We’re halfway through this short series and already your Personal Profile should stand out that little bit more compared to other competing candidates. If this is the first article you’re reading in my 4 part series on How to Improve your CVs Personal Profile then I highly recommend reading the first two parts before reading further.
Let’s look at the one writing tactic which is often underused, in fact almost left out entirely from many CVs. I call this writing tactic “Best Achievement”.
#3 Best Achievement
My biggest pet peeve by a country mile when it comes to reading CVs is that I hardly ever read about peoples achievements. Candidates simply do not put them in and I have heard many reasons why people do not add their key achievements to their CV. It’s great to show humility but when it comes to your CV your aim is to land an interview. By being overly humble you are just simply leaving out great facts about yourself. I want to encourage you to look back over your career and think about the works you were most proud of. These are likely to be great achievements. Put them
Too many candidates believe their experience should speak for itself, and while that is true it is also incredibly risky to believe that all you need to do to stand out is to briefly list your experience. While this will help you stand out against a few other competing candidates, what do you think happens when I have to read and choose between 10 CVs which all demonstrate good experience? How will you ensure that you stand out amongst those candidates?
So why do few people put achievements in their CV? Well from talking to a lot of candidates and career coaching clients, it has become clear to me that most people do not consider much of their work as an achievement. This could be because we compare the great work we have done with the work people like Richard Branson has done, or we compare ourselves with people who have achieved colossal results. Sometimes we get this idea that we haven’t achieved enough unless we have made millions of pounds or built super large companies, or achieved a job title such as “Senior Vice President”. This is just not true. Achievements could be achieving great customer services reviews, completing particular projects which created great results for our company or our companies clients, or anything which had a real positive impact on ourselves, who we work for, our colleagues, our customers and clients, or anyone else.
So here is my tip – put your very best achievement in your CV’s Profile section. Try to use an achievement which is relevant to the vacancy you are applying for. This is only going to take an extra sentence in your profile and it should not be a long summary. Just enough to arouse the readers’ attention so that they will ask more about it at interview stage – and don’t forget, one the aims of our CV should be to encourage the recruiter/hiring manager to ask further questions about what we have written (after all, we want to create a good foundation for great discussions at interview stage).
Here is an example:
“One of my greatest achievements has been leading
Sounds pretty good! But as I said, your achievement doesn’t have to be this big (as this is clearly a very big achievement with great results). It could also be something like this:
“One of my greatest achievements has been leading a national project to improve customer reviews of our services, which resulted in a 50% increase in bookings further leading to the expansion of our operations.”
What is the best way to determine what an achievement actually is?
Here is the short process I would go through to determine what I have achieved:
1. Make a list of situations where you performed exceptionally at work. Think of times where you really went above and beyond, or put in extra hours, or worked harder than the usual day to day norm
2. Write down the results of that performance. What was the outcome of that particular performance? Can you quantify those results into figures, monetary figures, or percentages?
3. Finally, write down the knock-on effect of those results. What was the further outcome of your achievement? What effect did your achievement have on other people or other businesses?
Speaking of Further Outcome, I am going to talk about this writing tactic in 4th and final part of our CV Personal Profile writing series. Check out the next blog post!