By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager Last updated: 26 October 2019
Writing your personal achievements on your CV is a great way to make your CV stand out from the crowd. Your achievements or accomplishments are a testimony of your skills, abilities and commitment to succeed in everything you do.
Most job seekers, unfortunately, simply list down their previous jobs’ duties or responsibilities on their CVs without mentioning their valuable accomplishments in those roles. They confuse movement (i.e. actions) with results (i.e. accomplishments). There is a big difference between the two!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, many applicants also fail to mention their personal accomplishments in their studies or in extracurricular activities that could further strengthen their job application.
Let’s get started!
Achievement: Any activity, action or task that is accomplished or attained successfully through effort and skill.
Achievements can be divided into two main categories:
They do not include:
Your personal attainments tell prospective employers a lot about you.
There is a well-known saying which states:
“If you want to predict someone’s future, look at their past.”
An employer will look at your achievements on your CV and think to themselves, “Here’s an individual who has achieved great things in the past; they are obviously capable of accomplishing more great things in the future – for us!”
You are more likely to be invited for a job interview if your CV is focused on your achievements, rather than on your duties or responsibilities.
According to interesting research conducted by the authors of “Brilliant CV: What employers want to see & how to say it”, the applicants with achievement-focused CVs were three times more likely to be shortlisted for job interviews compared to candidates with duties-focused CVs!
It is amazing how many times we have heard people say:
“But I haven’t really achieved anything…”
This is not true.
Everyone has achieved some things in their lives.
Personal accomplishments do not have to be major in order to be included in your CV. Any accomplishments that portray you in a positive light and add value to your job application are worthy of being mentioned on your CV.
Personal accomplishments can be many things, including:
Need more examples? Imperial College London’s Guide to CVs contains some excellent examples of interests and achievements on CVs.
There are two popular formats in which applicants write their achievements:
1. Include it in a separate “Achievements” section
This is the most common way of presenting your attainments and accomplishments on your CV.
We generally recommend following this format.
2. Include it across different parts of the CV.
In this format, applicants do not have a separate section but mention their accomplishments in the other various sections of their CVs.
For example, educational accomplishments would be added in the education section; professional accomplishments would be added in the employment section, etc. This makes it easier for the employer to quickly identify the area in which this achievement is relevant (e.g. education, employment, etc.)
Which format should you choose? Both are effective, so it’s up to you!
The time has come to make a list of your achievements in life, education and employment. Think back on some important moments of your life and find instances which made you proud and happy about your performance.
When listing down your attainments, bear in mind the following:
You should now have a list of key achievements.
TIP: If some of your achievements are irrelevant to the job you’re applying for you should simply omit them. Do not fill up valuable space of your CV with unrelated or unimportant information.
You should only include up to 3 accomplishments in the achievements section. If you include any more it will take up valuable space and look cluttered. You can include any additional examples as part of the other sections of your CV.
When prioritising, ask yourself the following question:
TIP: Use a variety of personal accomplishments as that will make you look like an all-rounded person. For example, do not include three examples from employment alone but also include personal and academic achievements.
The following are the guidelines for writing your attainments in your CV:
Writing accomplishments on your CV is a great way to make your CV stand out from a pile of other CVs. Your CV achievements give the employer an overview of your strengths and unique selling points; encouraging them to seriously consider your application and inviting you for a job interview.