So far in this mini-series of blogs on career management, I have spoken about the need to know yourself better and offered you several tools or approaches to do some self-analysis and develop a fuller picture of yourself. In this post, as promised in the last, I am going to introduce you to what I see as one of the key phases of your career management activity.

Career management – accomplishment statements

One of the greatest opportunities for you to grab the attention of a recruiter, either via a CV (resume) or application form is to have some powerful accomplishment statements that demonstrate results that you have achieved and the impact that you have had. Beyond their use in the written application process, I also find these statements to form the basis of good answers to interview questions; particularly where situational or competency based interview techniques are being used. An acronymn that I have frequently seen offered to help develop these statements is S R A O L, which is formed from:

  • Situation
  • Role
  • Actions you took
  • Outcomes
  • Learning

However, I find this a little cumbersome to remember and I also think it misses a key element of focus for the statements. Therefore, I have come up with the following acronymn which I believe is easier to remember and has a key focus. My acronymn is I SPARK.

Career management – I SPARK accomplishment statements

I SPARK is formed from the following:

  • I – The focus of the statements has to be on what you have done, so they must focus on I
  • SSituation. What was going on, what was not happening, what was the problem
  • P – Your Part? Team leader, team member, leader, new starter?
  • A – What Actions did you take? What did you actually do? Remember, focus on “I”!
  • R – What was the Result of your actions? What was improved? How? By how much?
  • K – What Knowledge did you gain as a result? What might you do differently next time?

Now, if you’ve read my last post and applied the second tool (OAR) acronymn, you’ll have a good foundation here. Here is a statement from my own background to give you a flavour:

On appointment to first management position, it became clear that there had been insufficient control of revenue expenditure. I implemented and ran a budgetary control process, including yearly budget forecast and monthly reporting (status vs budget). I worked closely with finance controller to establish prior year expenditure. These actions resulted in a yearly expenditure reduction from £235k to £80k with no loss of departmental effectiveness. I developed a deeper understanding of financial control and forecasting, along with developing a good working relationship with the finance team

A couple of tips

  • Make the results as tangible and measurable as possible
  • Use absolute values whereever possible, these may often be more meaningful than percentages
  • Attempt to use action verbs in your statements, these have more impact in the statements

Now go and have a go yourself. The more that you can think of, the better; they will give you more scope and even more insight. I will show you in future posts how you can use these in other phases of your career management campaign

career management - time to blow your own trumpet
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