How to Write Powerful Accomplishment Stories

Write your accomplishments by breaking them into three elements based on the acronym PAR. The P stands for the problem or situation you were dealing with in your accomplishment. The A for the action or actions you took and the R for the results you achieved. Keep your stories brief by minimizing what you did. The primary focus of your stories should be on quantified results. You’ll know you are on the mark when an interviewer interrupts you to get the “how you did it” details about one of your accomplishment.

Example

Suppose, as a marketing professional, your company had an under performing consumer product. Your boss assigned you the job of developing a campaign to increase sales for the product. He gave you a six-month deadline and a limited budget. Despite these limitations, the marketing campaign you came up with resulted in a dramatic increase in sales. Here is how you would separate the elements using the PAR formula:

P (Problem/Situation)
Needed to create and implement an effective marketing plan for an under performing consumer product and turn it’s sales around in less than six months, on a $40,000 budget.

A (Action)
Worked 80 hour weeks for a month and a half in the creation and development of an innovative, cost effective marketing and public relations campaign using targeted radio spots and local newspaper ads.

R (Results)
The marketing campaign was implemented under budget in two months. Sales increased 35 percent in first six months and have continued to improve at this level for the last three years.

The next step is to rewrite your accomplishment in a concise manner. Use the following guidelines:

Where ever possible quantify your accomplishment. This could represent increased revenues, money saved, time saved, man hours saved, etc. You can use exact figures or percentages, or approximate the numbers if exact information is not available (i.e. more than 25%).

Begin with action words, such as designed, developed, implemented, increased, saved, earned, etc.

Keep each accomplishment stories to about 30 words.

Rewriting the above accomplishment using these guidelines, this is the result:

Created, developed and implemented a consumer product marketing plan, on time and under budget, that increased sales 35 percent in each of its first three years.

If you worked with large sums of money, say millions of dollars, use the figure. If such were the case in the above accomplishment it might read:

Created, developed and implemented a consumer product marketing plan, on time and under budget, that increased sales $35 million in each of its first three years.

Put the results up front. You can increase the impact of your accomplishment by putting the results (R) at the beginning of the statement. For example:

Increased sales $35 million per year, for three years, by creating, developing and implementing a consumer product-marketing plan. The plan was implemented on time and under budget.

Try writing twelve accomplishment statements. Whenever you are in doubt if an accomplishment is strong enough to be included, include it, most men and women tend to undervalue their accomplishments. Once you have written the accomplishment you may find it stronger than you thought.

Completed Examples

Increased occupational medicine patient volume 93% with projected net income of $325,000 by negotiating a worker compensation contract with McDonnell Douglas Government Aircraft Division.

Developed and implemented a computer learning center which is projected to reduce outside vendor training cost 20% during the first year and 75% during subsequent years.

Conceived, designed and implemented a three year plan which secured degree granting status for a small British Columbia College. This required the passing of an act of the province’s legislature.

Assisted in raising over $400MM in equity within one week of issuance by preparing the prospectus and financial projection for the offering.

Earned recognition for sales achievements by consistently placing first or second place in every promotion in the past 9 out of 10 years.

Generated over $1 million annually by modifying and adapting a special instrumentation valve to an application for the semiconductor industry. The valve is now recognized as an industry standard.

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Published in: on January 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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