Accomplishments vs. Responsibilities on Your Resume

One of the most common resume errors is to focus on responsibilities instead of accomplishments.  In doing so the candidate significantly reduces their odds of standing out in the mountain of resumes.  To increase your likelihood of success you need to focus on your accomplishments and quantify them where ever possible.

Responsibilities are the laundry list of tasks that are part of job description.  That is not relevant to a hiring manager.  The hiring manager wants to know what difference you made for the company by being there.  What happened because you were there doing this job?  Accomplishment statements demonstrate your successful results.

To effectively create accomplishment statements, identify the Situation, Task, Action and Result (STAR) for each experience.  Then, transform this information into a bullet for your resume.  Where possible quantify the result.  Begin each accomplishment statement with an action verb.

  • Situation/Task – Describe the situation you encountered or the task for which you were responsible. Think in terms of the business problem that needed to be solved.
  • Action – What did you do to address the business need?
  • Results – What was the result of that action?


Consider the following examples as transforming the “before” responsibility statement into the “after” accomplishment statement:


Before:  Managed contracts and change orders for each project.

After:    Managed contracts and change orders on projects to ensure timely completion within budget.


Before:  Managed all online adverting billing.

After:  Managed $7 million of receivable for online advertisements.


Before:  Helped promote financial products through direct interaction with clients.

After:  Promoted financial projects to clients, resulting in 30% increase in assets under management.


Put you best foot forward in your resume by focusing the hiring manager’s attention on what you accomplished for past employers to help demonstrate your ability to add value to their organization.  Accomplishment statements with quantifiable results will help your resume stand out from the crowd.





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