Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people ~ Nido Qubein
In CV terms, listing your achievements shows a potential employer what you actually accomplish when you get to work. You know that a job has a list of duties, all jobs do. And you know that to do that job you have to perform the list of duties on a regular, if not daily, basis. So what sets you aside from the rest? The one thing that is going to make you stand out from the crowd of applicants that have a somewhat similar list of past job titles to you is your achievements! Pure and simple. What you actually accomplished when you got to work. This is the part of your CV that spells h-o-p-e to your prospective boss. The thing that makes her think you will be the right person to hire and an asset to her team. So, what should you list and where should you put them within your now fabulous CV.
Start once again at the end. Go back to the job specification of the role you are applying for and see if they are looking for you to be able to achieve anything within their organisation. If so and if you already have achievements in those areas there is your starting point. On top of that list anything and everything you got commended, awarded and generally praised for in your previous roles. You should be able to list at least two achievements per role for your last ten years of employment (which is probably two or three jobs). Ideally you will be able to think of five. List them under the paragraph that talks about your responsibilities so that the document flows. For example;
Running the European team I had responsibility for five Sales Executives (external) and two Account Managers (internal). I also managed ten key accounts within the financial sector, typically working on deals in excess of £1.5m … (so on and so forth)
- Grew the revenue in my region by 300% in two years, from £5m to £15m
- Grew my team from three external and one internal to the current five external and two internal as a result of the increased revenue generation
- Won a long weekend to a five star health spa for being Sales Person of the quarter, Q3 2009
- Received a personal email from the Chairman commending me on my contribution to the Company’s overall success as a direct result of winning the largest order the Company has won to date
- Voted best team leader in a fun competition run by the European offices in 2008
Don’t be shy about this. Blow your own trumpet. You are the only person championing your application at this point so you have to be your own best friend and really give yourself a big cheer for all the things you have already done well. If you feel apprehensive about doing this imagine you are talking about a person you hold in high esteem; your spouse, your child, your best friend. What would you say about their achievements? How much pride and excitement do you feel when you talk about their moments of glory? Now use that passion to get your finest times down on paper. It really will make your CV stand out, no matter how many other people have applied for this role!
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