There are a number of keys to answering this question well. Knowing the company and new job is important, so that you can choose the right accomplishment and relate it to the position. Elements include:
• Be honest, it’s fine to spin a little, but choose a real accomplishment.
• Provide details – what you did, how you did it, and the results.
• Relate it to the position you’re seeking.
• Keys interviewers like to hear – reduced expenses, increased revenue, solved a problem or multiple problems, increased the company’s reputation.
• If there’s proof, even better, provide it.
Even mundane accomplishments might be big ones, so keep track of what you accomplish on the job for the next job search.
General relation to new job:
“I was in charge of the weekly newsletter, emailed to our mailing list of 1000 users. We built the email by hand, then sent it out using our own mail server – it was really slow and didn’t allow tracking except for who opened the email. I found a service that charged only $100 per month, had automated tools that cut the build time in half, and allowed us to track clicks on specific items. Our sales went up 10% after a few months of using that service – it was well worth the money. I always keep an eye out for methods to increase results beyond a small initial cost. You can read about it in the May Business Journal, they did a case study on it, I brought a copy.”
“My last company spent over $2 million dollars building their online store, and stocking it with all their products. When I started work there, our new team realized Amazon had all the same items, and a store front for a small % of each sale. It was a bottom line deal – the Amazon fee per item came out to less than the incremental maintenance costs. So we switched to Amazon – the added bonus is the system was easier so we were able to list items more quickly. Raw sales increased, profits increased, and cost decreased. That may not be the specific solution for your company, but it’s one of the options I have in mind. I emailed the Amazon merchant URL to you.”
If the accomplishment was all you, then mention it as all you. But don’t hesitate to mention working with a group, as employers love team work.
Some accomplishments don’t impress no matter how they’re spun. “I found a sale on baloney, and suggested to everyone at the office they should eat sandwiches to save money.” That is baloney.