To help you be successful in a job search, you need to create compelling reasons for an employer to hire you over other applicants.

To succeed at this, it’s helpful to understand your unique skills and accomplishments, how to communicate them in a memorable and meaningful way, and how to find and connect with the right people.

In this three-part series, you’ll learn to:

  • Identify your accomplishments
  • Communicate your skills
  • Maximize your connections

 

Let’s start by understanding how to identify the skills and accomplishments that can set you apart.

What Is An Accomplishment?

 

Accomplishments are your success stories—both personal and professional achievements that can increase your value in the eyes of an employer. Your accomplishments can include any time you contributed to the success of a goal or plan, either individually or as part of a team.

Employers love to hear about success stories so they can see evidence of the value you offer.

 

Identify Your Accomplishments

 

You might be tempted to downplay your accomplishments to avoid “bragging,” but it’s important to demonstrate your abilities and contributions.  Think about things you’ve done at a current or previous job, in school, or volunteering that made you feel proud. Remember times when a boss or coworker complimented you on your work. Acknowledge awards you’ve won, clients you helped secure, goals you helped your department meet—anything that showcases your accomplishments.

Remember times when a boss or coworker complimented you on your work. Acknowledge awards you’ve won, clients you helped secure, goals you helped your department meet—anything that showcases your accomplishments.

 

Write About Your Accomplishments as Stories

 

After you’ve identified your accomplishments, it’s time to write them down as compelling stories using the CARD model as a guide.

  • Challenge – the situation, problem, or requirement at hand.
  • Action – the specific actions you took to resolve the challenge
  • Result – the benefit created in as specific and measurable terms as possible
  • Details – add clarifying details to provide context, consider these questions: how many, how much, how long, and how often.

If you’re unsure of which details to highlight, think about which aspects were the most memorable to you or created the most benefit to others (e.g., “Who benefitted and how much?” or “How much money was saved/raised?” or “How did you demonstrate creativity in solving the problem?”). People tend to remember good stories more than simple information, so write stories that help you stand out to an employer.

 

Analyze Your Stories for Skills

 

The next step is to analyze your stories for specific skills that might interest an employer (e.g., leadership, effective communication, problem-solving, or collaboration). Each of your stories likely showcases several of these skills.

Understanding the skills that show up in your accomplishment stories will help you communicate your value on a resume, while networking, or to an employer in an interview.

 

Also in this series:

 

The Capella University Career Center counselors, resources, and tools help students and alumni manage their careers at every stage and move toward the careers they want.

* Disclaimer