10 Tips for Uncovering and Showcasing Your Clients’ Accomplishments
By Lori Jazvac.
Accomplishments represent career story generators, brand builders, conversation starters, self-esteem boosters, and even life-altering game-changers for many jobseekers.
Accomplishments are the most critical part of a résumé, yet jobseekers often underestimate their importance. Duties-and-responsibilities résumés rarely make the cut. A résumé can quickly be screened out by an employer if it fails to emphasize what sets the candidate apart or fails to demonstrate value through accomplishments.
The key to uncovering accomplishments during the résumé building process involves asking the right questions, actively listening to your client’s career stories, and extracting the most relevant information from credible sources. Quantify results as much as possible to give the content scale and scope. To further draw out metrics, think about the impact the accomplishments had on the company.
Recently, I designed a compelling résumé for an executive. Drawing out his accomplishments using the CAR method helped him to understand the significance of the contributions he’d made to employers over the years. It gave him clear ideas about how he could present potential solutions to a new employer.
Here are 10 tips for uncovering and highlighting your client’s accomplishments:
- Dig deeper to uncover your client’s career stories. In every client’s career journey lies the challenges that have fuelled growth and meaning. Lead the discussion with questions about those challenges and the resulting outcomes. Provide encouragement by saying, “That sounds interesting. Please tell me more.”
- Focus on uncovering specific accomplishments that align with the targeted role. Review the client’s targeted job postings and then outline previous successes that support the posting’s keywords and phrases. For example, determine how the client saved the employer money, improved safety or customer service, increased sales, or drove revenue growth.
- Define, and then highlight, your client’s unique value proposition (UVP). How has your client utilized their strengths to achieve significant outcomes? What sets your client apart? The UVP needs to be clearly conveyed throughout the résumé.
- Start small to help your client see the big picture. If the client is unable to recall the specific details of how accomplishments were achieved, probe further by asking how the results could be quantified in percentages, dollars, or numbers, and what benefits the team or organization realized.
- If it’s a challenge to extract quantitative results from the client, start by describing the accomplishment. For example: Transformed an underperforming division by developing new sales channels, which fuelled revenue growth. Then probe further by asking about the strategy applied to open the new sales channels and the result or impact that strategy had.
- Identify the key problems faced and the solution strategies employed using the Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) Method. Here’s an example:
Challenge: The Accounting Department in a small manufacturing company was underperforming and needed a total revamp. Numerous files and reports were backlogged for months.
Action: Created an entirely new set of policies and procedures that were aligned with the company’s mission. Documented these policies and procedures in a manual that was distributed to all Accounting Department employees. Sourced and implemented an automated accounting system. Trained 5 team members on the use of the new system.
Result: Improved overall efficiency of accounting operations by 40% and increased individual team member performance results by an average of 30%.
- Lead with results. Bold the results of accomplishment statements on the résumé. For example: Increased efficiency of accounting operations 40% and improved team members’ performance 30% by developing clear policies and procedures, and automating systems.
- Find out about key projects. For example: “What have you introduced at your firm that didn’t exist before?” or “What did you improve upon?” These questions can uncover impressive stories that involve driving innovation and introducing industry-leading firsts.
- Ask your client how their performance was measured and evaluated in reviews. Performance reviews—and even reference letters—often shed light on the details of how important career achievements were attained and the impact those achievements had on the company and/or team.
- Feature promotions, awards, or recognitions. Most clients love to talk about accolades and how they exceeded goals. Extract the context behind each instance of recognition and you will succeed in uncovering significant achievements that can be featured in the résumé.
As I always remind my clients,
Accomplishments cannot be taken for granted…they take a lifetime to build. Keep track of professional experiences and milestones so you can witness and appreciate the miraculous unfolding of your unique gifts and talents.
If you’d like to sharpen your résumé writing skills, consider enrolling in CPC’s leading-edge Real-World Résumé Strategy or Technology Optimized Résumés courses. And if you’re not already certified, working towards your Certified Résumé Strategist (CRS) designation is the best place to start!