Documenting Accomplishments

Your “Success Episodes” are the Absolute Foundation of Your Professional Job Search!

The construction and use of Accomplishments follows a method that has been tested and proven. Constructing your list of Accomplishments is a three-part process:

  1. Recall as many Accomplishments from over your career as possible. This will take days, not just hours.
  2. Practice writing Accomplishments using the Accomplishments formula.
  3. Document and categorize your Accomplishments, building a complete Library.

Definition of an Accomplishment

An Accomplishment is a three-part statement that summarizes a note-worthy, work-related event. It communicates the event in a synopsis of what happened, explains how it took place, and describes the result in as specific a manner as possible.

An Accomplishment is documented in 14-20 words, two typewritten lines on a resume, makes no mention of employer or organization name, and avoids use of industry-specific jargon or acronyms that might be a barrier to understanding.

Here is an example of a properly drafted Accomplishment (in this case, for a professional engineer):

Streamlined inspection method, designing automated sorting system to eliminate work bottleneck, reducing production line time by 21%.

Why This Truncated Sentence Structure?

Often, when seeing Accomplishments drafted in the format like the one above, people ask: “Why this format? Doesn’t it seem awkward? Won’t readers wonder if I can write a complete sentence?”

If these are your concerns, rest easy. As already mentioned, this format has been tested many times, and proved to be effective.

Why is it so effective? First, the Accomplishment is written in the brief, no-nonsense style of business. Second, avoiding the “I” conveys a degree of humility and reduces the ego factor. Third, the concise description makes it believable.

Moreover, this abbreviated format actually conveys more, while stimulating further discussion. For example:

  • The Accomplishment introduces talents, not just skills.
  • Quantifying results introduces “value” as opposed to “pay scale.”
  • A list of Accomplishments shows career progress and commitment to past employers.
  • The concise example prompts the important question, “Exactly how did you do that? Tell me more!
  • Your list of Accomplishments may end up being compared to other candidates’ lists. If yours is stronger, you win.

Using Your List of Accomplishments

When you spend the time documenting your Accomplishments, you avoid having to rely on your memory when asked to come up with stories or examples in the midst of a networking event or interview. Stories “from memory” can often backfire if you can’t remember dates, amounts and the proper “punch line.”

The discipline of creating your Accomplishments Library has other positive benefits. In particular:

  • Your skills and talents will be clearly identified – for you and for potential employers.
  • Your value will be demonstrated – perhaps representing millions of dollars.
  • Your interviewer – who may NOT be enthusiastic or trained – will appreciate the useful and thorough “starter ideas” for a meaningful conversation.

In our experience, a committed professional needs a Library of at least 75 and more likely 100 Accomplishments – to start with! (Actually, documenting Accomplishments is an exercise that never ends!)

Of course, you'll use your Accomplishments in your job search. But an additional benefit, particularly for people considering a change in career or direction, is for analysis of your aptitudes and interests. Start by categorizing the Accomplishments, and even "weighting" some in terms of outcome impact or value.

By building a matrix of your success stories you can begin to see what areas you are most effective in -- perhaps unique in.

Complete Guide to Building Your Accomplishments Library

Because we believe this to be the foundation of your career plan, The Marketing Machine® has drafted a complete 26-page manual for developing the list and library of Accomplishments. It includes worksheets to help jog your memory and in particular to help you establish the VALUE of each of your Accomplishments -- not always readily measurable.

We've recently added a list of over 20 sample Accomplishments, too, to help you save time in getting your own list started using the right format. Get full details of the manual here.


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