By E. Elizabeth Carter
When I am coaching a client regarding their career or I am reviewing their resume or LinkedIn, I find that most people do not fully embrace their accomplishments. They either downplay them (oh it was not that big of a deal) or they forget to mention them at all. The issue is that no one, including your best advocates, knows you as well as you know yourself so it is important to not only mention your accomplishments to others but position them in a way that others realize that you can succeed in the future.
The most effective way to describe your accomplishments is to make sure that you add any metrics you can as well as be able to explain how you did it. Here is an example – if you say that you increased sales by 10% that is good but you fail to mention how long it took to accomplish that and how did you do it i.e. cold calling, new advertising campaign, entered a new market, etc. Hiring managers and executive recruiters want to be able to ensure that you can have the same level or higher level of success at their company as you did at your current place of employment. By explaining the “how” they can better determine if you are the right candidate for them.
As I delve deeper into my client’s career, it becomes apparent that they have also forgotten some of their accomplishments. To combat this, I suggest you gather together your performance reviews over the last ten years if possible. Moving forward, I suggest you keep a log of every project you have worked on and make sure you include the key performance indicators (KPIs). I would also add any other types of accomplishments that may not be project related i.e. presentations to the senior leadership team and/or other key stakeholders, articles you may have written or been quoted in, etc.
By reviewing your accomplishments over a period of time, patterns may emerge and certain behaviors may come to light. Maybe you are very good at cultivating relationships with new customers so your sales quotas beat expectations, but you realize that you need to work on a better tracking system because you are not that detailed oriented resulting in some renewals or follow-up business falling through the cracks. You could be the type of person that is an exceptional writer but stumbles over words when asked to give a presentation or has to explain some details in a meeting.
Accomplishments help us define who we are, how we approach our work, where to channel our energies, and how to define our goals in the future. Too often we do not celebrate our smaller accomplishments which is a shame because usually those are the ones that propel us to take greater risks which lead to greater fulfillment and new challenges.