How Do I Explain My Successes in a Resume If I Don't Really Have Any?


When a hiring manager looks at your resume, they want to see your major achievements and successes to determine if you will benefit their organization.

For experienced professionals, listing major achievements on a resume isn’t a problem. However, some people struggle to come up with major career wins, because they are fresh out of school, or they have only worked repetitive jobs that didn’t include reaching major objectives.

Fortunately, just about everyone has major successes in their life that can be listed on a resume. You just need to know how to frame them. If you’re having trouble, consider the following approaches to listing successes on your resume.

Reverse Engineering

Sometimes you can reverse engineer an accomplishment for your resume by reviewing a job description and thinking back into your past to come up with a relevant achievement. Does a job require following strict standards? Maybe you stuck to strict state regulations while installing parts in a past job. Are good communication skills necessary? Perhaps you used to work as a liaison between management and front-line employees to achieve results.

It’s important to try to put all successes listed on a resume into hard numbers. So, if you played a key role in the past, try to convert that into sales figures, dollars saved or years of service.

Look Within

Considering your internal motivations is another way to come up with career successes that may have slipped your mind. For instance, if you enjoy solving problems, try to think about process improvements you made in past jobs. If you enjoy interacting with other people, try to think up successful teams you were a part of and your contribution to making that team effective.

Quantify Job Duties

Since you did them day after day, coming up with job duties for your past jobs should be fairly easy. You can translate these duties into successes by simply converting them into hard numbers.

For example, if you held a customer service position, try to determine how many people you served in a day, a week or a year. You could also try to figure out how often you contributed to additional product sales or paid services.

Or, if you worked as a quality control technician, you could try to determine the amounts of product you examined in a typical workday while following established guidelines and practices.

Consider Non-Work Achievements

Sometimes, non-work achievements can rise to the level where they are worth putting on a resume. Done through academic, personal or volunteer work, these achievements must translate directly into the job you are seeking.

For instance, designing a website for a community group is a good achievement to list if the job you are seeking calls for general computer skills.

At Career Concepts, we help job seekers write resumes that take them to the next level in their career. If you’re currently looking for job seeking assistance, please contact us today.


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