While many impressive accomplishments are easily understood by anyone in the field, others are not. How do you show off something when people just don't care?
The key is to make them care. You need to make what you've done meaningful by showing that it's relevant and impressive. Let’s take an example:
First Place in FooBar Programming Contest
Is this a serious accomplishment? It’s certainly not a bad thing, but a recruiter has no idea how impressive it is. We need to make sure that it's seen as relevant and impressive. Like this: Relevance
We need to say something about why
this is relevant. What did you do to earn this award? On what grounds was it awarded? Wording like this would be better:
First place in FooBar Programming Contest, a weekend long individual hackathon, for a synchronized calendar application built using Ruby on Rails.
With this, the recruiter understands that you participated in a hackathon, built something meaty, and did so using Ruby on Rails. This makes it much more relevant. Impressive
While this award is now relevant, the recruiter still can’t understand how impressive it is. Somehow, we need to quantify it. Here’s one way:
First place (out of 400 teams) in FooBar Programming Contest, a weekend long individual hackathon, for a synchronized calendar application built using Ruby on Rails.
With this, the recruiter understands that you not only built a meaty application, but you did it very well. After all, there were 400 teams competing, and you did better than all of them. This advice goes for not only obscure accomplishments, but more "standard" things, as well. If you won any award, at work or at school, quantifying its impressiveness and showing why it’s relevant to the job is key.