I'm looking for suggestions from other IT folks on how to identify accomplishments of IT work.

I've been listening to the interviewing podcasts and its hitting me more and more that it is very difficult to document accomplishments of IT work. I believe that a good part of this is the nature of IT and the fact that in the past I have rarely been required to link project outcomes directly to results. There is a difference between doing things and accomplishments.

In IT projects I've done, the objective has been completing the project requirements correctly / on time / on budget. But doing that is really a requirement; every person who did the same project would have the same objective. The standard is very high and just meeting the requirement takes an enormous amount of work, none of which (IMHO) can be qualified as an accomplishment. Additionally, the goal is to exactly arrive at the specification, no more, no less.

So, I struggle with my resume and I'm certain that I'm at the top of the majority whose resume stinks. I feel like I'm trying to show how I've been distinctive in a work system that requires conformance.

Your thoughts?


jruss2k's picture

Hi Brian,

I recently updated my resume to the MT format and here are some relevant observations.

1. Projects seem to rarely complete on time. However, the main accomplishment is the project itself. Did you lead it? What did it accomplish? How did you participate. And definately add that it completed on time and under budget -- many do not.

2. What have you done that is over and above your job description? Can an interviewer say, "wow I wish we had someone who did that?

3. Did you do anything to help comply with regulatory or legislative requirements?

4. How did what you accomplish support the goals of the organization?

Just some thoughts.

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

Another question to consider - do you know the impact of your project? For example, I have someone building me a database that will probably reduce my email by 50%, will certainly improve the quality of the process, and will eliminate duplication of work. Those are the things I would suggest he include as his bullet points.

adamwhite's picture

Might help to shape it around the role you're applying for..?

First the company e.g. if it's for consultancy, make it very very very very customer focused e.g. 'delivered a project that reduced RFC response times by x%). Where in the business cycle is your target employer in? The same project might have saved x (if your target is mature and cutting costs) or generated y (if they're mature but losing share) or defused some other constraints (e.g. hiring lead times) if they're growing fast.

Then the hiring manager - think about their personal motivations. Given the organisational situation, are they likely to want a generalist who they could develop into a wider role, or a specialist who will stay put and cause no trouble? If it's the former, show wider benefits within IT. If it's the latter , concentrate on core deliveables. Personally, I'd like a PM that delivered on time and on budget with minimal escalations to line management...someone that could demonstrate HOW they built a team ethic to get results.

bflynn's picture

Its the first of the quarter, are you updating your resume?

Thank you everyone - this is something I'm still struggling with.

Julia, I have thought of looking at results. Unfortunately, I'm working with customers where I leave the site after my work is done. So while I may know what the project was supposed to accomplish, I rarely know what really happened...for me to contact a customer after a project is completed would be looked upon very unfavorably by my bosses. A little silly, but it is what it is.

The hard part in consulting is that going beyond what is required means going beyond the scope. It is not just giving away value, but also opening up new risks. Generally when you're pushing that hard, you're into unknown territory and wind up with unknown-unknowns biting pretty hard.

I have added some statements as to on-time/onbudget. Otherwise - organizational goals, regulatory compliance (SarbOx), team building, mentoring, coaching, etc are all in there.

I can see that its getting better. These ideas have helped some. I'm still struggling, but the Interviewing Series has helped tremendously. I can see how the bit with the 3x5 cards really works. Now its a matter of making the time to actually do.

One thing that I experienced was when cut my resume down to 1 page, I stopped getting offers to interview. I take that to mean I cut the wrong stuff out.


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

If you don't check back in with your clients, how do you know if you're successful or not?

If I was you, I'd be getting ready to add a new bullet to my resume - Implemented customer satisfaction survey system.

We use a ticket tracking system here that can automatically send out a customer survey when a ticket (project) is marked complete. Something like that might help you out in many different ways.