5 Tips for Presenting Accomplishments in Your Resume, Cover Letter

By University of Arkansas Grantham May 16, 2016

It can be challenging to differentiate yourself to a potential employer, given the competitive nature of the job market. Focusing on the important topics when writing your resume and cover letter is essential to earning that coveted in-person interview.

One of the best ways to make an impression is through your professional achievements. Many hiring managers view past success as an indicator of future performance. Here are five tips for online students when they are presenting accomplishments in a resume or cover letter:

1. Think in numbers.

Quantify your accomplishments and contributions to the organization. How much did sales increase while you worked in your position? How many clients did you bring onto the account? Information like this resonates with potential employers.

2. Know how to properly identify accomplishments/achievements/honors/awards.

Carrying out your everyday work duties is not an accomplishment. Instead, think of something that stands out and adds credibility to your experience. Some examples may include:

    • Awards
    • Recognition from your organization (promotion, part of a committee, employee of the month, volunteer of the month, etc.)
    • Tangible results you can quantify and show positive trending since you've been with the company (thinking in numbers like in No. 1)

3. Know the proper place for presenting accomplishments.

For your resume: Accomplishments should complement relevant work experience on your resume. Consider bolding the tangible statistics you cite to make them stand out more to potential employers.

For your cover letter: Don't go overboard. You don't have much room to begin with on your cover letter, so explain how your experience matches the position, and provide the achievement as an example of why you would be a great fit.

4. Adopt an approach of humble confidence.

It's important not to appear pompous when presenting achievements in your resume or cover letter. At the same time, it's also important not to undersell yourself. Landing in the middle will make the best impression with potential employers. When selling your accomplishments, stick to the facts and don't sugarcoat anything.

5. Keep an "accomplishments" file on your computer.

This may sound odd, but a spreadsheet file of accomplishments will make more productive use of your time. Unless you have a remarkable memory, it can be difficult to remember every accomplishment from every job you've had. Keep a spreadsheet on your computer, organized by job, to easily keep track of your accomplishments.

Do you have any more tips about presenting accomplishments in your portfolio? Let us know in the comments section below.

Aside from your accomplishments, what other ways can you make your portfolio stand out? Download our new eBook - "Make the 'Call Pile' With Attention-Grabbing Resumes and Cover Letters".

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University of Arkansas Grantham
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