As an exercise, we were to reflect on how we had contributed to our team, our department and the company each month; how did we help make or save the company money, what was our approach and how did we measure our progress? What were our accomplishments?
We used the same template for our own accomplishment documentation as we used for job seekers: Identify the Problem or Challenge, detail the Actions taken to address, and quantify the Results – this exercise goes by a number of acronyms: CARs, PARs, STARs, etc. and all work toward the same goal.
His comment to me once was “If you bump into the CEO at the next general meeting, and he asks you what you’ve been working on, what will you say? You can say: “Oh, you know, same old same old…” or you can concisely explain how you helped move a multi-million dollar project ahead of schedule by identifying a digital content tool that allowed the creation and publication of multilingual content in one-third of the time, with the added bonus of effectively saving more than $300,000 in annual labor.”
Since that time, I use this approach with my own team and myself; each month we document at least one accomplishment; three a quarter, twelve a year – we use this in reviews and internal checks to see if we’re on-target to hit goals we’ve established. It’s a great exercise to turn into a habit and will have an enormous benefit for your employees -- and you as a leader -- in the future.
These accomplishments may be kept in a personal document, in reverse chronological order. Should there be a need for an internal or external resume, the accomplishment statements are readily accessible, and can easily be dropped into a resume under the corresponding role. This also gives the resume writer – whether the employee or an outside resource (such as yours truly) – the ability to choose which accomplishment statements are most relevant to the targeted role.
I am writing this because the majority of all of my resume clients, no matter how far along in their career, do not do this or they half do it, missing the important quantification measurement, and as a result (and out of desperation), they copy and paste job description responsibilities into the resume and that never works. It never works because hiring managers know what the role is; what hiring managers want to know is what unique skills, problem solving and critical decision-making do you bring to the role? Your past accomplishments create the story of your work approach and your resume is your first work product example.
Teach your teams to articulate their successes and contributions; challenge them to quantify the results. Help them now so they might better succeed in the future.
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