Expressing Achievements

Understanding the way to a businessman’s heart is through his wallet!

People often wonder about the value of setting out achievements on a CV.  Isn’t it just being a bit big-headed?

Definitely not!

If you can show the business owner how much you saved or made for current or previous employers, he’ll want to find out if you can do this for him.

Remember the layout of the bullet point statement?

[Skill]  [How you use it]  [Volume of work]  [Benefit to the company]

The achievement statement contains the same information with one very important difference. The benefit to the company is brought up front.

It works even better if the benefit can be quantified, that is to say, expressed in terms of numbers. The figures don’t have to be accurate to the last decimal place, round numbers are good enough as long as you can prove them in a story.

You can talk in percentage terms (%), man hours saved, money saved (in £ or $) , money earned or targets exceeded. The skill is to produce the best possible eye catching figure without exaggeration or telling fibs.

It’s all right to use numbers here, as they are going to be at the start of the statement e.g.:-

  • Saved 20% of cost of …
  • Achieved 15% increase in …
  • Improved throughput by 30% by redesigning …
  • Reduced time taken by 30 minutes on a four hour programme …
  • Exceeded target by £2m by …

An exception to this would be if you could use one of the following heart stopping words up front:-

  • Doubled …
  • Tripled …
  • Quadrupled …

The main value of achievement statements is gained in the unadvertised market when you are dropping a CV or covering letter in front of the boss man. They are extremely good news so deserve to be treated that way by being near the top of your CV.

In the advertised market, when the CV has to go through the hoops of personnel department, it’s a better idea to link the achievements to each job title. Make them the first bullet point of each section. Even personnel managers have been known to be impressed by such statements, and that’s not an easy job to do.

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