Many of the job hunters I work with tell me their accomplishments aren't really quantifiable. They just aren't in jobs where they can say, Saved the company $4 million a year... If you have those numbers at your fingertips, by all means use them. If you're like most of us, you need other ways to quantify your accomplishments.
For example, your company may require a 40-hour week but you regularly worked unpaid overtime to help out another, short-handed department or contribute to a special project. Your job description may include interacting with customers, but you were chosen to fly out of state for a customer meeting. Compare your performance to the goals set by the company itself. When you report how you exceeded those goals, you have quantified your accomplishments.
You can also quantify accomplishments by measuring your company against other companies and measuring your position in the company against that of your co-workers. If you're applying to a large corporation, your job in an international company with $5 billion in sales gives you an advantage over a candidate who works for a local company selling $1,500 a week. Consider, too, how you rank against your peers. Do you have seniority in your company, is your output higher than the company or industry average, did you win an award for your performance or have you received more promotions in a shorter time?
You don't have to lead an effort to take credit for its success; your contribution should be noted in your resume. Perhaps your most important contribution is a matter of attitude. Consider your soft skills (the ability to meet deadlines, work in a team or independently, communicate complex ideas, placate customers). Relate an occasion where those skills made a difference to your company.
Testimonials are another way to quantify your accomplishments. If internal or external customers thanked you for your help, ask them for a written testimonial that describes your actions and the results.
Your bosses may have indicated your value to the company by assigning you a project, including you in client or executive meetings, recommending you for training or asking you to make a presentation. Give these indicators of success prominence in your resume.
Your accomplishments are varied and so are the ways to quantify them. If you feel hesitant to quantify your achievements-or you aren't even sure you have achievements-give me a call. I'll help recruiters understand how highly you rate.
Don Goodman is a triple-certified, nationally recognized expert resume writer, career management coach and job search strategist.