Your Resume: Listing Accomplishments Versus Responsibilities

Recently, I attended a COM Networking event and one of the main advising tips given by a panelist was, “You resume and cover letter represent you. DON’T mess them up”.

Often, I find that many students tend to list their responsibilities rather than their accomplishments.

Keep in mind that you want your accomplishments to be represented on your resume, not just your basic job duties that may be relevant. When giving out a resume, the first thing that employers look for is that you as a prospective employee have listed accomplishments that relate to your goals. Many students tend to neglect this idea and simply list their responsibilities rather than their accomplishments.

Here are a few quick ways to make sure you are listing optimal information on your resume:

  1. Make sure to talk about actual goals that you have achieved, whether they be small or large. Many times students forget that their resume is a reflection of themselves rather than a list of things that they have done. So, if you have helped build a project or brand a company, list these things specifically on your resume.
  2. Don’t neglect skills that you assume all people have.  Many people forget that these skills are what employers are looking for. It is very significant to list software skills, second languages, and social media skills.
  3. Use your resume to extend your reach. If you worked for a publication that circulated among thousands of people, list that on your resume. This shows that you were able to contribute to a publication that reached many people, and this is an asset to any resume. List the click rates, impressions increases, and other statistics that you have made on companies and people. This will register well with a potential employer.
  4. Be honest about your accomplishments. Don’t exaggerate your accomplishments, just be honest about them. If you worked for X company as an “Account Services Intern”, list this and not “Account Services Manager”.
  5. Use resources at your undergraduate (or graduate) school. Most colleges and universities have a Career Services type of office that can assist you in cultivating and editing resumes and cover letters. Utilize these resources at your school. Boston University’s COM Career Services can be reached here.

And remember, arrive at an interview with a resume that you are both proud of and confident in. Know the items on your resume inside and out – this will show through your persona during an interview.

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