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Career professionals have evangelized for years that accomplishments and results are at the heart of any successful effort to advance one’s career. Duties and responsibilities do not impress employers. (The “Current State of Performance Management and Career Development 2010” noted that when employers evaluate performance, almost two-thirds of them favor results over process.) Job-seekers and workers have been slow to grasp this message and still produce resumes, cover letters, and other communications that emphasize duties and responsibilities.

Career practitioner Rob Sullivan articulates this problem:

“I’ve been working with job hunters for more than 17 years. In that time, I have yet to meet anyone who can, within the first 45 minutes, clearly articulate their most compelling accomplishment as it relates to why a potential employer might hire them. This is a HUGE problem when you consider that most interviews are only about 45 minutes long.”

The reason most people don’t effectively communicate their accomplishments is usually pretty simple: they have no idea what they are. People might think they know, but they still miss a staggering number of opportunities to share their true capabilities.

Even when they do understand the importance of measurable accomplishments, job-seekers and workers have difficulty remembering, tracking, and articulating their accomplishments. When they find themselves unexpectedly in need of a new job, in a position to seek a raise or promotion, or preparing for a performance review, they often encounter difficulty in brainstorming the accomplishments they’ve accrued in current and past jobs because they haven’t recorded achievements as they occurred. As career guru Jason Alba puts it, “When you most need this information is the time you are least likely to recall it.” In addition, job-seekers face a psychological barrier – difficulty talking about what they’ve done in their jobs in a way that frames these activities as accomplishments.

While You Are More Accomplished Than You Think is primarily aimed at helping readers mine their accomplishments in job-search and career situations, it also strives to assist them in boosting their self-esteem and setting goals by recognizing achievements in all aspects of their lives. Entrepreneurs out to win new clients will also find valuable guidance in the book. Here are some scenarios in which readers will find this book useful:

Jeff just learned his company is downsizing, and he will be losing his job in a few weeks. He knows he needs to update his resume and prepare for interviews. The last time he was in this position was a nightmare; Jeff found it extremely hard to remember everything he’d achieved in the job he was in at the time. His resume was substandard as a result, and his job search took much longer than he felt it should have. This time, he is confident because he has read this book.

Danielle has decided after considerable agonizing that it’s time to ask her boss for a raise. She is determined to arm herself with a solid set of bullet points outlining her contribution to the company. That’s easy for her to come up with because she has been tracking her accomplishments – complete with metrics ­– the way she learned to do in this book, including documenting revenue earned for the firm, money saved, client relationships cultivated, and problems solved.

Trudy set a number of goals for herself – things she wanted to accomplish over a year’s time. The year is almost up, and she wants to see how well she has done with meeting her goals. With the help of this book, she’s all set to go.

Meredith is trying to start a small business and must present a proposal to venture capitalists to get the funding she needs. These firms want to know what Meredith has already accomplished that qualifies her to launch her dream business. Through this book, she has learned to uncover the achievements that will help her sell her qualifications to her would-be backers.

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