A guide to a stronger resume.
Updated January 2024.
By Davinia Osborne | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
Your resume is more than a record of your career history; it’s a canvas where your personal accomplishments shine, telling a compelling story of growth and success. Each achievement you list is a brushstroke that adds color and depth to your professional portrait.
Personal accomplishments are milestones you’ve reached throughout your life that make you proud. Unfortunately, if you’re not celebrating and documenting every win, it’s easy to forget what you’ve accomplished over time or never give them much thought in the first place.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of listing personal achievements on your resume, best practices to use when highlighting your accomplishments, and examples of personal accomplishments for inspiration.
Let’s dive in and discover how to leverage your past successes to propel your future career endeavors.
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How does listing personal achievements improve your resume?
Including examples of your personal accomplishments in your resume provides employers with a clear understanding of your potential for future success: Strategically showcasing personal achievements on your resume can help you stand out from other candidates by emphasizing your directly applicable and transferable skills.
Professionals across all levels and interests can benefit from adding their achievements to their resumes in the following ways:
- College graduates: If you are a recent graduate with little work experience, personal accomplishments can help build your portfolio and demonstrate your capabilities in various areas.
- Career changers: For individuals seeking a career change, personal achievements can show how your skills and experience from a previous career can be applied to a new role.
- Accomplished professionals: Including personal and professional accomplishments can help you build a comprehensive portfolio that showcases your diverse skillset and proves you are a well-rounded candidate.
Not sure if your current resume presents you in the best light for your career goals? Submit it for a free resume critique from one of our senior writers.
How to identify your personal accomplishments
Sometimes it can be hard to remember all you’ve accomplished over the years. To get started, you can review your performance reports, ask your management team for a list of company recognition celebrations, and analyze your resume and career history to uncover personal achievements.
Here are five questions to consider when trying to create a list of your personal accomplishments:
- What accomplishment(s) am I most proud of?
- What awards or recognitions have I received at school, at my job, or in my community?
- Have I trained or mentored anyone? What has been the result of my mentorship?
- What kind of positive feedback have I received from clients or managers?
- Have I been featured in any articles or presentations or invited as a public speaker?
Even if you’re not ready to start writing your resume, keeping a comprehensive list of your career achievements will make crafting a powerful resume much easier when it’s time to get started.
In the fast-paced world of work, it’s easy to forget or downplay the significance of your accomplishments over time. However, maintaining a record of your achievements allows you to capture and highlight the milestones and successes that showcase your skills, capabilities, and growth. By doing so, you ensure that no valuable experience goes unnoticed or fades from memory. Moreover, having a ready-made list of achievements makes it easier to tailor your resume to specific job opportunities, allowing you to present yourself as a standout candidate who has consistently delivered results.
Whether it’s exceeding targets, leading successful projects, or receiving accolades, documenting your career achievements empowers you to showcase your value and make a compelling case for your candidacy to potential employers.
Highlighting your personal achievements in your resume: Best practices
There are three main best practices when it comes to including personal achievements in your resume.
- Use strong action verbs. Use powerful action verbs that emphasize the outcomes you achieved and connect to the actions you took to gain each accomplishment.
- Be specific. The hiring manager should have a firm understanding of the importance of your achievement based on a detailed description of the actions you took. Describe personal accomplishments using STAR stories.
- Quantify data. Include measurable accomplishments such as time, scope, percentages, and amounts whenever possible.
Take a look at this resume bullet point:
- Supported a team of technical writers and developers through educational product strategy and development.
How can we use our best practices to improve it?
1. Add a strong action verb.
A word like “supported” doesn’t give the reader much information about what you actually did in the project. To highlight your leadership skills, or your specific role in supporting the team, try using words that convey the specific actions you took, such as “led,” “managed,” or “coordinated.”
Supported a team of technical writers and developers through educational product strategy and development.
2. Add specifics about the actions or accomplishments.
Details make your accomplishments more meaningful and memorable by giving them scope, context, and depth.
Led the development of a new educational product that increased sales by 20% within the first quarter of release.
3. Quantify the data.
You can make your impact more concrete by adding measurable accomplishments, such as the number of team members supported or the percentage of time spent on educational product development.
Managed a team of five technical writers and developers, resulting in a 25% increase in productivity and a 10% decrease in turnaround time for educational product development.
Examples for adding personal accomplishments throughout your resume
Now that you have a list of your accomplishments and the best practices for wording them, it’s time to place them throughout your resume. You can mention your personal achievements in the following sections:
Your Summary is often your first chance to grab the hiring managers’ attention, as it briefly overviews your most relevant skills, experience, and attributes. Here are some examples of how to highlight achievements in your summary section.
