The Right Time and Place to Brag About Your Accomplishments

Published: Aug 22, 2013

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August 22, 2013

6 situations where your accomplishment list can come in handy

By Bob McIntosh, Career Trainer

For awhile now I’ve been telling my workshop attendees to put together an accomplishment list. I’ve been waiting for just one of them to ask me if I have one. And I’ve had the sinking feeling of being like Dante in the eight circle of hell suffering along with the hypocrites.

For those who are unfamiliar with an accomplishment list, it’s a number of outstanding achievements you’ve accumulated over the course of your career—but not exceeding 10 to 15 years of work history. It should be broken down into occupations, positions, or skill areas, or you can compile a list of accomplishments that reflect one occupation.

1. Informational Interviews. Let’s start here. Most believe that they should bring a resume to an informational meeting (no position has been advertised, so you’re asking question about a position and the company in order to gather information and network), but an accomplishment list could be more useful, given that a generic résumé will not impress the interviewee. The résumé will not talk to the needs of the company, whereas an accomplishment list will demonstrate your ability to solve certain problems.

2. Networking. At networking events for jobseekers and business owners, a list of 15-20 accomplishments will serve you well. You will not cite all your accomplishments when you’re standing at the front of the room during a “needs and leads” session, but telling the group about your best two accomplishments will leave a lasting impression in their minds.

3. Interviews. Why not make your accomplishment list part of your portfolio. Chances are you’ve included the necessary job-related accomplishments on your resume — and you’ve explained them during the meeting — but there may be other accomplishments that could contribute to your candidacy. Your list might be the tie-breaker.

4. Telephone interviews are also a great time to share your accomplishments. Because the interviewer can’t see you, your list will be by your side where you can see it. One question you’re bound to get is, “What has been your greatest accomplishment in (for example) marketing analysis?” Be sure to have that major accomplishment on your list.

5. Your Written Communications. An accomplishment list is extremely useful to have at hand when writing a resume and cover letter. Some of my customers are writing a resume for the first time in 20 years. Should they write the Summary Statement first? Probably not. I advise them to write at least five accomplishments having to do with increasing sales, saving money, increasing efficiency, solving problems, effective management, or other ways they’ve helped the company/organization.

6. When You’re Employed. The saying goes, “The best time to network is when you’re working.” It follows, the best time to compile your accomplishment list is when you’re working and the accomplishments are fresh in your mind. Every time you do something outstanding, write it down. Better yet, add it to your resume. Of course don’t compile your list while at work.

I’m glad to say that, I now have an accomplishment list that spans no more than 10 years, most of them within the last five. Now when one of my workshop attendees asks, “So, Bob, do you have an accomplishment list?” I can smile and be assured that I’m saved from the eighth ring of Dante’s Inferno.

About the Author

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. Bob is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. One of his greatest accomplishments is starting a LinkedIn group, which is one of the largest of its kind in the state, and developing three in-high-demand workshops on LinkedIn. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Please visit Bob's blog at

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