Job Seekers of Montclair
Getting to Know YOU

Identifying your accomplishments - really getting to know your strengths - can be an important and rewarding task. Accomplishments summarize what you've done successfully in the past and are a good indicator of what you are capable of doing in the future.

Sometimes we take our accomplishments for granted. By expecting them to be dramatic achievements, we overlook some of the simple accomplishments that have made us effective in our work and in our lives. Consistently completing assignments, finding more efficient ways to do something, research skills and creativity are all accomplishments, even though we might not recognize them as such.

"Knowing Your Accomplishments" is a critical part of getting to know yourself. Understanding the traits that made you effective and satisfied in the past will help you identify what you want to do in the future. It also helps you to create a resume that reflects your authentic self. Don't underestimate what a valuable tool this knowledge can be in your search for employment and an environment that fits YOU.

The following examples might get you started.

Discussing your accomplishments

Knowing what you have accomplished in life will:

  • Allow you to point out to others the value you add and the skills and knowledge you've acquired
  • Allow you to state what you have done in the past and suggest what you can do in the future
  • Allow you to clearly state what you're capable of doing confidently and humbly

Make a list of both personal and professional accomplishments to discuss during an interview. Remember, we gain skills and knowledge in life, not just at our jobs.

"I raised over $5000 for a senior center in my town by selling ads to local stores. I not only sold the ads, but I also educated the storeowners about the services the senior center offered. I persuaded the store owners by sharing the mission of the center and how it has helped town residents."

"My team and I increased customer service calls by 30%. We analyzed our calls and realized we met the needs of 100 new customers."

"I organized a party for my parents' 50th anniversary. After surveying several different restaurants for food and price, I chose one with a view of the ocean since my parents grew up by the sea. I collected money from over 50 people and orchestrated the food, music, and decorations. I even covered a wall with photos of my parents over the last 50 years. They loved it and everyone had a great time."

Accomplishment exercise

Take time over the next few weeks to write about accomplishments from your work and personal life that you enjoyed doing and believe you did well.

Meet with someone you trust and tell him or her about your accomplishments. Ask them to listen closely and to list the skills you used in each accomplishment. You may want to copy a list of action-verb skills from a resume book. Decide which accomplishments you would want to share in an interview or a networking situation. Also choose the ones that will go on your resume.

Try to determine if there is a pattern in the type of skills you enjoy? If there is, what does that tell you about yourself?

Use the following questions to stimulate ideas about you're accomplishment. Have you:

  • Identified and solved a problem? What was the result?
  • Introduced a new way of doing things that made work easier for you or someone else?
  • Participated in decision making or planning? What contribution did you make to the team? What were the results of your efforts?
  • Produced any reports, programs, publications, promotions, or newsletters?
  • Trained or assisted people in learning something new?
  • Received any awards or bonuses for work you did?
  • Created, build or revised something?
  • Discovered something?
  • Written a story or term paper?

© 2002 by Judy Nighland, President of "It Takes All Kinds" in Bloomfield, NJ. She can be reached at or 973-429-8988.