Hard achievement statements
Remember why employers hire employees?
Either to solve a problem or to make more profit.
A business wants to
- Make (more) profit
- Save costs
- Optimize their overall structure.
The thing is…
Everyone is promoting themselves in their CV.
They all state long lists of job responsibilities and capabilities.
But most claims are based on nothing, are not aligned with the companies needs or are simply meaningless.
With hard achievements, you provide EVIDENCE of your capability claims. You PROOF that you know what you're talking about.
Highlight the right achievements and that interview is almost guaranteed.
Being a generalist vs a specialist
Look at your job descriptions.
Do you see long lists of job responsibilities?
You’re definitely not the only one. I have seen this so many times.
It is like people are afraid of missing that one little detail that could make the difference.
Don’t do this!
It only reduces the focus in your CV and makes you a generalist.
Not that there is anything wrong with generalists. It's just that 9 out of 10 jobs applications are there to solve a SPECIFIC problem.
Would you hire a generalist for a specific job?
In other words…
Would you hire a general doctor or a specialized surgeon to perform an open heart operation?
I thought so too.
Are you a generalist? It's simple.
Highlight only the relevant aspects and hide everything else.
Do this and you will be PERCEIVED as a specialist.
In the job interview you can WOW them with everything else you have to offer.
Learn how to write your CV for MAXIMUM IMPACT!
Problem with job responsibilities
The big problem with job responsibilities?
It tells the recruiter NOTHING.
Think about it…
If you wrote that you “were responsible for social media” the recruiter might think that you are able to do that.
But on the other hand…
Maybe you weren’t on Facebook for 6 months and lost all the followers!
Now, let's transform that sentence into a HARD ACHIEVEMENT instead.
“Launched new content strategy and created growth of followers group from 317 to 4781”.
That's much more impressive, right?
Now it tells a STORY with EVIDENCE of your capabilities.
Recruiters love such stories and as the number is specific, it is perceived immediately as trustworthy.
They won’t remember the exact number. But that thus not matter.
What they WILL remember is that they were happy about the result and that you are PRECISE.
That’s using psychology in your favour.
Do I have to add CV achievements?
CV achievements are all about providing PROOF of your ability claims.
If you don’t add achievements you are seriously undermining your chances of success.
Research shows that achievement-focused CVs are THREE TIMES more likely to pass the first round when compared to a duties-focused CV.
Your objective is to convert your CV achievements into a story with hard facts that will convince the recruiter immediately.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am not saying that you need to have the perfect career to get that job. Nobody has that.
What I am saying is: try to add CV achievements wherever possible and your CV will be far more powerful.
Just spend 5 minutes figuring out what your achievements are and your CV will benefit greatly.
Do you think that you don't have any achievements?
That's alright. Most people have a hard time making measurable claims. But I have not met an adult that didn’t have any achievements!
Well, I have a few questions that might help!
What are your achievements?
An achievement consists of a skill that you used in an activity that resulted in a measurable/quantifiable result or benefit.
Can you think of achievements you have done that had a positive, quantifiable impact?
Everyone has achievements. Even if you might not realise it yet.
The hard part is figuring out how to state them in an impressive way.
So get a piece of paper…
Grap a pen… And just start brainstorming for a minute.
You will surely come up with something!
Think about a situation where you…
- Identified a problem and solved it
- Increased revenue or reduced costs
- Saved time by doing certain activities a different way
- Worked on special (college) projects
- Received awards/honours/promotions
- Gave training sessions or educated others
Think about result-oriented achievements:
- Did you make a program that improved something a lot?
- Did you increase revenue/conversion/invented something that made a difference?
- Did you reduce cost with a project, or made changes to a system or project that resulted in improvements?
Maybe you’ve achieved some more person-oriented results that can strengthen your leadership or team player abilities:
- Did you present for large groups? (Proof your leadership skills)
- Did you lead teams/projects that resulted in improvements
- Did you work effectively as a team? Were they relying on you for important aspects?
Read your list and select the ones that are most beneficial to the job.
Choose relevant CV achievements
Okay, you now have your achievement list.
But it is important to align the right achievements with your personal brand, making your CV holistic.
