Way to Go! Promoting YOU via Resume Awards and Accomplishments

One of my very own teaching consultants, we will call her Jill, was vying for a full-time job and asked me for help with her resume.  She gave me a standard line I am used to hearing, which was “I have no accomplishments or awards” to put at the end of her resume.  I pressed her for several minutes and then gave up as our conversation and my probing were yielding no additional results.  I admittedly was at a loss because this was not a usual outcome in my coaching.

Why is it important to list accomplishments or awards on your resume? 

  • They give your reader insight into how you have been recognized for your efforts
  • It establishes value you have provided to others that is worthy of public recognition
  • It give you a chance to “brag” about how you stand out without seeming like a braggart
  • It arms you with information to share during interviews that has more of a “wow” factor

Fast forward a few more minutes and through further discussion about the education section of her resume, Jill casually mentioned she had received over $50,000 in scholarship funds toward her undergraduate education to a private college.  I was floored.  Fifty thousand smackeroos-that was a ton of money fifteen years ago and is still a ton of money today when college funding is becoming more and more difficult.  I pointed out to her that the scholarship she was “poo-pooing” was a huge and impressive accomplishment not awarded to “just anyone” and should absolutely be added under her education section to add more “wow” to her resume.  I knew I was on to something with Jill.

Once again I pressed her to find out what committees she had led and what other possible monies she has received.  Jill did not disappoint:

  • Selected to serve on a board to implement a program funded by an $80,000 stipend divided among a small, hand-picked team of educators to create a community-based educational program to benefit hundreds of inner-city elementary school students over two years.
  • Chaired the ESL committee to provide educational resources to one hundred plus English as a Second Language students and oversaw the training of incoming, novice ESL teachers.
  • Earned a Master’s Degree while working full-time.

What can you do to enhance any awards or accomplishments on your resume?  Reflect back on your career and ask yourself the following:

  • What special project or award was I selected for and why?
  • What is an example I can include of leadership at work or in the community?
  • Have I created or founded a project, program or process outside of work?
  • Did I earn any monies or special recognition during my continuing education? Think of trade schools, career programs, undergraduate or graduate programs.  (Only include high school if you are a recent high school or college grad.)
  • What place did I or my team finish in a special program or project?
  • Have I set any records at work, in the community or with a hobby that can be related to my career field?  (Say you are in a sales role and you raised the most amount of money at a school bake sale to fund playground equipment.  This is a tangible sales skill outside work.)

Can you share an example of a personal or professional accomplishment you have listed on your resume that you believe gives it a “wow” factor?

Coming up in our next Promoting U! Blog series:   Promoting You: Four Ways to WOW during Your Job Interview

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