Human behavior is consistent, and your past behavior is an employer’s best predictor of your future behavior as an employee. Stand out in hiring competitions by expressing what you can do, using accomplishment statements!
Step One: Know What You Have to Offer
- Think about your accomplishments. If you were asked by someone what you were most proud of, what would you include?
- Consider what colleagues, classmates, former and current supervisors would say about you
- Create a list of all of your activities. This includes education, academic projects, co-curricular activities, volunteer and paid employment, in addition to your hobbies also
- For each of these activities, note any duties, skills and results, including your achievements. Be as specific as possible
Step Two: Research Employer Needs
- Review the job descriptions of positions to which you are applying. What are the key requirements?
- Research the employers, and find their employees on LinkedIn. Are there key skills that they look for in employees?
- Review industry and labour market information online. What are the challenges this industry faces and how do your experiences apply?
Step Three: Create Accomplishment-Based Statements
- List accomplishments that are specific and measurable
Quantify whenever possible, giving a context to explain why that statistic is significant, e.g.:
- Increased sales by 50 percent over the previous year
- Supervised team of 5 volunteers at 10+ weekly summer events
- Served a customer base of 150, the largest on firm's service team
- Use qualifiers such as "first" and "only," and superlatives such as "best," "most," and "highest"
- For every accomplishment you list, ask yourself, "so what?" How does the item you've listed truly characterize your ability to contribute to your next employer's success?
Use the STAR technique – describe a Situation/problem and the Task; talk about the Actions you took to fix the situation, and what the Results were:
- Supervised team of 5 ticket sales volunteers (Task) at 10+ weekly summer events (Situation), trained weekly on sales software (Action) to ensure line-ups moved swiftly (Results)
There are a wide variety of student experiences that can help you develop skills. Consider:
- Student Jobs Internships, summer, campus/work-study, temporary, entrepreneurial/self-employed jobs
- Volunteer Work School, church, clubs, not-for-profit organizations
- Classroom Experiences Assignments, research papers/projects, experiential practicums, study abroad experiences and certifications
- Extracurricular Activities Campus activity positions, club positions, extracurricular or sports
- In what areas of expertise have your classmates always asked you for help and advice?
- What competitions did you excel in? What superlatives can you list, such as the highest grade, the best test score, the strongest essay?
- List situations in which you were required to juggle many projects simultaneously with deadlines
- List organizational/managerial skills from team-based projects. List situations you used problem-solving, conflict-resolution/mediation skills
Skills and Accomplishments from Extra-Curricular Activities
- What creative accomplishments have you had? Was any of your poetry, plays, stories, music, art, published, performed, or exhibited?
- What ideas have you come up with to improve the organizations with which you've been involved?
- List situations in which you have trained, taught, or oriented organization members. Have you spoken in public or written for an audience?
- How have you demonstrated individual drive and determination (for example, as an athlete)?
- What leadership positions have you held demonstrating important skills (relating to the position)?
- Did members of your group choose/elect you to a certain position based on special skills? Did a supervisor/professor hand-pick you for additional responsibilities/special projects? List situations where you took on additional responsibilities
Accomplishments from Paid and Unpaid Experience
- Give examples of ways you have exhibited interpersonal skills. Did you work with the general public? How have you demonstrated teamwork?
- List situations in which you've managed budgets, or raised, collected, or managed money
- What technical accomplishments have you had? Did you write a software program or design a web page?
- In this job, what special things did you do to set yourself apart? How did you do the job better than anyone else?
- Did you make your job your own? Did you take the initiative? Go above and beyond your job description, and how?
- What special things did you do to impress your boss so that you might be promoted? Were you promoted?
- List any awards you won, such as Employee of the Month, President's Club
- What are/were you most proud of in this job?
- How did you work with internal and/or external constituencies to build relationships or create a positive image of the organization?
- What were the problems/challenges you/the organization faced? How did you overcome the problems?
Visit the AA&CC for further assistance!
Last update: July 2016