What’s The Greatest Accomplishment Not On Your Resume?

A lot of us have our resumes memorized. We can talk about our listed projects and have prepared answers for everything. But occasionally interviewers will ask the question, “What is your proudest accomplishment that’s not on your resume?” They do this for a variety of reasons. Some want to see how quickly you can think on your feet. Others might be trying to verify that you didn’t appropriate someone else’s accomplishments for your resume. Some interviewers may even be trying to see what you’re like on a more personal level. Whatever the reason, preparing for the question, like all interview questions, will leave you with the best answer. This is your chance to share another side of you, while still giving reasons why you’re perfect for the role.

Think outside of work…

A lot of interviewers want to see the full picture of you, but still are looking for how you well you can perform the job. Share a personal anecdote of something you do outside of work that still shows skills that are relevant to the role would be a winning route to take to answer the question. And make sure to tie your personal story back to job-related skills. Have you taught something lately? Maybe you taught your cousin how to use Microsoft PowerPoint, or helped a friend learn basic HTML.  If you can’t think of an example that shows off your technical skills, you can play up your soft skills. If you recently ran a marathon, or competed in a team sport, you can show off your your perseverance, discipline, and teamwork.

But don’t totally count out work examples.

You can still share examples from your professional life. Choose an example that showcases how you go above and beyond your usual responsibilities, but also displays how your personality will fit into the company’s culture. Maybe you helped plan your company’s holiday party and it was total hit. Or you can share how your work on the product marketing team helps the engineering team reach a goal. Talk about accomplishments that make you look well-rounded and willing to help the whole company move forward.

Stay away from cliches, unless you’re going to put a spin on it.

Raising kids and graduating from college are huge accomplishments, but these answers to the question also apply to many other people and won’t make you stand out as an amazing candidate. If you really can’t think of another accomplishment, you can use cliches, but make sure you tell the interviewer why it’s your proudest accomplishment. Were you juggling a full-time job, school, while raising your children? Was graduating from college a big deal because you were the first one to finish from your family and you paid it for yourself? Think about what makes you unique, and turn ordinary answers into something your interviewer will remember.