Writing Resume Accomplishments (With Examples)

To write resume accomplishments, your bullet point achievements need to contain three things: an action verb, the task or project (what you did), and the metric or result (what the benefit was).

4 months ago   •   7 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
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“Why should we hire you?”

Even if they don’t ask it, all hiring managers are thinking it, even as early as the resume stage. Your resume should aim to answer that question, and the best way to do that is by focusing on your past accomplishments — at work, in education, or even in volunteer roles or personal projects.

Resume accomplishments vs responsibilities

There’s a big difference between accomplishments and responsibilities, and you always want to make sure you’re focusing on the former. How can you tell the difference? If your sounds like it could fit into a job description, it’s probably a responsibility rather than an accomplishment.

Listing responsibilities (don’t do this!)

“Oversaw team's performance and provided leadership to all business functions in divisions.”

Why does it matter? Responsibilities tell employers a lot about your job, but very little about you. Consider the statement above. It explains what you did, but not how well you did it — and that’s the most important part. It also sounds like it could have been pulled straight from a job posting, which makes it far too generic to belong on your resume.

Listing accomplishments (do this instead!)

“Launched Miami office with lead Director and recruited and managed a new team of 10 employees. Grew office revenue by 200% in the first nine months (representing 20% of company revenue).”

In contrast, the statement above does several things right. It’s specific about what you achieved in the role, it focuses on the end benefit to the company, and it uses numbers and metrics to explicitly quantify that achievement.

Why focus your resume on accomplishments?

Hiring managers primarily want to know how you're likely to perform in the role, which is where past accomplishments come in. Focusing on resume accomplishments (vs responsibilities) is the best way of showing what you actually achieved in your previous positions. The fact that you’ve worked in sales for 10 years doesn’t tell a recruiter much, other than how long you’ve been in the workforce. The fact that you increased your customer base 30% through cold calls and pulled in 150% of expected revenue in the past three quarters gives them a much better idea of the skills and potential outcomes you’d be bringing to the table.

How to write resume accomplishments

How do you ensure your resume is focused on accomplishments, not responsibilities? Follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with a strong action verb — this is the best way to ensure you're focusing on accomplishments, not responsibilities.
  2. Write exactly what you did, for example, "Created a performance recording template."
  3. Finish with the end result, for example, "Reduced the preparation time of standard client materials."
  4. Add numbers or metrics if you can. Quantifying your accomplishments means they're more likely to impress a recruiter.
  5. Stick to 3-6 accomplishments per role.
  6. Upload your resume to Score My Resume for a free resume review and personalized feedback.

The simple formula for resume accomplishments

Your bullet point achievements need to contain three things: an action verb, the task or project (what you did), and the metric or result (what the benefit was). This is a pretty simple formula, but it can be applied to any accomplishment.

Always start with the action verb — this keeps the focus on your specific contribution and frames the achievement in a proactive light. Depending on the accomplishment, you can list either the task or the result first, but make sure each bullet point you write contains all three elements.

Resume accomplishment format: List an action verb, then task/project and then a metric or result
Resume accomplishment format: List an action verb, then task/project and then a metric or result

Following the action verb with the task or project is a good structure for most achievements, as it clearly illustrates what you did. Following that up with a metric or result provides context for the scale of the achievement.

Alternative way you can list your resume accomplishments
Alternative way you can list your resume accomplishments

Including the metric or result directly after the action verb allows you to focus on the end result of your achievement. Describing the task or project afterward explains exactly what you did to achieve it.

Examples of strong resume accomplishments

Here are some examples of strong resume accomplishments that you can use on your resume.

Resume accomplishments applicable to all kinds of roles

  • Promoted within 12 months due to strong performance and organizational impact - ahead of schedule by 12 months
  • Managed business relationships with 10 clients, including Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank and McDonalds and presented marketing strategies to senior management to drive ROI and re-engineer sales operations, generating $2MM+ in annual revenue
  • Earned expedited promotion to Senior Analyst after one year as Analyst (earned by less than 1% of cohort)
  • Founded ReferRoom to organize social events for 500 young professionals, and grew it to $20k/year revenue and $8k/year profit.
  • Planned and co-ordinated 40+ training sessions for 300+ employees across 5 major offices; defined agenda and prepared minutes for C-suite executives

