How Recent Grads Can Quantify Their Accomplishments

Recent college grad quantifies her accomplishments

Quantifying your accomplishments on a resume is very important since employers do not make important hiring decisions based on qualifications only. Recent college graduates often struggle with how to quantify their accomplishments. However, accomplishments aren’t only about big numbers—anything that contributes to the company’s goals is an achievement.

How To Quantify Your Accomplishments As A Recent College Grad

Even as an intern or recent college graduate, changing a process to improve the ease or speed of a task is an accomplishment. You should be able to find some achievements from your course or work experience. It is easy to impress the interviewer with examples of increasing profits, decreasing costs, or streamlining processes.

When asked about accomplishments, don’t say clichés answers like: I got 2:1 or I got a driver’s license. Having a degree is hardly going to make you stand out from the crowd. Ideally, you would want to mention something tangible that you can measure (e.g. if you raised money for charity, how much did you raise in the end?).

As with competency-based interviews that usually focus on behavioral questions, you should aim to use the STAR technique when quantifying your accomplishments.

  • Situation: Give the interviewer some context. Describe the situation and why the accomplishment was significant. Why was it difficult to achieve?
  • Task: What specifically did you aim to achieve?
  • Action: Explain what your specific actions were to achieve that goal.
  • Result: Make sure it is specific. If you’ve saved time or money or received great feedback, say it.

If you’re still struggling to come up with something, think about whether you’ve done any of these:

  • Trained for and finally completed a marathon or other sporting achievement
  • Set up a new student society or turned a struggling one into something more successful
  • Overcome a fear by completing something you were frightened of
  • Given a presentation at an event and got over public speaking worries
  • Raised a certain amount of money for charity
  • Helped others to succeed, for example, by teaching them a new skill

Here are some examples of quantified accomplishments for recent college grads:

  • Worked as a part of a team of students who created a multi-media campaign that increased student enrollment by 45%
  • Named class representative of 5,000 students during final year at college, owing to consistently acquiring “A” grades and exceptional personal conduct
  • Streamlined 3 university admissions office procedures by introducing centralized online enrollment procedures
  • Received 8 awards for drama and music during the 4 years spent at college
  • Attained the Dean’s Award for Excellence following distinctions in 5 languages and 3 sports

You can choose a professional accomplishment that’s related to the role, such as exceeding sales targets in your part-time job, but you don’t have to—it’s more important that it’s an achievement you’re genuinely proud of.

By Margaret Buj; Jenna Arcand
Margaret Buj; Jenna Arcand