How to Showcase Your Skills and Accomplishments on Your Resume
It is important to showcase your skills and accomplishments on your resume for your potential employer to quickly see and understand your background and ability to deliver results. Whether you’re just stepping onto the career ladder or you’re a seasoned professional eyeing that next move, your resume is the key to opening the door. Your resume isn’t just a summary of your work history; it’s your personal brand, shining a spotlight on your unique blend of skills and accomplishments. In this article, we will take a deep dive into how to expertly list accomplishments on your resume and effectively highlight skills in your resume skills section (sometimes called Core Competencies or Areas of Expertise). Designed to speak to all professionals from entry-level to executive roles, this easy-to-understand guide will empower you to showcase your capabilities and achievements, setting you apart from the crowd.
Understanding the Importance of Skills and Accomplishments on Your Resume
The modern job market is a competitive arena where you may find a computer reads your resume first before even reaching a human (check out Creating an ATS-Friendly Resume for more information). Your potential employers are looking for more than just job history; they want to see evidence of what you’re capable of, and the results you’ve achieved – your skills and accomplishments. These elements not only make your resume more appealing, but they also present a compelling case of your potential to excel in the role you’re applying for.By listing your skills, you offer a clear picture of your capabilities – from technical knowledge to interpersonal abilities. Showcasing accomplishments provides a narrative of how you’ve effectively utilized these skills in your previous roles. It’s not just about what you can do, but what you’ve done.
Identifying Your Key Skills and Accomplishments
To effectively present your skills and accomplishments, you first need to identify them. Begin by taking stock of your experiences. Reflect on the projects you’ve completed, the problems you’ve solved, and the targets you’ve surpassed. Skills can generally be grouped into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the technical, job-specific abilities such as software development, data analysis, or digital marketing expertise. On the other hand, soft skills are more universal and are applicable to virtually any role. They include abilities like problem-solving, effective communication, and team collaboration.
In terms of accomplishments, think about moments when you made a significant positive impact. Did you surpass your sales targets? Did you receive an award for outstanding performance? Or perhaps you led a project that finished ahead of schedule and under budget? The trick here is to make these accomplishments measurable whenever possible. Instead of saying you “led a successful project,” you could say you “led a team to complete a project two weeks ahead of schedule and 15% under budget.” With your skills and accomplishments identified, you’re now ready to bring them to life on your resume.
Key Skills For Job Positions
Additionally to reflecting on your current and previous work experience, you can also identify keywords based on the role. With this approach, you will review a handful of job descriptions and identify keywords that are listed. This could be specific certifications like PMP or CSM. Additionally, if you are looking at a digital marketing manager position, you may find relevant keywords like: Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns, Social Media, and SEO.
To expand on identifying relevant keywords, you can also do a quick Internet/Google Search such as: Skills needed for a Digital Marketing Manager. You will find a plethora of responses that you can then determine which best match your own experience.
Finally, you can review LinkedIn profiles of individuals in the role you’re targeting to discover which keywords that have listed in their Skills section.
Crafting the Perfect Resume Skills Section
By creating a strong resume, this is your chance to spotlight your capabilities in a way that is meaningful to potential employers. You will want to create a ‘Core Competencies’ or ‘Areas of Expertise’ section within your resume. Remember, this section should be a mix of both hard skills and soft skills, carefully customized to align with the requirements of the job you’re applying to. (Check out my article on how to tailor a resume for more great insights).
Firstly, list your hard skills that directly correlate with the job requirements. These are your technical abilities such as proficiency in specific software, knowledge of a foreign language, or even experience with project management tools. Then, add in your soft skills. These are your interpersonal skills, like people management, public speaking/communication, or cross-functional team leadership. Be sure to present your skills in a clear and specific way. Honesty and precision are key. For instance, if you have proficiency in Spanish, rather than simply stating “Spanish”, you could say “Fluent in Spanish (written and spoken)” or “Basic Spanish proficiency.” This offers employers a more detailed understanding of your skill level.
How to Effectively List Accomplishments on Your Resume
Accomplishments provide concrete evidence of the effective application of your skills. They give a clear indication of what you have achieved and what potential value you can add to the organization. When listing accomplishments, focus on your impact and results. To bring your accomplishments to life, use quantifiable data. Instead of saying, “led a team project,” say, “led a team project which resulted in a 30% increase in productivity over six months.” This presents a concrete achievement, making it easier for employers to visualize your potential contribution. Start each accomplishment with powerful action verbs such as “led”, “initiated”, “improved”, or “designed.” These words portray a proactive attitude and can make your achievements more compelling. Always align your accomplishments with the job you’re targeting. This demonstrates your suitability for the role and your potential to deliver similar results in the future.
You may be concerned about confidentiality and so in some cases you may change the achievement to be less specific. For example:
“Closed a $10M contract with Walmart” could be – “Closed a multi-million dollar contract with a Fortune 100 retailer.”
Tailoring Your Resume for Entry-Level to Executive Roles
Now that we’ve discussed how to highlight skills and list accomplishments on your resume, it’s important to recognize that the emphasis on these elements can vary based on your career level. For instance, an entry-level resume might feature more on academic achievements, internship experiences, and relevant skills you have developed. As you progress to mid-level roles, your resume should transition to focus more on professional accomplishments and the results you’ve contributed to your employers. For executive roles, your achievements should reflect strategic, high-level successes, demonstrating leadership and influence. This could include sponsoring major projects, driving organizational growth, or leading business-impacting process improvements. Remember, your resume should evolve as your career progresses. Always tailor your skills and accomplishments to align with the job you’re applying for, considering the needs and expectations of the employer.
Resume Do’s and Don’ts
While it’s crucial to understand how to highlight skills and list accomplishments on your resume, it’s equally important to be aware of the do’s and don’ts when creating your resume.
- Tailor your resume to each job application.
- Use action verbs and quantify achievements.
- Include both hard and soft skills.
- Ensure your resume is free of typos and grammatical errors.
- Keep your resume clear, concise, and easy to read.
- Don’t exaggerate or lie about your skills or accomplishments.
- Don’t use complicated jargon or acronyms without explanation.
- Don’t include irrelevant information.
- Don’t use a one-size-fits-all resume for all job applications.
- Don’t leave gaps in your employment history unexplained.
By adhering to these do’s and don’ts, you can craft an effective and engaging resume that truly reflects your abilities and achievements.
Your resume is your personal showcase. By effectively highlighting skills and listing accomplishments, you can make a strong impression. Remember, your career journey is unique, so let your resume reflect that.
If you’re struggling with crafting a powerful resume, hiring a professional resume writer can be a game changer. Don’t settle for good enough when you can be simply great!
About Simply Great Resumes
Simply Great Resumes is an Executive and Professional Resume Writing Service located in Milwaukee (previously Minneapolis) who partners with business leaders and emerging professionals within Global Fortune 500, large private, mid-sized, and start-up enterprises since 2012.
A solopreneur business, Simply Great Resumes is owned by Kerry Gustafson. Kerry is a recognized, award-winning professional who holds industry-leading certifications – Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Certified Career Coach (CPCC), and Certified Interview Coach (CEIC) through the first association for career professionals in the world, PARW/CC. Dedicated to partnering and delivering on client career goals and branding strategies, Kerry holds an incredible industry-high referral rate. Year over year she exceeds 90%. This is a testament to the results she delivers and the value she provides to her high-performing clients.