Back to Main Blog

As a former recruiter and professional resume writer, I’ve looked at a lot of resumes. I can tell you this: people seem to struggle with knowing how, where, and to what extent to include Responsibilities and Accomplishment on their resumes.

Most people have one or the other, the coffee or the cookie. Some have both, a 2-course delivery. Neither of these strategies is optimal.

To show you why we need to define these terms first.

==
Responsibilities

Purpose: Responsibilities share what you do at work. They are an itemized list of the tasks necessary to fulfill your role properly. They are usually in the present tense.

Example: Manage and develop key accounts with retailers.

Strengths: Responsibilities are a great way to tell the story of your day to day life at work. They create a context, a setting, and an action for each thing you do. They perk up the reader because they start to understand what it is you do.

Weaknesses: Responsibilities almost always sound generic, like something anyone can do. They look and read like job listings. Readers don’t learn much about YOU when they look at your job responsibilities.

==
Accomplishments

Purpose: Accomplishments show the impact of your efforts. They are usually quantified and past tense. They are braggier than responsibilities.

Example: Generated $100,000 in annual revenues.

Strengths: Accomplishments are the best way to show how well you do your job. They are the punchline. They prove that you’ve made a difference, that you succeeded, that it’s a good thing to have you hanging around the workplace. Nothing tastes sweeter than victory, and Accomplishments deliver the dessert.

Weaknesses: Accomplishments get attention but they usually fail to tell a story. Accomplishments can be vague or even misleading when they lack context.

==
The 1-2 Punch That Will Never Be a Knockout.

What I see often on resumes is that Responsibilities and Accomplishments are placed in different sections. Usually, job seekers present their responsibilities in a list of bullets and then create a separate section entitled “Accomplishments” with some additional bullets included in it. Indeed, they separate the coffee from the cookie.

As a result, the Responsibilities are usually bland and the Accomplishments lose their sweetness. The two flavors are separated. The meal is hyphenated.

==
Accomplabilities: A Complete Snack

Resume Master-chefs don’t separate Responsibilities and Accomplishments. In fact, they don’t use them at all. They use Accomplabilities instead.

Accomplabilities are a tasty combination of Accomplishments and Responsibilities rolled into a single bullet point. Accomplabilities tell the story of a particular task AND reveal the punchline to that story, all in the same place, like dunking the cookie into that luscious coffee so you get the full-flavored experience.

If we combine the same Responsibilities and Accomplishments listed above, we come up with a much bolder, memorable concoction, indeed the full story:

Example: Managed and developed key accounts with retailers, generating $100,000 in annual revenues.

And, if you’d like, you can take it one step further by putting the sweetest part first, like so:

Example: Generated $100,000 in annual revenues by managing and developing key accounts with retailers.

As you can see, you get the best of both worlds with Accomplabilities: context and impact. Plus, you’ve saved valuable room on your resume so you can say more, instead of just repeating the same thing in two places.

When it comes to Accomplishments and Responsibilities, think about the coffee and the cookie: why go with one or the other when you can combine them and create a much yummier offering?

top 21 May 2020 | Executives, Job Hunting in a Recession, Resumes