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If you want your CV to stand out, you need to make sure that you’re showcasing all the most interesting parts of your work history. This is where achievements come into play, showing recruiters how you can utilize your best skills. However, the exact mechanics of showing off your CV accomplishments may not always be clear. Here’s what you need to know about highlighting your professional achievements on a CV.
Achievements are a list of the best things you’ve accomplished in your career or education history. If you’re a recent graduate, your accomplishments will likely mostly be academic achievements. If you’ve had a few years of experience, your achievements are going to be professional achievements. Achievements can include a wide variety of things, including this potential list:
Achievements can have awards attached to them, but not always. Sometimes, CV achievements are just goals that you were able to reach. Either way, there should be accomplishments that connect with the new job you want.
How do you determine the relevant accomplishments to add to the achievements section of your CV? There are a number of important elements.
1. Numbers will always be better than no numbers. “Increased sales” doesn’t look remotely as good as “Increased sales by 32%.” Your list of accomplishments should include at least a few metrics that showcase exactly how your achievements played out.
2. Connect your achievement to how it benefited the company. You should avoid listing regular job duties as achievements. List things that you went above and beyond to find, and they’re typically things your past jobs benefited from, like an increased satisfaction rating.
3. Highlight what you did to get the achievement. Your accomplishment statements need to highlight what you did—not what co-workers did, not what your manager did, but what you did. Your CV examples need to show how your specific job responsibilities were what led to your list of achievements.
There are many places you can include your achievements on your CV. Here are a few of these options:
If you have a lot of achievements, you can add them all in a separate section. But, it’s most common to see your accomplishments in your work history, presented in bullet points underneath each job title that you’ve previously held. Often, job seekers will list a single “Key Achievement” underneath each previous job, giving a potential employer an easy way to see their best accomplishments.
When you use a CV builder, it will often prompt you for these achievements as you’re filling out your job responsibilities. This can be a great addition to your CV writing, so make sure you’re prepared with accomplishment examples that really showcase your achievements.
Hiring managers often ask about achievements in a variety of interview questions. You may get a follow-up question about one of the achievements you’ve listed on your CV. Or, the interviewer may ask, “What are your top three achievements?” Either way, you should be prepared to talk about your achievements when you go into the job interview and make sure you use the STAR method to get the most mileage out of your achievements. STAR stands for “Situation, Task, Action and Result.”
You don’t have to have won an award in order to list something as an achievement. However, it is a good idea to be able to explain your achievements. For example, if you’re going to list a certain achievement at a specific job, you may want to consider listing one of your supervisors as a reference. That way, they can vouch for your achievements.
The achievements section on a CV is typically most helpful if you have a lot of work history and aren’t able to list it all on your CV. You’ll list your achievements below your work history on your CV, which makes it easy for a hiring manager to scan them. Remember, the achievements section isn’t necessary for most job seekers, and typically, it will just take up valuable real estate on your CV.
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