Tech & Work

IT resume: List accomplishments, not responsibilities

You can list your job responsibilities on your resume but that doesn't speak to whether you did them well.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when compiling their resumes are that they list job responsibilities instead of accomplishments. I can, for example, depress keys on a piano in a systematic way but that doesn't mean I can play a song. It's important to make distinctions in your resume.

Take a look at your resume. You should be able to take everything that starts with "responsibilities included" and replace with or add to the actual positive outcome you brought about. Resume experts call this PAR (Problem-Action-Results) but I don't consider every change that can be orchestrated in an organization to result from a problem. The best employees find ways to improve or streamline existing conditions before they become problems.

So here's the difference between a responsibility and an accomplishment:

Responsibility: Overseeing installation of new anti-virus software and critical system updates. Accomplishment: Substantially increased security and performance of systems by implementing new anti-virus software and critical system updates.

There is also the danger of listing an accomplishment without explaining the impact that accomplishment had on the company. For example:

Good: Developed disk-cloning procedure for streamlining OS system implementation and security properties configuration. Better: Reduced workstation set-up time by 50% by developing a disk-cloning procedure for streamlining OS system implementation and security properties configuration.

Employees don't always have exact numbers to back up an achievement. For example, it's hard to figure a percentage of time or money saved if you're not privy to that level of intel. In that case, you can use terms like "Significantly reduced..." or " "Substantially increased..."

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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