What do you want to communicate to the recruiter?
On what areas do you want to impress?
- What achievements show some kind of experience the recruiter is looking for?
- Which items highlight important knowledge you have, reflecting the needs of the company?
- What are the items that show skills that are aligned with the company?
- What achievements prove that you have the right personality for the job? Think about being a team player, leadership positions or responsibilities.
Try to come up with achievements that give proof of your experience, knowledge, skills and personality.
If you can convince the recruiter on all of these levels it will actually become hard, if not IMPOSSIBLE, to reject you!
Learn how to write your CV for MAXIMUM IMPACT!
Using stories in your CV
Humans are social creatures.
We depend on others for our survival and happiness. It’s in our DNA.
Right… so what has that to do with my CV?
A story will literally make the recruiter more willingly to help you.
When you engage in a story, your brain releases the neurochemical oxytocin… enhancing the sense of empathy.
At least, that’s the scientific part.
Maybe it helps, maybe not.
But imagine the recruiter looking through hundreds of CVs…
Most of them are simply BORING.
Think about it.
Would you be more intrigued by another candidate with an endless list of responsibilities…
Or would you prefer an interesting, fact-driven achievement that is wrapped in a compelling story?
I thought so too.
Transform your achievement into a powerful story
So you have chosen your best CV achievements for the job.
The next thing to do is to shape it into a convincing, compact story…
In fact, let’s keep it under 2-3 lines. Make sure that every word earns its place. It's easier than you think.
Just combine the situation before and after your solution and close the sentence with the result.
Oh, and try to come up with some hard facts like numbers, percentages or time!
For example, if you have made a product strategy that improved something a lot:
- Before: There wasn’t any product strategy resulting in a messy and ineffective sales funnel.
- Solution: I defined and optimized a product strategy.
- Result: There was an increase of 55% in revenue within a year period.
- Putting it all together: Defined and optimized a product strategy that made the messy sales funnel more effective, resulting in a 55% increase in revenue within a year time.
That does sound interesting, right?
One more tip: be ready to explain the story in your job interview!
By the way, starting the sentence with an action word like ‘defined’ makes the story more powerful and compact!
Not all CV achievements can be made in a story like this.
Use this format to make your achievements compact and appealing.
But if that doesn’t work, just write down the achievement as you think it is best.
“Handed over 25.000 customers and performed several reception duties in a 4-star restaurant” is perfectly fine.
Align yourself to the job with achievement statements
I have heard stories like ‘I’ve had no education and ‘just’ want to be a receptionist’.
But what’s the real difference?
What kind of qualities are recruiters looking for with a receptionist job in mind? Align yourself with the future job!
Describe in your work description instead of ‘cleaning tables in a restaurant’ the more human aspects of the job like ‘handling customer services’.
That’s much better, but can you include also some hard facts?
Maybe you’ve worked 50 weeks (a year), 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, in a 4-star restaurant with on average 100 customers a day:
“Successfully handed over 25.000 customers and performed several reception duties in a 4-star restaurant.”
Maybe you even trained new waiters/waitresses, a role that can support your leadership competence!
Try to close the gap between past experiences and your desired position by highlighting the relevant aspects of your achievement.
Make the next career move a logical result while emphasizing the competencies that the recruiter already seeks within your CV.
Do you still think it’s difficult?
Is it difficult to come up with hard facts?
Try to think of numbers and percentages, both short and long-term.
How many clients did you successfully handled?
What is the lifetime value of a customer?
If you worked for 2 years and had 130 different clients with an average worth of $3500 you brought $455.000 to the company within 2 years time!
Now, with only that one sentence, you bring money into the company, and if I was the recruiter, I would start listening!
Think of percentages and precise numbers.
The recruiter will not remember the exact number, but he will remember that you are precise and that he was happy with the result.
Don’t have many achievements?
Don’t worry; just state the achievement in the appropriate job description and focus on your CV on your skills or personality instead.
What's next? The most crucial part of your CV…
The context-setting CV summary.
The CV summary might the most misunderstood part of a CV while it is THE BEST place to start branding yourself as the ideal candidate.
Learn how to write a Powerful Summary
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