How to Write an Impact Statement

Impact statements are the bullet points under each experience on your resume that capture the actions you took, provide background related to your efforts and identify clearly for the reader the consequence of your actions. They go beyond simply stating what you did - they provide a greater sense of the impact of your efforts and allow the reader to more readily understand the skills, traits or capabilities you possess.

Your resume is a MARKETING document which sells the brand YOU (it is about you but it is not for you - you are not the audience). Developing strong impact statements allow you to clearly identify that you possess the skills and capabilities your target audience is looking for. Incorporating impact statements into your resume allows you to be more strategic and most effectively highlght your brand.

Traditional resume formats simply provide a chronological listing of responsibilities or tasks. Such documents do not 'speak' to the reader nor are they crafted with a specific audience in mind - this is a key reason so many applications seem to go into a "void" once they are submitted and candidates never move beyond the application phase of the recruiting process.

Applicants want an employer to pick the "product" they have to offer (themselves) out of a sea of possible "product" choices (a stack of resumes of interested applicants) but most don't craft a document focused on what their audience (the reader) wants to know and cares about the most. Don't leave it up to the reader to contemplate why you may be a great "fit" for the job they have to offer - clearly show them that you understand what they are looking for and you possess the very skills, traits and capabilities that will allow you to be successful should they hire you. Impact statements allow you to clearly highlight the key skills the employer is looking for.

To create effective impact statements:

Step 1: Determine the skills which are most important to highlight ...

  1. Analyze the position you are interested in applying - review the entire job description, focusing not only upon the "Skills & Qualifications" section but also information regarding the organization or department the position is a part of as well as details regarding the key duties/responsibilities of the position itself
  2. Highlight/make note of any text that directly indicates (or alludes to) the use of a skill/trait; write down the specific skill/trait that the text focuses upon (for example if it states you are expected to "benchmark best practices and collect/analyze organizational metrics", you would right down "Analysis/Analytical Sklls" as this is the relevant/key skill needed to carry out this task/duty)
  3. As you write down each skill/trait place a check mark beside the skill; carry out the analysis for the entire job description adding new skills to the list and/or adding check marks next to skills you have already listed
  4. Once you have fully completed your assessment, order your list of skills by number of check marks beside each skill (from most to least); ordering the skills allows you to identify the most relevant skills/traits for the role;
  5. Create impact statements for the top 5-6 skills/traits you have noted to ensure you are clearly showing the reader you have the very skills & abilities they value the most and are looking for to the greatest degree

Step 2: Create impact statements using the ABC method

Now that you have a sense of the skills you want to highlight, it is important you create bullet points/statements which fully show you possess (and have successfully demonstrated use of) such skills. Using the example above, if you determine that analysis/analytical skills are one of the most relevant skills for the position you are applying to, think of a time, across your experience, where you were required to utilize your analytical skills - under that experience (can be a formal work experience, extra-curricular/volunteer activity, community involvement or academic project), create a bullet point which includes wording that provides answers to the following questions:

  1. What was the tangible ACTION that you took? What did you specifically do (that could be seen or observed by someone watching you)?
  2. What was the BACKGROUND related to the action you took? How did you do what you did (What approaches or ways did you use to do what you did?) OR Why did you do what you did (what were you attempting to solve, deal with, achieve, etc.?)
  3. What was the CONSEQUENCE of your efforts? What was the benefit of your actions? They can be qualitative (e.g., improved staff morale) or quantitative (increased event participation by 50%).

Sample Impact Statements

Researched and wrote a paper on the effects of cyberbullying on pre-teenagers, in order to assess and identify the emotional impacts of such activity on youth; publication received positive reception resulting in invitation to present findings at a national Safe Schools conference. (statement seeks to demonstrate analytical skills)

  • Action: Researched and wrote paper
  • Background: In order to assess & identify emotional impacts
  • Consequence: Invited to present findings at a national conference for safe schools

Collaborated in a project team of four to develop and deliver multimedia presentation highlighting bias within the criminal justice system and impact on indigenous peoples; strong cohesion of team, clear role definition and shared objectives amongst team members resulted in strong positive feedback on presentation effectiveness (statement seeks to demonstrate teamwork)

  • Action: Collaborated in a project team of four
  • Background: To develop and deliver multimedia presentation
  • Result: Team cohesion, clear roles and shared objectives resulted in strong positive feedback

Initiated development of a computerized database in order to improve office operations and limit repetitive data entry tasks; efforts led to reduction in data entry time by 4 hours per week and increased office efficiency. (statement seeks to demonstrate initiative/personal leadership)

  • Action: Initiated development of a computerized database
  • Background: In order to improve office efficiency
  • Result: Saved 4 hours of data input time per week

Skill Action Verbs

Review this list of past tense action verbs to help you in crafting your impact statements