How to highlight your achievements on your CV
How to successfully highlight your achievements on your CV to show you are the right person for the job and make the shortlist pile.
Using achievement statements in your CV is a way to show that you can use those skills, not just for their own sake, but to deliver meaningful results for the organisation. It shows employers they are likely to get a return on their investment if they hire you.
This article will help you:
■ understand why employers like achievements on CVs
■ identify the achievements you have made
■ write achievement statements for your CV
■ record your achievements in an easily usable form
Value added: why employers like achievers
Many candidates write their CVs like a job description. They faithfully list the duties they performed and their responsibilities. However, they fail to show the positive impact of their work on the team or organisation as a whole.
The whole point of employing someone is that they can make a contribution to the organisation.
Employers are interested in employing staff who can:
■ solve a problem for them
■ increase profits
■ reduce costs
■ sell more
■ improve efficiency
■ raise quality
■ generate ideas
■ enhance customer satisfaction
If the employer can see that the salary they will be paying you will be more than offset by your contribution to organisational efficiency and profits, then it makes the hiring decision easier for them.
Including your achievements in your CV helps to present you as a person who:
■ does over and above what is required in the role
■ can see the relationship between their individual effort and the bigger
■ focuses on results
■ likes a challenge
■ gets things done
IDENTIFYING YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
No matter what roles you have been working in or how long your career has been, there will be things that you have achieved and which you can use on your CV to create that positive impression.
■ What positive feedback have you received at work and why?
■ Have you received any awards, commendations or special mentions?
■ What personal targets have you achieved?
■ How have you contributed to team or organisational targets?
■ What did you do that saved money, time or resources for the organisation?
■ What did you do that directly or indirectly increased profits, customers or sales?
■ How did you improve the quality or efficiency in your own work or that of others?
■ What did you do to improve customer service for both internal and external customers?
■ What challenges or problems have you faced that you were able to overcome?
■ What have you helped to change and what has been the impact?
■ What ideas have you generated and what was the result?
Achievements should be predominantly work related but you can also include non-work activities that are either relevant to the type of role sought or reflect well on you in other ways.
If your role is an outcome-related one, e.g. marketing, then your CV needs to focus heavily on results in terms of increased sales, market share, value of contracts won, etc. Try wherever possible to use numbers, percentages, size, pounds and pence, or hours to describe the results, making an estimate if the final amount is not clear-cut.
Writing your achievement statements
Think about how you are going to write this information in a way that you can use on your CV. Here are some guidelines to help you.
Try to use these formulas to help you write those statements:
- Beneficial result _ what you did that made this happen
Example: Saved management time and improved customer experience [beneficial result] by introducing an effective complaints escalation procedure [what you did].
- What you did _ beneficial result
Example: Introduced complaints escalation procedure [what you did] which saved management time and improved customer experience [beneficial result].
■ Aim for at least six achievement statements for your CV
■ The statements should be between one and three sentences long
■ Start with a positive action verb (e.g. increased, promoted)
■ Include some detail (but be succinct) about what you did and how you did it
■ State the difference that was made to the work/team/organisation as a result of this achievement Quantify this with numbers, percentages if possible, or using estimates if you don’t have exact numbers
■ Ensure these are things that you can justify happened as a result of your contribution rather than being a more general achievement of the team or organisation
■ Be prepared to talk about these achievements in detail at an interview