One of the hardest parts of writing a resume is finding the best way to describe your experiences. This is where impact statements come into play.
Impact statements are bullet points that you include in your resume to communicate the impact that you had on a project, workplace, or organization. Impact statements help you stand out because they clearly communicate your skills, experience and expertise.
Typically, impact statements are used in the “Work Experience” and “Volunteer Experience” sections of your resume (click here to see the different sections of a resume). Impact statements replace the traditional descriptions and details that you might have put in these sections.
What is the Point of an Impact Statement?
Impact statements make it easy to identify the skills you used and developed at your previous jobs. Employers care about this because they hire you for your skills.
Impact statements are not comprehensive job descriptions; they are intended to focus on the transferable skills that a prospective employer cares about. It is normal when using impact statements for some parts of your job to get highlighted, and for other parts of your job to be ignored. This is fine because prospective employees only care about the parts of your job with relevant and transferable skills.
Impact statements are particularly useful when applying to jobs that are in a different category than your previous jobs. By focusing on the skills you used and developed at your previous jobs, you can show a prospective employer that, even if you lack direct experience, you have the necessary skills for the new job.
What Does An Impact Statement Look Like?
An impact statement looks like this:
Managed a team of seven people to sell heating and cooling systems to small businesses, leading to a total of 85 sales worth more than $2 million in six months.
This impact statement follows a simple structure:
Action: The “Action” refers to the first word of the impact statement. The Action is a verb written in the past tense that describes a skill you used at your previous job. At the bottom of this article, I’ve included a list of sample Action verbs.
Description: The “Description” gives context to the Action. This is the middle part of the impact statement.
Result: The “Result” is the outcome or achievement of your Action. You want to be as specific as possible when describing your Result. Where possible, try to quantify your result using numbers. If you can’t quantify your Result with a number, then very clearly explain the outcome or achievement of the Action.
If we go back to the example above, you can see how the impact statement can be split into the Action, Description and Result:
Managed [Action] a team of seven people to sell heating and cooling systems to small businesses [Description], leading to a total of 85 sales worth more than $2 million in six months [Result].
Rules For Writing Impact Statements
When using impact statements, there are a few important rules to remember:
Don’t repeat Action verbs: Try to use each Action verb only once in your resume (and at most twice, if the Action verb is really important). The reason for limiting each Action verb is because you want to showcase a variety of skills on your resume. For this same reason, you don’t want to use a lot of synonymous Action verbs.
Customize your Actions for the job: When writing your impact statements, choose Actions that match the job description. Often, job postings will repeat a few key verbs. Consider turning each of these verbs into an Action. This way, your prospective employer will see that you have the necessary skills for the job.
Keep your impact statements short: Each impact statement should be one sentence. When printed, most impact statements should be two lines long on a page, and no impact statement should be more than three lines long.
No more than three impact statements per job: Your impact statements should describe the key takeaways from each of your jobs. Try to limit the number of impact statements for each job to three. Some jobs might only need one or two impact statements.
Example Resume With Impact Statements
In the example below, you can see how impact statements are used by the job applicant to showcase their skills. Note that the example below only includes the “Work Experience” section from a resume.
Big Mobile App Inc., New York, New York (2018 to Present)
- Led a team of seven colleagues to overhaul a bank’s credit card app for iPhone, resulting in a modernized app that won the App Store’s App of the Year (Banking Category).
- Collaborated with a team of four colleagues to develop a mobile app for a national retail store; the app increased the retail store’s mobile sales by 10% year-over-year and is currently rated 4.8 stars on the App Store.
Small Mobile App Inc., San Francisco, California (2017 to 2018)
- Analyzed user data to identify and resolve bugs in a client’s mobile gaming apps, which improved the stability of the apps and kept the rating of each app above 4 stars in the App Store.
- Managed multiple clients and difficult projects concurrently by prioritizing tasks and setting realistic deadlines, ensuring client satisfaction and timely project completion.
Action Verb List
When writing the Action part of your impact statements, consider using some of the following words. Keep in mind that these action words are only suggestions—there are many more words out there that you can use!
Leadership & Management
Creation & Development
Research & Analysis
Working with Others
You now know that when writing your resume, you should try to clearly communicate your skills to your prospective employer using impact statements. By using impact statements, you can convey the skills, value and experience that you will bring to your new job.