How to Use a Key Achievements Section In Your Resume

Oct 18, 2021 | Resumes

Writing a Resume Key Achievements Section

A key achievements section is used to highlight the most impressive parts of your career. Here’s how to add one to your resume..

By: Ashley Dolar | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Did you hear about the new Key Achievements section that you can add to your resume? Everyone is talking about it. I heard Becky tell Veronica tell Yasmine that she was definitely going to be writing one.

Oh, you haven’t heard about it? Let me tell you.

A Key Achievements section is located near the top of your resume – right underneath your Summary of Qualifications statement. With just 3 bullets or so, it is like putting a shining spotlight on your most illustrious career accomplishments. It works best when it’s chock full of impressive metrics, initiatives, or awards, and it must be highly skimmable for busy hiring managers.

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But, wait, not so fast! A Key Achievements section is really valuable for some people, but it’s not right for everyone. It is usually reserved for job seekers who have 20+ years of experience or a senior-level position in their back pocket. Even then, it still depends on the particular details of your career history.

When Should You Use a Key Achievements Section

Now that we’ve given a brief overview of a Key Achievements section, we can talk about whether your resume actually qualifies for one.

Here’s a quick check to see if you are a good candidate for a Key Achievements section:

  • Do you have 20+ years of professional experience?
  • Are you currently in a senior level position?
  • Do you have several major career accomplishments with supporting metrics?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, it’s worth considering a Key Achievements section on your resume.

It might look something like this:

resume key achievements section example

Determining Your Key Achievements 

woman making a presentation that she'll include in her resume key achievements section. Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Your resume Key Achievements section should contain your top career highlights. Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Of course, accomplishment-based bullet points are the heart of your resume, but for an accomplishment to be considered for the Key Achievements section, it needs to be big.

Start thinking about how you have made an impact and how you have changed the organization. How did you help the company achieve its goals? That’s where you’ll find the best kind of accomplishments to highlight in this section.

To make your own list, start brainstorming on these topics:

  • Revenue or sales you increased or generated
  • Money you saved with a process improvement
  • Time you saved by implementing new programs
  • Problems you identified and solved for your team
  • Ideas you pitched, developed, and rolled out
  • Systems you launched, reorganized, or optimized
  • Change management or transformation initiatives

Remember to include metrics whenever possible! (Numbers make you real by providing hiring managers with important context, a sense of scale, and the amount of impact.)

So, how do you tell the difference between a regular achievement and a key achievement? Again, it really depends on your unique job search situation, but here are a few key achievements examples for resumes in various industries:

Sales

  • Redesigned the overall global sales strategy, exceeding growth targets by 25% within six months

Operations

  • Led the construction phase of an $85M pipeline project with a 15-member team, driving subcontracting efficiencies, and negotiating a 95% reduction on a $16M contractor claim

Marketing

  • Doubled monthly company website traffic within one year, generating 50% more sales leads over the previous year

Technology

  • Oversaw a $5M cybersecurity project involving multiple departments and a 25-person team, resulting in a fully updated SaaS contract management system

Nonprofit

  • Secured a $230K state grant to develop an inter-district summer program with a marine science theme

As you can see, adding a Key Achievements section to your resume is a great way to elevate your top accomplishments and make them stand out to a potential employer. However, you really do need to make sure you meet the threshold for having that type of senior-level section on your resume in the first place.

Are you ready to put your key achievements to work for you? Check out our resume writing packages to see how our professional writers can help.

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