I read a couple of blogs on a subject how to write a résumé/CV and improve its efficiency. I paid attention, that there are a lot of advises to focus on the achievements and accomplishments while do not waste a time of an HR recruiter to an enumeration of your past job responsibilities and duties.

For the moment, each of my past job positions contains a brief one-line description and the bullets blocks of Key Responsibilities and Key Achievements, where the list of achievements is a complement (additional stuff, which is not mentioned in the duties section) to the list of responsibilities and not addressing to the result of the duties implementation. I do it in order to provide the whole image as much as possible of the job position and to eliminate the repetitions, where the bullet from the responsibilities is just paraphrased in a sense of achievement.

My questions are:

  1. Should I leave these two blocks (responsibilities and achievements) in my résumé, or it is better to unify them into one solid block of achievements and represent my responsibilities as accomplishments?

  2. Is its worth to keep the Key Responsibilities block in my résumé at all or nobody cares about the job responsibilities since they are, more or less, similar among the different workplaces and close to the job position description?

  3. What is the better order to put Key Responsibilities and Key Achievements, firstly responsibilities and after that achievements or vice versa?

  4. Probably, this question is more relevant to English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, but anyway, which word should I use in my résumé/CV «achievements» or «accomplishments»?

  • 1
    Those are minor structural issues that are less important than other factors. There are many components to a resume and the reader and context in which it is presented makes it hard to write universal rules. The best thing you can do to improve your resume is to have an expert that you trust give you an honest review. Alternatively, another tool that gives you a rough evaluation that is surprisingly interesting is rezscore.com.. Not a substitute for a human, but it helps. – teego1967 Sep 12 '15 at 14:39

The gold standard for American resumes is the "Career Tools" section of the website www.manager-tools.com. Here's the version of their advice that I give people.


Your resume is read by people who are interested in what you can do for them, and who are looking for proof of what you can do.

For that reason, do NOT spend lots of space on "Responsibilities" (i.e. what you were SUPPOSED to do) -- focus on "Accomplishments" (i.e. what you ACTUALLY did).


Question 1. Do not conflate responsibilities with achievements. They are different.

Question 2. Only use the Responsibilities to make it clear what the role actually entailed. A "production DBA" in one environment might have Responsibilities equivalent to a "senior development DBA" in another. Shorter is better.

Question 3. Write the Responsibilities as a paragraph for each role, and the Accomplishments for that role underneath it as bullets.

Write each Accomplishment entry in your resume in the following format or pattern:




The key variables are

  • ACTIVE-VERB -- e.g. Increased, Grew, Decreased, Achieved
  • STATISTIC -- e.g. 20% Reduction, 50%
  • ACTIVITY -- e.g. Sales, Inventory Accuracy, Customer Complaints
  • METHOD -- how you did it, e.g. by instituting quality circles


  • Improved inventory accuracy 50% and reduced inventory counting time 75% by introducing lean principles and empowering staff to continuously improve warehouse activities.
  • Grew sales 50% over 6 months by analyzing customer objections and training sales staff on ways to handle those objections.

Other Thoughts

Question 4: You are correct to bullet point your accomplishments. I don't think it matters much if you call them "achievements" instead of "accomplishments."

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  • Dear Thomas, thank you for the answer. One more point, suppose I worked as a software developer, e.g. back and front-end development. As far as I understand, these two bullets go to responsibilities section. Now, I want to fill-in the achievements section, e.g. «Dramatically improved the performance of the front-end part by implementation better parallelization» or «Solving of technology challenges». Is it OK? – Mike B. Sep 15 '15 at 14:21
  • Regarding STATISTIC, how exactly can I measure my achievement and not just throw some cute number, «now 25% better» or «75% more stability», are these numbers really taken into account or it is just a cheap PR/self-AD? – Mike B. Sep 15 '15 at 14:24
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    I encourage you to measure as you work. "Cut crashes from 3/day to less than one/month by..." Sometimes, the point you are making is not technical. You can prove that you are able to work constructively with end-users : improved user experience enough to move the product out of test and into production by setting up a small user experience committee …" Software is highly supportive of measurement. Focus on measures that management cares about. Never lie, fudge,or invent goofy statistics. – Thomas Cox Sep 15 '15 at 15:03

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