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A resume is a tool for you to sell yourself as a valuable employee. It provides an opportunity for you to let your prospective employers learn more about you, and highlighting your previous achievements on your resume is a good way to demonstrate the value that you could bring to their organisations.

But what if you don’t think you have any professional achievements to list on your resume? Not so fast! They are there. You just have to look harder.

Here are some tips on how to list your achievements and what ones you should be writing about:

1. Achievements come in different forms.

Achievements come in many different forms. Sometimes we tend to underestimate the value of our own achievements and it is just a matter of learning how to identify them. For each position on your resume, consider your role and think back on what you did well for that position.

For example, did you solve a problem? Did you complete a project ahead of schedule? Did you receive commendations from clients? These are all achievements that you can put on your resume.

If you’re applying for your first job and haven’t built any proper professional experience, think about it in terms of your academic achievements. Have you completed any challenging assignments that you are particularly proud of, or did you take part in any extra-curricular activities, projects or duties?

2. Don’t leave out non-work related achievements.

Sometimes non-work related achievements are as valuable as professional ones. If you have other relevant achievements, be them academic, personal, or volunteer work related, list them on your resume. They are valuable and could be the things that set you apart from other applicants.

For example, achievements such as the number of houses you helped build in your volunteer project, or the website you helped design for your local library should be noted on your resume.

3. Think outside the box.

The best resumes are unique to a person’s situation, and sometimes you need to think outside the box when it comes to identifying your achievements. Stop thinking about what you did on the job and start thinking about what impact you had brought to the job. Your prospective employers most likely won’t be interested in what you did each day but they certainly want to know what values you had brought to the company you worked for.

4. Broaden your definition of achievement.

Broaden your definition of achievement and something will come to your mind. Ask yourself this question: If you came home at the end of a tough week and patted yourself on the back for what you had accomplished during that week, what would you be talking about? Use this as motivation and inspiration.

For example, did you overcome a fear of public speaking or tackle some tough obstacles to meet a deadline?

5. Ask for feedback.

If you still have a hard time identifying your achievements, ask your former and current co-workers for feedback. If you have access to your previous performance reviews, take a look at them. They often provide examples of some of your achievements. Don’t take your achievements for granted as your prospective employers consider past performance as an indicator of future performance.


About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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