One of the main issues with most CVs is that they end up reading like a list of responsibilities that you did (or supposedly did) in your job. If you want your CV to stand out it is important to highlight the achievements in your career. These achievements should be unique and provable.

Using achievements in place of responsibilities makes the most out of CV space by showing the hiring manager that you are results-driven and have a history of going beyond the expected requirements. Unlike many employees, you actively work to make improvements and create impact within the company.

It can be challenging to sit down and lay out your achievements. To get started ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I make or save the company money? If so, exactly how much?
  • Did I reach my goals quickly? If so, what was the exact time period?
  • Did I exceed my goals often? If so, to what degree?

When answering these questions, think primarily in terms of money and time. High-quality achievements are quantifiable and measurable. Rand amounts, timespans, volume, and percentages are all great ways to quantify your achievements on a CV.

If you get stuck, think about the problems, or challenges you had in your job(s), what action did you take and what was the outcome. Ideally every achievement should include the problem or challenge, the action you took, and the result of your hard work. You can also turn this around by leading with the result. Starting a sentence with a monetary figure or percentage will get more attention.

It is important that you provide context to each achievement. If you say “Saved R100,000” it doesn’t mean much on its own. However, if you say “Saved R100,000 year on year” is good but still doesn’t paint a complete picture. “Saved R100,000 year on year, decreasing operating budget by 52%” is much better.

Along with measurable results, CV keywords can make achievements stand out. Reference the job posting to figure out which keywords the hiring manager will be looking for most.

Examples of Achievements:

  1. Maintained a 97% satisfaction rating over a 24-month period as a customer care representative.
  2. Exceeded retail sales goals by an average of 17% every quarter in 2018.
  3. Cut data processing time by 50% by building a new cloud data infrastructure, leading to more timely insights.
  4. Hired and managed a team of 6 data scientists to successfully deploy a new data processing platform ahead of schedule.
  5. Organized the company’s annual international summit, including flights, accommodations, and itineraries for more than 30 attendees.
  6. Grew email subscriber list from 300 to 2,000 in 8 months without expanding the monthly budget.
  7. Reduced time spent on inventory by 20% by reorganizing physical storage of supplies.
  8. Organized quarterly volunteer projects with upwards of 50 volunteers per event.
  9. Directed 25 events per year, including complex public events with more than 20,000 attendees.
  10. Managed and deployed profitable Facebook ad campaigns with a monthly budget of R20,000.
  11. Worked with the CEO to analyze 10+ technology systems in place and worked to consolidate them with 1 new system that encompassed all programs needed to reach business needs.
  12. Created SEO strategy that improved organic search traffic to corporate blog by 58% YoY.
  13. Implemented a bi-weekly meeting with 9 other department heads to discuss goals, updates, and challenges, increasing productivity across departments by 20% year on year.
  14. Increased shipping times by 100% by implementing computerized inventory and ticketing systems.
  15. Created a 20-page training manual from scratch and led bi-weekly training sessions for new customers service executives.
  16. Implemented a filing system for human resources, organizing more than 300 past and current employee documents.
  17. Chosen for team lead on 15 design projects in 2017, 30% more projects led than any other team members.
  18. Received 2 promotions, from co-management to director-level, in less than 12-months.
  19. Set up and trained staff of 15 on how to use Microsoft Azure platform for cloud computing purposes.
  20. Steered company through a complicated re-organization, resulting in a 75% increase in profits with minimal employee turnover.