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How to Create an Achievement Resume

By Susan Ireland

Sometimes saying less is better than saying more.

Frequently a few strong accomplishments can generate more questions and interest than a page full of details.

The achievement resume incorporates this concept by focusing on brevity and simplicity.

Replace Duties with Achievements in Your Resume

If you were an employer, what three questions would you ask a job candidate? Probably something like:

  • Do you have the experience?
  • Are you good at what you do?
  • Do you enjoy your work?

Tell the employer “Yes” to all three questions by writing about achievements instead of job duties on your resume. Accomplishment statements are the most powerful way to say "I'm good at what I do!"

Here are some questions to help you think of relevant achievements:

  • What projects are you proud of that relate to your job objective?
  • What are some quantifiable results that point out your ability?
  • What activities, paid and unpaid, have you done that used skills you'll be using at your new job?
  • When have you demonstrated P.A.R. (Problem, Action, Result)? What was the problem, what was your action to remedy it, and what was the result?
  • When did you positively affect the organization, the bottom line, your boss, your co-workers, your clients?
  • What awards have you won that relate to your job objective?
  • How is success measured in your field? How do you measure up?
  • What would happen if someone replaced you for a week and they did a terrible job? What are all the things that could go wrong? Now turn this around to understand how you are valuable.

[Read Achievements Triple the Value of Your Resume for more information.]

Creating Your Achievement Resume

An achievement resume looks like a functional resume except that it does not have skill headings in the body of the resume. Instead it simply lists about five or six relevant achievements under a main heading such as “Professional Accomplishments” or “Selected Achievements.”

This type of resume works well for sales professionals, top level executives, and others who want to keep the spot light on just a few successes from their whole career.

Here’s a template that represents an achievement resume:

City, State Zip • phone

Target job title.


  • How much experience do you have in the field of your objective, in a related field, or using the skills required for your new position?
  • What is an overall career accomplishment that demonstrates you would be good at this job objective?
  • What would someone say about you as a recommendation?


  • What accomplishment are you proud of that supports this objective?
  • What’s another accomplishment that shows you have the necessary skills?
  • What award did you win that demonstrates ability relevant to your objective?
  • When did you positively affect the organization, the bottom line, your boss, your co-workers, your clients?
  • What problem did you solve that leads the reader to believe you are valuable?
  • What project demonstrated how good you are at this type of work?


20xx-present Job Title Organization, City, State
20xx-xx Job Title Organization, City, State
19xx-xx Job Title Organization, City, State
19xx-xx Job Title Organization, City, State


Degree, Major (if relevant), 19xx
School, City, State

More About Resumes

About the author...

Susan Ireland is the author of four job search books including The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume. For more information about writing your resume check out The Damn Good Resume website which Susan manages.

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