How To Write Resume Achievements Like A Pro (Complete Guide + Examples)

Sell yourself to hiring managers.

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Resume achievements are not difficult to write - if you're familiar with one of the approaches that I share in this article. These approaches are used by top resume writers worldwide to write outstanding resume achievements.

If your resume lacks the punch and persuasion of Conor McGregor (yes, I’m a Conor tragic … can you tell?), it likely does a poor job of showcasing your career achievements.

The obvious question needs to be asked, then—how do you write persuasive, compelling achievements for your resume?

Unfortunately, most people lose the game of resume achievement writing before they even begin: simply because they confuse achievements with responsibilities.

If you retain anything from this article, I urge you to remember this:

A resume which showcases your responsibilities instead of your achievements is almost guaranteed to end up in the bin (more on this later).

Making Resume Achievements Simple.

The process of resume achievement writing intimidates a lot of people because it appears to be a very time-intensive and complex task.

Well, I have some bad news for you. This is somewhat true (mainly due to the amount of thought and revision that is required to do it well).

The good news is that you can save yourself a great deal of time (and sanity) by:

  • knowing one of 3 methods which resume writing professionals use to write resume achievements quickly (which I’m about to share with you), or
  • using Arielle’s resume writing services.

If you’re still reading, I’m assuming that for now you’re choosing the first option.

Congratulations on taking the challenge!

Let’s dive right into it then, with a closer look at the methodology which professional resume writers use to craft winning resume achievements. But first, a quick look at what not to do.

The Wrong Way To Write Achievements.

Consider this achievement for Vice President, Sales of a luxury goods brand:

“Achieved 125% to annual sales target in 2016.”

What do you think?

This person certainly seems like a high performer. But are you interested in finding out more? Do you find yourself thinking “hold the phone, I’ve found my new Head of Sales”?

Probably not.

The main problem with an achievement like this is that it lacks context, and therefore leaves the following questions unanswered:

In other words, an achievement like this creates more questions than it answers.

And when recruiters are left with too many unanswered questions, they tend to do the worst thing possible – put your resume into the “too hard basket”.

(Bonus Read: How To Write A Masterpiece Of A Resume: New Rules Of Resume Writing).

How Should You Write Your Resume Achievements?

It should be becoming clear to you why resume achievements – as they’re written by the vast majority of people – aren’t very effective at helping people gain employment.

Let me show you how it should be done.


Method 1: Achieved Result By Taking Action (ARTA).

The title of this method gives away mechanics of this approach.

If you were to rewrite the above example using the ARTA method, you’d get:

“Delivered 125% to 2016 sales target (achieved the result) by developing a new-to-company strategy to target the Asian markets (by taking action).”

ARTA is useful for communicating straightforward achievements and is most of the time suited for entry-level roles.

As you can see, the example above doesn’t address all of the recruiter’s questions, but it does provide more context in a confident tone while demonstrating some knowledge of the market.


Method 2: Challenges, Obstacles, Steps And Results (COSR).

Let’s dive straight into it and rewrite this resume achievement using the COSR method:

“Addressed a decade-long trend of declining global sales performance (challenge) and overcame effects of financial headwinds in Europe (obstacle) by embedding a new-to-company Asia market strategy (steps), achieving 125% to 2016 annual sales target within the first year (results).”

Now, this is a person whom you probably want to have on your team.

In one sentence this achievement demonstrates that the person has strategic chops, deep knowledge of global markets and an impressive ability to influence stakeholders.


Method 3: Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR).

This is a method that’s quite commonly used by professional resume writers.

(Bonus ReadHow to Choose the Best Resume Writing Service).

It’s a fairly universal method and is often seen on resumes of middle management employees.

Let’s take a look at the example of our Sales VP again – this time written by using the STAR method:

“Addressed downward overall spending trends (situation) and met sales turnaround and growth goals (task) by identifying and targeting opportunities within the lucrative Asian luxury goods market (action), achieving 125% to 2016 sales plan (result).”

Pretty straightforward, right? Right.

Key Point To Remember.

To do a great job of selling yourself for a particular role you need to write a resume which positions you as the person who has the skills and abilities to do that job successfully.

Use one of my three methods above to show a proven, highly relevant track record of achievement on your resume. This will help eliminate a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s doubt that you’re the right person for the job.


– Irene


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