woman on a job interview at a creative or entertainment company, people meeting in background

Highlight your skills

When you are creating a resume, you need to craft descriptions of your skills utilized and accomplishments achieved. These are accomplishment statements, which are sometimes called skilled statements. Depending on which style of resume you use, you’ll either list those statements under:

  • Under each job you’ve held for the past ten to 15 years, if you chose the chronological resume style


  • Under each of the three to four skill categories you’ve identified for yourself, if you chose the functional or combination resume style

Either way, you need to describe your skills and what you accomplished during past employment, military or volunteer experience. You need to use action words to describe what you did. You need to not only tell prospective employers what you did, but how what you did made a positive impact—and you need to do this in an attention-grabbing way.

A good way to do effectively highlight your skills is to follow this formula:

Action Verbs + Details + Outcome/Result = Strong Accomplishment Statements

Here are some examples of that formula in action from real-life Minnesota career seekers:

  • Repaired customer vehicles right the first time, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Negotiated optimal service contracts and terms with equipment parts vendors, securing a 27 percent cost savings to the company year over year
  • Utilized communications and interpersonal skills to coordinate production changes between management, engineering and production, building strong team rapport and buy-in for changes that increased productivity

The final part of the strong accomplishment statement formula is very important. You need to show the positive outcome or result your work led to for your former employer, military unit or volunteer organization. If you can use numbers or percentages to quantify your work, that is an extra bonus.

Here’s how using the strong accomplishment statement formula can take a skills listing on your resume from OK to outstanding—just make sure your statements reflect reality:

                                    OK                                                                                          OUTSTANDING

Answered phones


Responded to an average of 150 product complaint phone calls a day in a helpful and professional manner, reducing customer product returns for my callers to half the company average

Led weekly client project status meetings

Steered weekly status meetings to improve client service, increase team productivity and help drive a 13 percent increase in company profits

Maintained factory equipment

Developed and executed factory equipment maintenance plan to improve production efficiency and maximize return on the company’s capital investment