Bullet Points: Accomplishments

Is talking about your accomplishments the same as bragging?

Bragging is often described as “blowing your own horn”, being arrogant or boastful, patting yourself on the back, exaggerating or lying.  These are labels job seekers want to avoid.  However, you need some way of telling the employer about your accomplishments so that you stand out from the other applicants. 

So how do you tell an employer about your successes without feeling like you’re bragging?

As mentioned in a previous blog post, it can help if you think about bullet points as storytelling.  You’re just presenting the facts and supporting your story with measurable statements.  For example, employers will prefer the second bullet point because it provides details about the accomplishment and it’s measurable.

  • Won an innovation award
  • Received the National Association “Project Innovation Award” three times in the past seven years for demonstrating creative problem solving in the engineering field

Employers will prefer reading about your accomplishments, rather than reading a list of your experiences. For example, employers will prefer the second bullet point because it includes details that will help them understand how your past employer benefited.

  • Installed new software
  • Sourced, purchased and installed new scheduling software that reduced the number of lost appointments by ten percent

Step One: Identify your Accomplishments

To help you get started, try finishing the following sentences:

“I helped my past employer by…”  (E.g. saving money, making money, saving time, solving problems, meeting deadlines, building relationships, helping others, supervising others)

“I took the lead on….”

“I was recognized for…”

“I am proud of…”

I “decided…”, “introduced…”, “improved…”, “initiated…”, “implemented…”
Step Two:  Write about your accomplishments

Once you have identified your accomplishments, it will be time to add some details.  To help you write these bullet points, you may want to refer to the other posts on this blog, especially the posts “Numbers” and “Storytelling”.

Final Step:  Adding Accomplishments to your Résumé

You can add accomplishments to your résumé by creating a section called “Accomplishments”.  Alternatively, you can include these bullet points in the other sections of your résumé.  For example, if you’re a recent graduate you could include your school related accomplishments in the “Education” section of your résumé.

You may not have room for all of your accomplishments so you will need to select the ones that target the position you’re applying for.  

In Conclusion:

Even if it feels a bit awkward at first, it’s important to consider that employers believe that past successes will predict future successes; therefore writing about your accomplishments is an excellent way to sell yourself.