A reader wries:
I work as a receptionist. I think I’m pretty good at it. My job is basically to answer phones, take messages and relay them promptly, open and sort mail, prepare outgoing mail, schedule courier pickups, make copies, type documents, etc, when requested. My question is, what kind of things would someone with this kind of job use as an “accomplishment” when updating their resume? I mean, it’s not exactly a job that has real accomplishments to brag about. Any thoughts?
Lots of people have jobs where their accomplishments don’t lend themselves to easy metrics and instead are more qualitative, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with accomplishments to list on a resume!
The trick is to think about what the difference would be between the way you perform your job and the way someone mediocre would perform it. (Now, if you’re the mediocre person, then I can’t help you.)
For instance, maybe you — unlike your predecessor — keep a busy office running smoothly, completely revamped the client billing system to ensure bills are now sent out on schedule, resolved an inherited four-month backlog in three weeks, took over troubleshooting the phone system so that the I.T. department didn’t have to do it, and regularly garnered unsolicited praise from callers and visitors to the office for your helpfulness.
Those are all accomplishments, and they can all go on your resume.
To get at this stuff, try asking yourself: What did you accomplish in this job that someone else might not have? Did you make improvements or do something that got better results than your employer had been getting before? If you were asked what made you really great at your job, what would you say? What might your boss or coworkers have said made you really great? Somewhere in there are qualitative accomplishments — and, ideally, a track record of getting things done.