Tying responsibilities and accomplishments together. It’s generally more efficient to combine these two elements into a single bullet on the resume. Example: “As an engine maintainer [responsibility], I stood XX engine watches and performed YY maintenance procedures during ZZ deployments. I completed certification of all engine systems in AA months, and served as the expert in gearbox maintenance [accomplishments].”

For transitioning military members, however, it may be easier to list some responsibilities for a particular assignment and delve into accomplishments later. The job of military policeman or deck division sailor is not familiar to civilians, and listing basic responsibilities helps introduce the accomplishments that follow.

Don’t forget that a resume is supposed to be easy to read. Fitting all your responsibilities and accomplishments on one page (without shrinking the font to unreadable sizes) requires economy of words. Filter out all but the biggest and most impressive responsibilities and accomplishments, and keep your entries short with few enhancing adjectives.

Why it’s important to know the difference. Where it’s really important to understand how a responsibility differs from an accomplishment is in the interview. If a potential employer asks you to tell him/her about a job (“What is an avionics maintainer?), then you should respond with general responsibilities. If he/she asks you about a specific event or specific responsibility (“So what was it like working in dispatch?”) then you can trot out your accomplishments. In this case, you don’t want to simply repeat what’s on your resume – in both cases, the interviewer is allowing you to provide extra detail.

Referring correctly about responsibilities and accomplishments – i.e., indicating you know the difference between the two on your resume and in the interview – shows employers that you understand the difference between performance and expectations, and that you see clearly what the expectations in your military jobs were and how you performed to meet them. That kind of self-knowledge is a minimum requirement for membership in a business team, so make sure it’s evident on your resume (and in every hiring step that follows).