Leadership resume accomplishments

  • Managed cross-functional team of 10 in 3 locations (London, Mumbai and New York), ranging from entry-level analysts to vice presidents, and collaborated with business development, data analysis, operations and marketing.
  • Collaborated with developers and product management team to assess project outcomes and prioritize future app features.
  • Coached 30 summer interns and launched a mentorship program for new joiners in the Berlin office.
  • Refined outsourcing strategy, resulting in increased offshore headcount from 12 to 95 employees and saved $1.2MM
  • Led over 12 software sales pilots generating $8MM+ total revenue in license and consulting service fees; clients included Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Credit Suisse.
  • Hired, coached and led sales team of five to make sales calls, make client visits and close deals; generated $10M in sales contracts

Resume accomplishments for sales and marketing

  • Generated 50+ donors through cold call sales and systematic email outreach; qualified leads based on industry and location.
  • Designed, executed, and optimized digital marketing campaign on Google AdWords; led to 20% increase in ROI.
  • Strengthened relationships with 6 strategic partners (including Expedia, Skyscanner and Airbnb) through follow-up meetings with C-suite executives
  • Led the firm's sales and business operations in South Africa, responsible for $45MM annual sales and capability building of 200+ sales personnel
  • Scripted and tested phone sales process; increased customers by 30% in 6 months
  • Hired, coached and led sales team of five to make sales calls, make client visits and close deals; generated $10M in sales contracts

Resume accomplishments focused in engineering

  • Developed an Excel macro and standardized reporting templates, resulting in efficient data collection and a 35% reduction in turnaround time.
  • Reduced development costs by 25 percent by creating a plan to merge related products into one, more streamlined product.
  • Liaised with marketing to drive email and social media advertising efforts, using predictive modeling and clustering, resulting in a 35% increase in revenue
  • Designed and implemented behavioral push notifications based on in-app usage; increased retention by 10%
  • Overhauled the company's website by increasing graphics usage by 50% and mobile responsiveness by 100%; generated 70% more leads via email capture forms, reduced bounce rate by 20%
  • Spearheaded redevelopment of internal tracking system in use by 125 employees, resulting in 20+ new features, reduction of 20% in save/load time and 15% operation time

How to turn responsibilities into accomplishments

Use numbers or metrics to emphasize your accomplishment

The most surefire way to transform a responsibility into an accomplishment is by adding specific numbers or metrics. This way, you aren’t just saying what you did (created a performance recording template), you’re demonstrating how effectively you did it (reduced preparation time by 80%). Not only do metrics like this help you stand out from other candidates with similar experience, they provide an objective measure of your performance and allow hiring managers to more clearly imagine how you would perform in the new role. For more examples of how to include metrics in your accomplishments, check out our list of 50+ metrics you can use on your resume.

Be specific

One of the worst mistakes you can make on your resume is being vague or generic. Metrics can help with that, but you need to make sure you’re also being specific when you talk about your actions. An accomplishment like “implemented strategy that increased customer base by 1000+ customers” sounds impressive on the surface, but while the numbers are specific, what you actually did remains undefined. Don’t leave hiring managers wondering about how you did something (or whether you were even responsible for the result in the first place).

Describe your actions! For example, “designed and launched customer affiliate program, which led to 1000+ new customers in 6 months and 40% reduced cost-per-acquisition” is specific not just about the end result, but about how you achieved it and what skills you used to do so.

Frequently asked questions

What are examples of accomplishments for students?

If you’re a current student or recent graduate, you still use accomplishments from your studies. Generally, you don’t want to fill your resume up with coursework, but things like university or personal projects, extracurricular activities, internships, and student organizations can all work. It’s okay that these aren’t strictly in a professional context — the trick is to treat them the same way, by pulling out what you’ve accomplished and adding numbers or metrics where you can.

Students can use internships to list their resume accomplishments
Students can use internships to list their resume accomplishments

Internships demonstrate your skills and experience in a professional environment. List internships on your resume the same way you would paid experience — focus on the exact accomplishments you achieved, and not just your responsibilities.

Students can list their accomplishments from their extracurricular activities on their resume
Students can list their accomplishments from their extracurricular activities on their resume

Involvement in student organizations and other extracurricular activities can be used to highlight soft skills like leadership, organization, and initiative. Focus on your specific contributions and add metrics to illustrate their impact.

Can you include any responsibilities on your resume?

Yes — just not in your bullet points! If you want to add more context for a previous company or role, you can add a short blurb underneath your job title to give a brief high-level overview of your main responsibilities. Your bullet points for each role should always focus on your accomplishments, however.

You can include some responsibilities to your resume to give recruiters context of your role, but always focus on accomplishments
You can include some responsibilities to your resume to give recruiters context of your role, but always focus on accomplishments

Including a short blurb (within around 50 words) to explain 1-2 of your main responsibilities can provide context for a previous role and allow you to focus on accomplishments in your bullet points.

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