List achievements on your CV: do or don't?
List achievements on your CV: do or don't?
- · September 28 2022
- · 5 min read
Table of contents
Put yourself in the position of an employer. You are viewing a candidate's CV. They claim to have the skills and competencies that you are specifically looking for. They also have years of work experience that fits well. So far so good, you might say. However, if the candidate doesn't showcase their skills by citing achievements, while the other candidates in your CV list demonstrate their added value by citing achievements such as: "customer loyalty in 2019 increases by 15%", would you invite for a conversation? The chance is small. Increase your chances of being interviewed by mentioning your achievements.
Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. You’re reviewing the CV of a candidate. They claim to have the skills and competencies that you are specifically looking for. They also have the years of work experience you require. So far so good, you might say. However, if the candidate fails to highlight their skills by mentioning accomplishments, while the other candidates in your list of CVs demonstrate their added value by mentioning accomplishments such as “increasing customer loyalty with 15%”, would you call them in for an interview? I’m guessing not. So don’t be that candidate. Boost your chances of landing interviews by highlighting your accomplishments.
In short, yes. You most definitely should add accomplishments to your CV. It requires little effort, but it can give you a huge advantage over other candidates. Here’s why.
On a CV, a candidate can claim any skills. It is as easy as just adding them to the skill section. However, doing this leaves your skills and level of skill quite abstract to any employer. Instead, spark their imagination by demonstrating how you put these skills to practice and share the accomplishments that resulted from them. Doing that would be more interesting to your new potential employer. Remember, most employers are simply interested in what you can do for them. Sharing accomplishments is a great way to show them and pique their interest.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have a simple job and therefore there are no accomplishments worth sharing. In practically any role, you can do meaningful things that make a difference, no matter the job or title! Think of anything that highlights your skills at work.
Of course, this all depends on your very situation. In the first place, it is important to choose accomplishments that your potential employer can understand and relate to. This means, that you’ll have to cut out all company-related jargon and abbreviations. An outsider must be able to understand, what you have accomplished and why it is meaningful.
In general, commercial companies are interested in either increasing turnover, boosting customer satisfaction or cutting costs. If you’re stuck on what to write research the company’s current day challenges, especially challenges related to the role you’re applying for. Check out the job description for clues to what the challenges may be. If you have already battled similar challenges in a previous role, be sure to share those accomplishments!
When choosing which achievements to show, think about achievements that would easily translate to the situation of the potential employer. Don’t speak about absolute numbers, but rather percentages. This way an employer can easily apply the achievement to their situation. For example, What would it mean for me (the employer), if candidate X (you) could increase conversions by 15%?
To give you some inspiration of possible achievements you can add to your CV, we’ve come up with some examples of good achievements for a wide variety of roles and industries. Check them out below;
“Set-up communication flows for new clients, increasing overall customer satisfaction by 20%”
“Leaded a project to set-up an overseas department”
“Accomplished a 15% increase in NPS amongst clients, initially filing a complaint”
“Introduced a new menu, cutting costs by 10% whilst maintaining satisfaction and improving turnover”
“Co-organised the reopening and press event of a cinema”
“Developed and executed a new guest approach, resulting in guests spending 15% more on auxiliaries and a 9% higher NPS”
“Crafted the graphic designs for the front page cover of the Forbes Magazine January 2020 issue”
“Led the conceptual phase of a major corporate rebranding"
“Reduced costumer contact calls by 30%, with an improved UX for an insurance company”
“Achieved a 35% higher average order value than other Account Managers, thanks to sublime up- and cross selling skills”
“Initiated a client retention program, resulting in a 70% higher retention rate”
“Reengaged a former top 10 client, who had signed with a competitor”
“Executed a new sourcing campaign, resulting in 3 new major supplier contracts”
“Set-up a traineeship program for my department, creating a constant inflow of new talent”
“Oversaw stock management during a supplier cut, improving service availability level by 33%”
“Reduced total Ad spend by 13.2%, while increasing the inflow of leads by 3%”
“Co-written an article featuring my employer in New York Times”
“Developed a new customer journey, increasing the average conversion rate by 15%.
“Enforced new governmental safety protocols, avoiding high sentences including lockdown of the construction site”
“Managed a team of 8, meeting 40% more deadlines with strong collaboration skills and excellent planning”
“Won the Employee of the Year Award”
“Developed an exhaust system, reducing fuel consumption by 6.4% and CO2 emissions by 13.8%”
“Published an article on Storm Surge Barrier Protection in Journal of Marine Science and Engineering”
“Improved solar cell efficiency by 9%, combining a new design with new materials”
Imagine having done something really impressive, such as running a marathon. Is that something to include on your cv if you're applying for a job as Sales Representative for instance? After all, it's difficult to argue that your excellent stamina is going to help you to fulfil your job successfully.
However, we strongly recommend adding unrelated achievements as well. Your running skills might not help you to contract new customers, but running a marathon does demonstrate a high level of discipline and motivation.
We do advise applicants that add an unrelated achievement, to add at least one or two achievements that demonstrate skills directly related to the vacancy. This way, you demonstrate that you're not only passionate about your hobbies or interests in your private life, but also an achiever in a professional setting.
Again, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. We always advise to rank the different sections on your cv, according to the importance for the application. Meaning that, if your accomplishments are of great value to your application, they should be presented high up on the first page of the cv. Are the accomplishments less relevant for the potential employer? Move them down to make way for the sections that are important, such as skills or your personal statement.
Accomplishments can be presented in two different ways;
Adding a separate accomplishments section
Including them within the descriptions of your previous roles under the "Professional Experience" section
If you really want to emphasise your accomplishments, it’s best to list them under a separate, dedicated section. This way, they’ll stand-out and won’t be missed. If you want to go with a slightly more modest way of including them, you can casually present them as bullet points within the description of your professional experience.
Achievements can either be added to the "Work Experience" section, or you can choose to highlight them in a separate section, as pictured below.
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Updated September 28 2022
- · Sep 21 2022
- · 5 min read
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