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'Accomplishments' to Leave off Your Resume

In today's competitive job market, you need to show hiring managers that you can make an immediate contribution to a new employer. Including your biggest professional successes in the "Accomplishments" section of your resume is an effective way to do just that.

But keep in mind that any achievement you cite should be a) truly noteworthy, b) relevant to your current career goals and c) relatively recent. Far too often, job seekers miss the mark. For instance, you're unlikely to impress prospective employers by highlighting the fact that you were a finalist in a local pageant held in 1982 -- as one real-life job candidate did.

Following are more examples from resumes collected by Robert Half International that feature "accomplishments" that aren't worth mentioning in your resume, as well as advice for crafting statements that will catch a hiring manager's attention:

The Unquantifiable Accomplishment

  • "I am the most talented employee my company has ever had."
  • "I am the best and most awesome employee in New York City."
  • "My last client called me a god."

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements by noting how you helped previous employers increase revenue, cut expenses, or improve productivity. (Example: "Increased territory sales by 150 percent within one year of being named district sales director.") Boldly heralding vague, unverifiable accomplishments is less compelling and often comes across as arrogant.

The Not-So-Notable Accomplishment

  • "Maintained a 2.0 GPA."
  • "I get along with coworkers."
  • "Overcame procrastination."

Make sure any accomplishments you place on your resume will impress a potential employer. Your ability to do average work or fulfill the most basic requirements of a job does not warrant special mention.

The Offbeat Accomplishment

  • "Set record for eating 45 eggs in two minutes."
  • "Raised over $6,000 for an organization by sitting on a commode."
  • "To be honest, the only thing I have ever won was a Cabbage Patch Kid. This doll was the result of a school raffle, and I was hated by many children for it."

Honors and awards received from professional associations, industry publications and educational institutions hold weight. But being overly playful and mentioning odd accolades as a vehicle to showcase your wacky sense of humor could cause employers to question your professionalism.

The Mistake-Ridden Accomplishment

  • "I have successed in all my endeavors."
  • "Dum major with my high school band."
  • "I continually receive complaints on the high quality of work I perform."

Finally, as with every other section of your resume, remember to carefully proofread the descriptions of your accomplishments. Don't undermine your achievements by misspelling them. Hiring managers are looking for applicants who demonstrate attention to detail. Research by Robert Half International indicates that just one resume error can sink a job seeker's chances of landing a job interview.

by Doug White, Robert Half International

Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com. For additional workplace articles and podcasts, visit www.workvine.com.

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