Highlight Accomplishments, Not Just Job Functions

One of the primary changes in resumes over the last 10 years has been the transition from responsibility-based statements to achievement-based statements. In your search for good resume writing advice, you’ll find a lot of discussion about its importance, but you will also discover that little is available to describe just how it’s done.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of transitioning from generic statements to more specific ones that you can include in your IT resume. I’ll start by looking at what is meant by responsibility-based statements. Here are several examples for a software engineer position:

  • Create object-oriented designs and documentation that support customer-driven features and requirements.
  • Develop compelling and user-friendly applications and user interfaces that enhance the guest experience.
  • Demonstrate proficiency for programming, in a variety of languages and design patterns.

These are good solid statements, but all of them are generic and could relate to virtually any software engineer. What these statements lack is a clear connection with specific projects and the value they provided — the reader is left with no knowledge of who benefited from their work and how they benefited.

When moving from generic to specific, think about the actual projects on which you’ve  worked. Below is an example of how a developer used an achievement-based statement to describe his work.


  • Designed and developed a “form” processing engine for a web-based application that integrated with a content management system. Enabled non-technical staff to quickly create complex business rules for processing web forms.

Who benefited and how did they benefit?  The business benefited because non-technical staff could work independently on activities that, in the past, had been delegated to the technical team.

What did the software engineer accomplish?  Designed and developed a “form” processing engine that integrated with the company’s CMS.

Following are other examples of how this process works. Note that I’ve provided examples of achievements that describe business value, as well as achievements that describe technical value. For IT professionals, not everything can be connected with the business.

Business Value Connections


  • Created a Crystal Report environment that enabled first-ever analysis of administrative and surgical measures by hospital’s senior management team. Defined and implemented measures for procedure and case volume, inventory usage, physician usage, cost/case, vendor market share usage, etc.

Who benefited and how did they benefit?  In the past, senior management had never been able to correctly analyze these particular items because so much of the data was in multiple, disparate databases.
What did you accomplish?  Created a Crystal Report environment with integrated measures.


Jennifer Hay is a highly credentialed resume writer and LinkedIn writer for IT professionals. Her clients include data engineers, data scientists, software engineers, systems analysts, project managers, program managers, product managers, IT managers, and IT directors. www.ITResumeService.com