How to write achievements on a CV (best examples) - CV Plaza

How to write achievements on a CV (best examples)

By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager       Last updated: 28 Oct 2018

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, commitment and high performance.

Example of a CV achievements section:

Example of how to display achievements on cv

Many job seekers, unfortunately, simply list down their previous job’s duties and responsibilities while failing to mention what they have actually achieved or accomplished in that role. They confuse movement (i.e. actions) with results (i.e. accomplishments). There is a big difference between the two.

Similarly, they also fail to mention all their personal accomplishments in their studies or extracurricular activities.

The guide below will show step-by-step you how to boost the performance of your CV by including your personal accomplishments in it.

Let’s get started!

1. What are achievements?

Achievement: Any activity, action or task that is accomplished or attained successfully through effort and skill.

Achievements can be roughly divided into two main categories:

  • 1) Personal: received awards, won competitions, achieved high grades in studies, volunteering, participating in sporting events, etc.
  • 2) Professional: saved the company time and money, increased performance, facilitated growth, met and exceeded work targets, etc.

They do not include:

  • Performing daily tasks and activities
  • Performing a job’s standard duties
  • Personality traits (e.g. being friendly, helpful, etc.)

2. The benefits of including your achievements on your CV

1 – Past performance can be an indication of future performance

Your personal attainments tell the 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 say to themselves, “Look, here is an individual who has achieved such-and-such goals for their previous employer; I bet they are more than capable to do the same for us!”

2 – Employers prefer candidates with accomplishment-based CVs

You are more likely to be invited for an interview if your CV is focused on your achievements, rather than on your duties or responsibilities.

According to an interesting research conducted by the authors of “Brilliant CV: What employers want to see & how to say it”, the applicants with achievement-focused CVs are three times more likely to be shortlisted for an interview compared to candidates with duties-focused CVs!

CV achievement examples

3. List of achievements that you can write in your CV

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 necessarily be significant to be included in your CV. Any accomplishments that portray you in a positive light is worthy of being included on your CV.

List of CV achievements

Personal accomplishments can be many things, including:

  • Awards
  • Promotions
  • Trained/Educated others
  • Completed important projects on time and within budget
  • Increased sales figures (by such-and-such %)
  • Saved time by coming up with efficient methods and tools
  • Qualifications gained
  • Good results in examinations and tests
  • Elected to do or lead something/someone (committees, charities, etc.)
  • Leader/captain/manager in some club or organisation
  • Long-term employment without absence from work
  • Anticipated in the organisation of fun fairs, open days, etc.

4. Examples of key achievements by different jobs

Examples of business achievements

  • Completed 200 hours of work experience
  • Three years of previous work experience in the industry
  • Increased sales by 17% over a six month period (sales or marketing role)
  • Collected £20,000 in unpaid debt (credit controller)
  • Successfully managed and led a team of six members (manager)
  • Successfully negotiated a 10% discount on all products and goods resulting in total savings of £26,000 per year (stock manager)
  • Resolved 95% of customer enquiries and complaints (customer service role)
Examples of student achievements

  • Graduated with a first-class honours degree
  • Achieved 3 GCSEs at the A* grade
  • Won an award for punctuality
  • Won the “Early Submission of Assignment” award
  • Elected class representative
Examples of personal accomplishments

  • Last year, I completed a 26-miles marathon for charity
  • I learned a new programming language in my spare time
  • Captain of the local football team

5. How to write your personal achievements in your CV

Step 1: Decide on the format

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 on your CV. There are many benefits of doing this, including; it stands out due to its prominent position, it acts as a quick list of your personal selling points, it encourages the prospective employer to read your CV in more detail.

We recommend following this format.

cv-achievements-examples

Your achievements section should be located just before the education section and just after the personal profile statement. Check out CV format and layouts for more information.

2. Include it across different parts of the CV.

In this format, applicants will mention their educational accomplishments in the education section, their professional accomplishments in the employment section, etc. This makes it easier for the employer to easily identify the area in which this achievement is relevant (e.g. education, employment, etc.)

Step 2: Make a list of your achievements

You should now figure out your achievements in life, education and employment. Try to 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:

  • Do not include irrelevant accomplishments (e.g. mentioning that you “won a ballet dance award” when you are applying for a Business Executive role)
  • Tailor your attainments to the job you are applying for
  • Include the most recent events first as they take priority

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 from your CV with unrelated or unimportant information.

Step 3: Prioritise

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:

  • Which accomplishment is the most significant?
  • What does this accomplishment say about me? Is it something positive?
  • Which one is the most relevant to the job I am applying for?
  • Would I be impressed by this achievement if I was the hiring manager?

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, life and academic achievements.

Step 4: Write it!

The following are the guidelines for writing your attainments in your CV:

  • Keep it short: Use bullet points instead of big paragraphs.
  • Be specific: Write “increased sales by 25%” instead of “increased sales.”
  • Describe: Do not simply list down a few things such as “Finished University” but describe it, “Graduated with a 2:1 degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manchester.”

achievements-on-cv-example-list

Conclusion

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 prospective employer an instance glance of your unique selling points, encouraging them to spend more time considering your application and potentially inviting you to a job interview.

Good luck!