As a CV writer, I’ve seen countless CVs over the years. Some have been pretty good, while others have been pretty poor when they come to me. Sometimes they are far too long, jargon-heavy or just a bit dull and probably didn’t engage the person who wrote it, never mind the recruiter who was expected to read it.
But without doubt, the most common mistake made on CVs is that they are not achievement-focused.
It was different in the past when CVs were essentially glorified job descriptions full of terms such as ‘responsible for…’ where you were just expected to include the things you did and nothing more. And that would have been sufficient in those days.
However, recruiters and hiring managers these days expect something more tangible and with more context. They want to know what results you have achieved for the business, the impact you have created, the outcomes to which you have contributed and the value you have added by doing what you have done. So how do you show these?
If it were a formula, it would be something like, ‘Achieved A by doing B’.
Use past action verbs such as ‘increased, improved, achieved, led and delivered’ to highlight the achievement further.
- Responsible for managing team which improved sales by 25% in the first quarter
Could be something like:
- Improved sales by 25% in Q1 by motivating and managing individuals and team to achieve shared business success
You’ve highlighted the business result and also demonstrated what you have done to achieve it. If needed, you can talk about how you did it in more detail in the job interview.
Now, if you’re in sales, quantifiable metrics are much easier to identify, but what if you have a job in a field such as HR or engineering which may not have results that are as easy to quantify?
OK, it may not be possible to use percentage or financial increases, but there is always a business objective to what you do, regardless of your role, otherwise why are you doing it?
Consider questions like these:
- Have you improved a situation in your company?
- Have you helped others to do their job better?
- Have you been involved in staff training?
And then think about the results for the business of doing what you did.
- Enabled senior colleagues to make informed decisions by analysing account data for indications of fraud, and then formulating and presenting results in customised summary reports
- Increased service provision and colleagues’ professional development by leading new team and mentoring four Support Engineers, as well as initiating and delivering enhanced training
As you can see, following the formula ‘Achieved A by doing B’ highlights the result for the business, as well as what you did to achieve it.
So, if you’d like help with identifying your achievements and putting together the best CV possible to get the job that you want, contact us at Career Therapy.