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Key career achievements for resumes

Whiteboard with chart showing career achievement

The most important sections of your resume are your key career achievements. As the biggest source of differentiation from other candidates, key career achievements demonstrate the things you have successfully done in your previous roles and tell a recruiter or potential employer that you have the relevant skills and abilities to succeed in the position.

Demonstrate you’re the ideal candidate

If you’re applying for a job with specific requirements, use your experiences to demonstrate you have the skills, traits and abilities the employer is looking for. If a job demands accountancy skills, for example, you need to prove that in your experience with quantifiable metrics.

It can be a challenge to recall significant career achievements, and to keep them relevant to the role you are applying for. For each position, include between 1 to 5 key career achievements. Describe what you did and what you achieved, with measurable and quantified results to prove your skills and abilities.

Measurable and quantified results

Include quantifiable metrics – numbers, percentages and specifics – that add to your personal positioning and tell a potential employers what value you would bring to their business. For example:

  1. Worked as a cashier.

Better: Worked as a cashier and trusted with $10,000 of daily cash transactions.

2. Worked in a call centre.

Better: Worked in a call centre, making 50 cold call attempts per day with 5 bookings per day.

If a job advertisement is looking for an experienced and financially astute leader, the key career achievement could be:

Managed 10-person project team [skill] to streamline the billing operations of a utility. Achieved $3M in cost savings [results].

An understanding of active verbs will assist you in developing powerful key achievement statements. A list of common active verbs is provided in the module resources.

Concise and active wording

Keep the career achievement statements concise and delete any excess words. Keeping them brief and targeted to the position’s requirements makes them relevant and easier to read.

Use strong, active words in the correct tense to capture the reader’s attention:

Managed a team, analysed financial information.

Example career achievements

Financial

  • Achieved minimum [$XX] year on year cost saving to business through new pricing strategy.
  • Reached all quarterly targets and rewarded with bonus.
  • Returned company to long term profitability [loss of XX% profit of YY%] through an organisation restructure that delivered significant cost savings
  • Counted and banked large amounts of money from daily restaurant takings.
  • Saved [$XX] pa by decentralising the finance support functions, downsizing the head office and placing finance resources in each business unit.
  • Saved [$XX] by outsourcing information technology infrastructure and support services using a cloud model.
  • Overall leadership and strategic direction of regional unit with a combined turnover of [$XX] and [number] people.
  • Spearheaded a new data-driven marketing strategy that led to [XX%] increase in sales over [number] years.
  • Designed and implemented a [project] which contributed to [$XX] in revenue over [number] years.
  • Led review of [name] equipment that led to [outcome] and reduced costs by [$XX].
  • In a declining [industry] sector, [tactic] increased revenue and improved margins by [XX%] resulting in a XX% increase in profitability.

Value

  • Led several culture development programs focused on a shared vision and values.
  • Developed, implemented and evaluated executive leadership programs for [number] organisations.
  • Managed, wrote and launched the [name] report.
  • Streamlined monthly management reporting by introducing an online information system, providing more timely reports and analysis to senior management and Board.
  • Consulted and engaged a range of stakeholders to develop and write [number] industry training plans within designated timeframes and in accordance with legislative requirements.
  • Introduced [initiative] that led to improved employee engagement, from an average of [number] to an average of [number], as measured on the annual engagement survey.
  • Delivered well-received papers at [number] conferences to present data analysis I had undertaken and significance of the results.
  • Developed course content, lectured, tutored and marked assignments in [number] postgraduate and undergraduate courses.
  • Nominated to attend hi-performer leadership training programs.
  • Led the construction of a new [project type] on schedule and budget with a Lost Time Injury Frequency rate of [number].
  • Procured and replaced [number of items] on budget and returned the plant to operating condition one day earlier than planned.
  • Won Employee of the Month award for building a high level of rapport with clients via telephone and email by quickly understanding their clients’ needs.