This post is cross-posted in my new "Next Step Resumes" blog, that is focused on providing resume advice for people aiming for the next step (job or school) in their life.
I am often asked how to combine accomplishments with responsibilities in a well-organized and easy-to-read resume.
Accomplishments are the attention-grabbing and impactful things you have done. Describing your responsibilities, on the other hand, helps to make the nature and scope of your job clear.
Let's use a management consulting position as an example. In this case, the job description is obvious, something like "provide management consulting to clients". This information is not necessary on your resume. But detailing the nature of clients, for instance, could be more useful, and add a new layer of detail: "responsible for planning strategy for automotive supply companies; specialize in cross-border acquisition cases". In this case, the explanation of the responsibility that comes with this particular job serves to add detail and focus. So, thus far we have this information ready for the resume:
Describing an Accomplishment:
This is the core of your resume. In any job, you want to show the key accomplishments you have had that impacted your customers and organization. This is the best way for you to represent what you have done, and provides the most effective basis for the reader of your resume to assess your career. Using the same management consulting example, our consultant may have helped a client purchase an overseas parts supplier: "Led multinational team of 4 completing due diligence on target as key part of US$35M purchase of French automotive parts supplier". This would give us this:
Responsible for planning strategy for domestic heavy equipment and automotive manufacturers; specialize in cross-border acquisition cases
- Led multinational team of 4 completing due diligence on target as key part of US$35M purchase of French automotive parts supplier
The completed example leads with a title, and then offers a description (i.e. job responsibility) and then has accomplishments as bullet points. This is one effective way to include both types of information on the resume.
1) Doesn't listing both responsibilities and accomplishments create too much overlap between the two?
Answer: It is natural for there to be some overlap, as your responsibilities should be connected to your accomplishments in some way. If you feel that the responsibility line is totally and completely redundant, obviously you can remove it, and just focus on the accomplishments.
2) Won't this method take up a lot of space on the resume?
Answer: It is most effective to list responsibility for recent positions, positions where the responsibility is important detail, or for positions in which the nature of the work may be unclear. I'd recommend not listing detailed responsibility for older positions, especially starting positions. If you were a "Junior Marketing Analyst" 5 or 6 years ago, for instance, I think the responsibility description would be less necessary, although the accomplishments would still be important.