Finding achievements within challenging work situations

Many jobseekers undersell themselves at interview and in their resumes. Articulating achievements well can come down to practice and having a focused mindset. Once the ball is rolling, I’ve seen many clients provide ten times the amount of workplace achievements they had previously documented.

Aside from the usual measurables of success, such as achieving targets, meeting KPI’s and being promoted, did you know there are many other angles to find achievements to mention in your work life? Here are some tips to start thinking outside the usual parameters and recognise the many accomplishments that can arise from challenging situations or non-traditional events.

 Challenging situations can reveal hidden achievements to consider including in your next resume or interview.

  • Where you part of a rapid business transformation during COVID-19?. It was probably chaos, but you may have designed a new digital payment spreadsheet or created new collaborations virtually.   These examples speak volumes about your abilities to re-invent, an essential skill for future workplaces.
  • Re-frame challenging work situations you have had in the past within teams or during a change of management. There is always learning and growth to be found in these difficult experiences. Demonstrate your emotional intelligence here by describing the challenge and how you overcame it. Avoid being trapped by perceived negative past experiences; remember they are part of the tapestry of our working life.  
  •  Projects not completed, but actively worked on throughout 2020. I have seen many clients whose position was made redundant before project completion. The economic and environmental factors that delayed or abandoned these are not within your control. Therefore, it can be useful to mention “led a team of 10 to roll out new business systems for 2020. Project postponed due to COVID-19 budget cuts.”

These in-depth scenario descriptions give depth and reality to articulating a work history. Spend time documenting these and other tricky scenarios and find the silver lining each of them presented. This approach will put you in the driver’s seat and control your next move.