Promoting your achievements in your CV is one of the best things you can do if you want to be short listed for a job interview. It’s one of the few times when you are allowed and expected to really “blow your own trumpet.” Some people are naturally shy or reserved and don’t want to be seen to be promoting themselves. That’s usually fine, but when applying for a new position, particularly in another company, one must put aside those reservations.

Essentially an employer is seeking the best candidate for the job. An employer is not going to know much about what you have achieved in your career unless you tell them. They are certainly not going to hire a private detective to find out about your accomplishments.

At times prospective employees may notice that in some job advertisements, employers are seeking so many skills, experiences and qualifications that you almost need to be a former Prime Minister to get the job. This is normal. Any employer will do that. They want to attract the best person they can for the role they have in their organisation. The reality is that you have just much of a chance as any other person, given you meet the criteria (or the majority of it) in the job advertisement.

There are many aspects to putting together a good CV. But I will only outline briefly some thoughts on highlighting achievements in your CV.

Some people have a lot of responsibility in their workplace (eg middle management or team leaders) but they feel they cannot quantify their achievements as others may. In a situation like this I feel it’s important to convert your responsibilities into achievements. For example:
  •  I had responsibility for a $1.3 million advertising budget, which through deliberate marketing/advertising strategies, resulted in securing a further 8 percent market share within our industry.
  • I was responsible for overseeing the work of 20 staff on my team. An important role I had was to keep motivating the team towards sales targets, which was achieved through innovative and inexpensive reward programs. This resulted in an increase of 9% sales every quarter over a 2 year period.
It’s also important to identify (where possible) some of the generic skills that all employers are looking for eg: communication, leadership, positive attitude, research skills, team work, planning & organising, learning, problem solving, ICT, creativity & enterprise and self-management skills. Providing evidence of these would only strengthen your CV.

Choosing your words carefully in outlining your achievements will have a profound way recruiters/employers will view your resume. Again, it’s important to refer back to the essential criteria in the job advertisement. You will want to use key works from the criteria in your resume and specifically in your achievements section. This is because recruiters do use computer programs to scan online CVs that search for those key words. If you do not have them, then guess what- you don’t get the chance of being short listed for an interview.

Some words you may want to use to sell yourself in your CV are “doer” words like: demonstrated, delivered, improved, supervised, established, instigated, achieved, accomplished, built, trained etc.

A resume takes time to write properly. It always needs to be written for specific criteria. Careless wording, grammar or misspelt words most likely will cost you dearly. Have a friend or a trusted colleague proof read your resume and letter of application. Alternatively employ a career counselling professional or HR specialist to write your CV to an industry standard.

You may care to read excerpts of this in: http://news.reuters-gulf.efinancialcareers.com/newsandviews_item/wpNewsItemId-132847

Dr John Taccori

is professional career counsellor and a doctoral graduate of the University of Sydney. He can be contacted at www.careersdoctor.net

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