Achievements in your CV

Successfully applying for a job means showing your employer that you are more suitable than the other candidates. Job application numbers for a particular vacancy vary from tens to hundreds. You will usually need to be short-listed among the first twenty in order to be offered an interview. Only CVs that have impressed the employer will make it to this stage.

When recruiting people, employers reduce the CV list to around forty or fifty candidates. The difference between the chosen candidates and the others is a well presented CV and cover letter.

What did they do differently?

The way they presented their achievements. In this tutorial we will explain how you can word your achievements in a more suitable manner. Employers are attracted to achievements because they want the applicant to repeat them in their own business.

How Employers look at your Achievements?

Employers receive dozens and sometimes hundreds of applications when they begin recruiting, so in order to stand out in a crowd; your CV should identify and then highlight those aspects of your career that promote your abilities.

Employers want employees that will add value to their organisation. This value adding can come in the form of raising profits, reducing expenditure, improving staff morale and productivity etc. In order for you to demonstrate the value you can add to an employers business you need to detail past achievements that cover some of these ?value adding? aspects on your CV.

If you can add at least six significant achievements on your CV you will have the edge over other equally qualified experienced candidates when it comes to being short-listed for an interview.

So what specifically is an achievement?

Achievements are the results that you personally bring about while fulfilling a certain role. It is not the same as duties that you perform as listed in your job description. Everyone with that same job has those! You want to identify that something extra that you did which benefited the organisation.

For example:

Rather than stating that 'you were responsible for a team of 10 people', you could instead say that you 'planned, arranged and hosted a team building away day, which resulted in improved communications within the office'.

Meanwhile employers are most interested in profits so identifying areas where you increased profit margins is always a good achievement to mention. As are any things which you did that were instrumental in reducing expenditure and increasing efficiency.

Not all achievements have to have occurred in the workplace. You can mention your Involvement in a community project that had a positive result, or sporting achievements.

In this tutorial we will explain how you can word your achievements so as to reflect you at your best!

Define Achievement

By defining the objectives of a particular position, it's possible to determine the achievements that employers will value.

Business objectives are very similar, but objectives in a particular position focus on specific business objectives.

Employers are looking for achievements in specific fields. By defining the objectives that a particular position asks for you know which achievements to present. If you write about such achievements, you stand a far better chance of being invited for an interview.

Skills will help but achievements are proof you can implement your skills in practice.

How to Define an Achievement

An achievement means that a particular objective has been reached. Achievements are defined by:

  • Describing what was used to reach the objective.
  • What objective was reached.


Example: Used new sales channels to increase market share beyond the state borders. The result was a 25% increase in turnover for the company.

What does the above statement say? Skill used: creativity, sales channels, initiative.

An achievement statement must impress, "increase turnover" will not get you anywhere unless you define the results, preferably with actual figures. Vague adjectives are to be avoided since they do not give a clear indication your results.

When employers read impressive achievement statements they will want to discuss this further and analyse if you can implement these achievements in their business.

Securing an interview is not an easy business; you have to provide the right reasons for potential employers to want to speak to you!