The 4 C’s of Accomplishments

The 4 C's of Accomplishments

It’s no secret that accomplishments trump a listing of duties on a résumé. Achievements that tell your career story are also a significant part of a successful job interview.

But how do you know if your successes are being framed well to position you as a top candidate?

1. They are CLEAR.

When framing accomplishments, it can be easy to unintentionally be too vague; after all, we know what we did and what it looked like.

The challenge with this is to get the people in your audience to have the same picture in their minds about what happened as you do in yours. And this can be done by providing the person reviewing your résumé or the interviewer with key details to flesh out your achievement.

Consider this accomplishment written two ways:

“Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training with anticipated certification.”


“Completed 200 hours of training toward Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.”

They both are talking about the same thing, but the way this accomplishment is written the second time around gives the audience the exact information about the progress toward a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

2. They are CONCISE.

You may now be thinking, “You just told me I need to be clear, and that means adding details. Isn’t being concise just the opposite?” Actually, it’s not.

In the interest of being clear about your accomplishment, you do not want to rattle on and on. In general, I try to keep achievements in a bulleted list down to one or two lines, sometimes three if it is a very interesting point. If it goes beyond that, think about if you are a) including extra detail that is not relevant, or b) lumping two accomplishments together.

Keep your achievements short, yet clear, as in these examples from résumés I have written:

“Prevented customer from proceeding with transaction that would have defrauded her.”

“Successfully competed over past six years for more than $2.25 million in grants to support community health programs.”

When you consider the quality of your words, it is possible to achieve both clarity and conciseness.

3. They are COMPELLING.

Being clear and concise are not enough to make an accomplishment a winner. It also needs to draw the audience in, to give them a reason to want to read or hear more from you.

When hiring managers sees something like

“Achieved first-call resolution rate of 98% within first month of employment.”

it causes them to take notice. “This sounds like someone who is a hard worker and could hit the ground running,” they may think. And then they want to learn more.

4. They CONVEY value.

The sample accomplishments in this post, which come from my clients’ résumés, indicate benefits that their previous employers have received.

Whether a candidate has taken an action on the job that clearly demonstrates a company being helped or has done something more indirect (such as enhancing his/her education), hiring managers can pick up on the value that such accomplishments convey.

How well do your accomplishments stack up to the “4 C Test?”

Image courtesy of Celestine Chua

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