Q. I know you say accomplishments are important in resumes but what if I do not have any? I go to work every day (I am a secretary) to answer phones, type reports, do research, organize files, answer questions for employees, talk to vendors and customers, and make travel arrangements. Every secretary in the world does that. I like my job and would not be looking for a new one except that my boss, the company owner, is retiring and the company is closing. But it is just a job. What do accomplishments have to do with it?
A. Let’s look first at your list of what you do. Despite your certainty, not every secretary handles the range of activities you do; many bosses would not expect or want their secretaries to communicate with vendors and customers, for example. Research is another task that requires skills some secretaries simply do not have or are not interested in acquiring. So right there you have a few accomplishments that stand out and should find a place in your resume.
Now we can delve deeper. What types of software do you use on a daily basis and how proficient are you with each? Expertise with Excel, Acrobat, PowerPoint, and Publisher is always in demand, especially if you know more than the basics (for example, how to create macros). If you know additional software, you should also list that in your resume.
You work for the owner of the company—that is also an accomplishment, especially given the level of trust he has demonstrated in your abilities. And what type of company is it? Is it large or small, domestic or global; what industry is it in; how many employees does it have? How many employees, vendors, and customers do you interact with? The answers to those questions speak to the scale of your accomplishments and set you apart from other job applicants.
You mention answering questions for employees, as well as talking to vendors and customers. Clearly, you are a reliable source of information. What types of information do they want? How often are you called upon to share your knowledge? The fact that these people all look to you for answers is a very important accomplishment.
How do your skills and knowledge benefit the company in terms of efficiency, productivity, cost savings, or improved communications? If you were suddenly to disappear from the company, what would they need to do to replace you—and why would they need to replace you? That need your company has for your (or any employee’s) presence is an accomplishment.
If you have trouble writing a resume that shows you to be an accomplished and valuable employee, please contact Robin’s Resumes®.