

Once you have completed the PAR, we then work with you to confirm the statements into bullet points. The most effective approach is to phrase each point as “action and result” with some slight integration of the “problem” and rephrasing of verb tenses as necessary. For example;

  • Directed 12-person sales force to $15 million in sales while simultaneously bolstering sales in own territory from zero to $2.5 million

It is important to use quantitative examples that include numbers to help to portray a clear picture for the person reading the resume.  A key question to ask yourself when considering how you yield results is “By how much?” For example, perhaps you have increased company revenue. This is an excellent achievement to highlight; however, it is important to outline the quantity or volume, including numbers/figures that verify your achievement.

Recruiters or HR managers within the APS, State Government or local Council always have an eye out for innovators and self-starters. In short, they seek employees that go “over and above,” thus bringing value to the employing company. Once you get to a certain level, the last thing employers want is someone who needs to be micro-managed, which is why you should highlight projects that you initiated yourself. If you are still having trouble trying to come up with achievements, try asking your supervisor or colleagues to name your top contributions to the team – others may have an easier time recognising your value than you. You could also review your performance evaluations or reference letters, which often include details about your achievements. Better yet, work with one of our experienced writers who are highly skilled at asking the right questions to draw out your career successes. And remember, do not sell yourself short. You may take your accomplishments for granted, but potential employers see previous success as an indicator of future performance. Your job search will be more effective if your achievements based resume showcases your key accomplishments.