What are achievements in job applications?

Written by lalla scotter
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What are achievements in job applications?
Writing a CV that highlights your achievements will help you get a job interview. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Recruiting managers can receive hundreds of applications for a single job, especially for junior and graduate-entry roles. If you are applying for a job, you want to make your CV stand out, but for the right reasons. One of the most important things to do is to focus on your achievements. Even if you are applying for your very first job, you can present your achievements in such a way as to make the recruiter keen to interview you.

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Avoid egotism

Many people make the mistake of filling up their CV with empty, self-congratulatory statements for which they can provide no actual evidence. For example, "I am a team-player" or "I have significant leadership potential." These do not make you stand out, as so many other people will have written the same thing, and the manager has no reason to believe you. Showing your leadership potential through describing something you have achieved is more powerful than just telling people about it.

Downplay responsibilities

Achievements are results that you have personally brought about or goals that you have achieved. They are not the same as the duties listed in your job description. If you are going to list those, you might as well also point out that you arrived on time every day. You want to identify that something extra that you did which benefited the organisation. Any time you find yourself writing "I was responsible for...," scrub it out and start again.

Describing achievements

An achievement statement says what you did and the resulting benefit to the company. For example: "Introduced a social media strategy to reach younger consumers. The result was a 20% increase in turnover for the company." Use precise figures and statistics where possible. Don't try to describe your behaviour or emphasise the leadership skills you displayed: the 20% increase in turnover speaks for itself.

Tailoring achievements

At the beginning of your career, you might not have many achievements to choose from. But if you have, choose those that will resonate particularly with the hiring manager. Look on the company's website to identify its core values, and describe achievements that show you demonstrating those values. Or highlight key words in the job advert to give you a clue as to the achievements that will come across most powerfully.

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