by Rick Gillis

Professional Accomplishments: The Shortest Distance to Indispensable

Feb 05, 20156 mins
CareersIT JobsIT Leadership

An inventory of real-world, valuable accomplishments will demonstrate your value to your organization. (Serialized from the soon to be published "Promote!")

strong successful businessman. 158990717
Credit: Thinkstock

Chapter 3: Welcome to Your Professional Mindset

Here’s another word for you: ACCOMPLISHMENT.

ac·com·plish·ment (noun)  ə-käm-plish-mənt

  • Something done or achieved successfully (ACHIEVEMENT)
  • The successful completion of something: the act of accomplishing something (COMPLETION)

For the purposes of this book, let’s expand that definition a little. An accomplishment is “The successful completion of something you did that you are proud of.” It is something that prompts you to walk the walk and hold your head up a little higher around the workplace.

The trick to convincing your employer you are indispensable is having at your fingertips an inventory of real-world, on-the-job, valuable accomplishments that will demonstrate your commercial value to the organization.

Commercial value? There’s a new concept. Yes, everything we will be talking about going forward with the exception of some entry-level employees will be based on the commercial value your efforts provide to the organization. There is always room to boast about volunteer and charity contributions but for the most part, commercial is where we will live for the remainder of this book.

Let me assure you that this applies to every reader of this book no matter your position in the company. From entry-level, all the way to senior management, you must be able to express your value to those you report to. And in case you’re wondering, the top dog — yes, even the CEO — has a master to serve. In his or her case it is actually two: the board of directors and shareholders (or the owners of the organization if it is privately held) — so this information should be shared companywide.

“Never assume that anyone, even your immediate supervisor, knows exactly what you do.”

Think about your standing in your company this way: Remember how good you told them you were during the hiring process? Remember those interviews when you impressed even yourself with your spontaneity and amazing recall of previous successes? That result was due to your preparation for that specific event.

Now think about this: What if you had to re-apply for your current job every month? What would you say that would convince your employer that you are a vital and indispensable member of the team and worthy of keeping on the payroll? In the world of work today, you must be able to do that.

“You must make sure decision makers are continuously aware of the value you bring to the organization.” (Ideally without making enemies among your fellow workers)

So how do you do that? This will surprise you: I don’t know! Really. I don’t know.

Here’s why: I don’t know you. I don’t know your personality. I don’t know the culture of your company. I don’t know your boss or the chemistry that exists (or doesn’t) between him and you. I know nothing of the circumstances of your employment or the dynamics or politics that may be involved.

What I DO know is how to prepare you for the moment when the opportunity to make the case for how indispensable you are presents itself, and it is all about your specific accomplishments.


First, some background. Resumes are inherently unfair. In that short, little biographical document, an employer or recruiter is expected to read between the lines and determine that you are someone the organization wants to learn more about; someone to call to interview. In the not too distant past, hiring managers actually had time to read resumes but, as you know, technology intruded onto the landscape and due to the onslaught of resumes received for each position posted, resumes are given a short three to 10-second scan, and that is after the software filtering algorithm has spit out only those resumes a computer could love.

Knowing this, I came to realize that a resume is not enough; it alone will not do the job of getting anyone the attention they deserve — particularly at the interview. My job was to set my client candidates apart from the crowd so I created the Accomplishments Worksheet and Accomplishments Statement to give my clients an advantage over the competition in their job search.

Thereafter, when a hiring manager reviewed a resume followed by a formal, written statement of personal best accomplishments, the rate of success for my clients and candidates skyrocketed. The Accomplishments Statement became the great equalizer that took a flat, lifeless list and gave it the dynamics necessary to make that hiring manager sit up and pay attention.

Why tell you all this? Because job seekers often approach me thinking it is time for a change of scenery. They weren’t getting ahead at their current job and they believed that a new employer might be the solution to the problem.

However, when we worked through my mandatory job search protocol of taking an accomplishments inventory (which is not negotiable), it often became clear that these candidates did not need a new environment where they would be more appreciated as much as they needed to take this personal accomplishments promotion concept to heart and apply it to their current situation. In several cases the idea of moving to a new company vanished as clients were able to obtain the recognition, promotion and financial compensation they sought at their current place of employment.

The Accomplishments Statement works equally well for job search and on the job.

This new component of your career tool kit will help you get the promotion, a raise and, more importantly during hard times, the Accomplishments Statement can make the difference that keeps you on the payroll over another person who doesn’t know how to effectively speak or hasn’t made the effort to communicate his or her enduring value.


You view your paycheck as payment for the services you render and you are not incorrect. But your employer views your paycheck as his investment in you. And you know what happens to an investment (e.g., a stock) that is under performing: It gets dumped.

But what if that investor had inside information that would indicate that she should hold on to that stock? Your accomplishments are that inside information. It is your responsibility to make certain your supervisor, your boss’s boss and maybe even her boss’s, boss’s, boss has that information. This information cannot travel high enough up the organization.

As you create your Accomplishments Statement, you will learn to assert your current and future value to an organization making yourself compelling and memorable to your present employer who in turn is able to realize what clearly sets you apart from your coworkers.

Now, before I show you how to create the document that will become more important to you than any resume, follow the link to take a look at the Sample Accomplishments Statement. You will probably want to refer to this document several times as we go forward.

Click to download a Sample Accomplishment Statement

Next week’s installment: Chapter 4, “Think Quantification” from PROMOTE!