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Your resume is important: it is what gets you the first crucial meeting or interview. A well written resume will be concise, highlight your details and job experience, and should be limited to around 4-6 pages. Most importantly, your resume should highlight your skills and achievements.
A skill is something that you have learnt, such as planning or forecasting (functional skill); safety training or auditing (technical skill); and leadership (personal skill).
An achievement is the accomplishment of certain tasks or projects, it suggests success and something to be proud of.
Consider an activity to be an achievement if one or more of the following criteria are met:
Efficiency, ie. it achieved more with the same resources;
Effectiveness, ie. it made things easier, simpler;
It resolved panic problems with little or no increase in time, effort, money or personnel; or
It attained something for the first time - new markets, products, facilities etc.
Selling ourselves and recognising our own good work is something many of us find difficult. So if you are struggling to list your achievements, try working through each position and asking yourself whether you:
Took the initiative in meeting any problems, opportunities or challenges that you recognised?
Created or designed a new department, program, procedure, plan or service?
Prepared any original reports, papers, studies, articles or documents?
Made or participated in any technical contribution?
Took part in any working groups or pilot projects?
Made or implemented directly / indirectly any procedural recommendations?
Initiated or actively participated in any major management decisions or organisational changes?
Designed, implemented or participated in any profit and / or cost saving recommendations?
If you were not solely responsible for particular projects or achievements, don't overlook team based achievements. Indicate the role that you played, but remember the key question is whether or not you could provide leadership to a team faced with the same task.
Achievement Writing Best Practice
Achievements should be stated briefly and concisely. You should avoid vague or general statements, instead clearly state the achievement and when possible quantify the impact on the organisation.
A well-written achievement statement often has three parts:
What you actually achieved;
How you did it; and
Tangible measurement or resulting benefit to the organisation.
"Developed and implemented an early intervention Return to Work program which reduced long term claims by 80%."
"Implemented a safety management system and achieved accreditation and no non-conformance's across 15 sites in a 12 month period."
Avoid statements such as:
"Was responsible for"
"Was involved with"
Instead, use action verbs such as; Restructured, Negotiated, Reduced, Strengthened, Initiated, Increased, Developed, Verified, Generated, Launched, Recommended, Wrote.