9x-certified network engineer with 4+ years of expertise providing information technology management, network operation, and security across various networks to minimize downtime, maximize availability and optimize network performance.
Forbes-recognized data literacy expert hailed as one of the original pioneers of the data literacy movement and 2021’s Data Literacy Advocate of the Year.
Compassionate healthcare provider who has consistently deployed a patient-focused approach to delivering care resulting in 40+ 5-star reviews and a dedicated patient base spanning multiple generations.
Sought-after public speaker and expert in organizational change, leadership, human development, marketing, and entrepreneurship featured in 19 conferences and 10 published peer-reviewed articles and case studies, reaching 24K+ readers.
Multilingual digital brand manager fluent in English, French, Italian, and Romanian specializing in developing creative content and marketing strategies that engage diverse audiences and drive revenue growth.
You may wonder why the last professional summary example includes languages. Well, that’s because 60% of job postings on LinkedIn require a bilingual candidate, so if you accomplished learning more than one language, kudos to you! Ensure you position this highly marketable skill on your resume and add your proficiency level.
You can also showcase personal achievements within the work experience section of a resume. The examples below can be applied to various skills and industries, from corporate leadership and management to healthcare and entrepreneurship.
Promoted from Training Manager to Strategic Senior Manager after one year by revolutionizing the educational approach to enhance employee productivity with suitable training initiatives and strengthening customer loyalty with sustainable learning plans.
Recognized as one of only five employees selected for the Master Analyst Program due to demonstrated expertise in research methods, effective project management, and analytical reporting/presentation.
Nominated Teacher of the Year (2017 & 2018), elected Grade Level Chairperson (2016, 2017 & 2019), and selected as the Grade Level Representative for “Teaching & Learning with Technology” district training (2018).
Expanded practice from 1K to 7.5K+ patients within the past 13 years and cultivated and maintained a 4.7-star rating on Google by providing professional, courteous, and caring patient care services.
Recruited as 1 of only 7 applicants selected from a pool of 200 students to support the field test processes and initiate innovative ways to increase efficiency on all well-testing line equipment within Company X.
Ranked Top 5 Sales Consultant within the 1st year of tenure; ranked Top 3 Sales Consultant after 2nd year; recognized as the Top 2 Sales Consultant consecutively for the past three years due to success in upselling, cross-selling, and closing sales.
Awarded $750 in venture capital by placing in the top three group finalists among 16 entrepreneurs within a local entrepreneur accelerator program.
Earned 1K+ new LinkedIn connections, 150K+ post impressions, and three business partnerships within one year by independently providing creative and high-quality graphics to advance the personal branding efforts of individuals and businesses.
For college students especially, highlighting your personal achievements in academia can supplement an otherwise sparse resume portfolio.
Here’s a list of relevant personal achievements you can list in your resume’s Education section:
- Academic scholarships
- Honor roll or dean’s list recognition
- Membership in academic honor societies (e.g., Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi, etc.)
- Academic awards for specific accomplishments (e.g., outstanding research project, best paper in a course, etc.)
- Athletic awards or recognition (e.g., MVP, team captain, all-conference, etc.)
- Leadership positions held in clubs, organizations, or extracurricular activities (e.g., president, treasurer, committee chair, etc.)
- Study abroad programs completed, especially with high academic achievement
- Special projects, presentations, or publications
Licenses & Certifications
Seasoned professionals and college students alike can benefit from adding certifications to complement their work experience. Consider adding both technical and soft skills training certifications in this section to demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional growth and development.
Here are some examples:
Demonstrating participation in professional networks is a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates in your field. Examples of common personal achievements in this category include leadership appointments and competitive events.
Here’s an example:
Your personal achievements through volunteer work may include organizing events, managing fundraisers, tutoring students, and training staff. These achievements can demonstrate your expertise in planning and organizing, fundraising, teamwork, customer service, and problem-solving, to name a few.
Awards & Recognitions
Awards and prizes are a form of social proof of the significant impact of your actions. You may wish to dedicate a small section of your resume to include awards you’ve received for things like military service, community involvement, sports, and company recognition.
To recap, whether you are a recent grad, seasoned professional, or career switcher, adding relevant personal accomplishments to your resume can give you an edge compared to the competition.
Your achievements inform an employer of some added values you can bring to their company. Challenge yourself to create a list of personal achievements you can add throughout your resume and use best practices like including strong action verbs, being specific, and adding metrics to demonstrate just how impressive your accomplishments are.
If you’re uncomfortable with tooting your own horn, submit your resume for a review by one of our talented writers. We can quickly uncover areas where you would benefit from highlighting more personal achievements throughout your resume.