Many people feel uncomfortable talking about their own accomplishments, since they perceive this as being boastful. A resume, however, is the one place where you actually must advocate for yourself by listing these achievements, as this kind of confidence and self-assurance is what will help you get a job. What follows are some tips for what to include on your resume in this regard, and how to go about doing so.
Highlight Educational Accomplishments
As a basic rule of thumb, you should highlight any and all relevant achievements as often as you can throughout your resume. The first place you’ll be able to do this on the resume is in your “Education” section, which should be listed directly under your contact info and objective statement. Here, you would state the degree or degrees you’ve earned, along with your major, school, and graduation year. For example, a degree entry might look like the following: B.A. in History, University of Massachusetts, 20000.
Quantify Job Success
Additionally, you’d want to highlight any accomplishments you’ve achieved at previous positions. To do this, try to go beyond simply listing the duties and responsibilities associated with your previous jobs, and do your best to quantify the results of this work. For example, rather than saying you were “responsible for attending to customers’ needs” as a sales associate, you would want to say something like, “Closed over 75% of sales and sold over $10,000 worth of merchandise.” This gives potential employers some concrete data that will help in their assessment of your abilities.
Honors and Awards
It is also appropriate to include a list of honors and awards you have received in recent years. If you have recently graduated school, you can list academic awards, fellowships, and scholarships as evidence of your hard work and above average performance. In this section, you can also list any certificates or recognitions received at previous jobs. These honors should be listed in chronological order. Such a list might look like the following:
Employee of the Month, Smith & Jones Company, May 2012.
Regional Sales Award, Association of Retail Sales, 2011.
Phi Theta Kappa Honors Scholarship, University of Massachusetts, 2010.
Use the Right Language
When highlighting accomplishments, quantifying success, and listing awards, it is important to be as direct and precise as possible. Don’t shy away from using adjectives that add positive qualifications to your job descriptions. For instance, you might say of former work in sales that you “successfully met and exceeded sales goals every quarter,” and that you “effectively trained and guided new sales associates.” Such phrases will demonstrate that you know your own worth to a company.
While it may feel awkward or boastful to emphasize even seemingly minor accomplishments, this is an essential aspect of any effective resume. Articulating your strengths will not only help you represent yourself well to potential employers, but it may even help you gain some confidence, as you’ll be able to examine your own past contributions and success both in school and on the job.