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By Lilian Wamaitha
You have read so many articles on how to write a killer CV and what they all have in common is the insistent to have an achievements section besides your duties.
Your accomplishments at the end of the day carry more weight and show what you are capable of – your duties on the other hand, not so much.
But what happens when you don’t have accomplishments or have no idea what kind of achievements the employer wants to see on your CV?
In this article, I will show you exactly how to turn your duties into accomplishments and increase your chances of being shortlisted for interviews.
1. First and foremost, know the difference
You need to understand that a duty is what you do on a day to day basis while an accomplishment is a description of how well you do that.
For instance, “I planned events” is just a duty but “I single handedly planned a successful product launch event of 50,000 people” is an accomplishment.
First, not many people can do that and to have done it successfully tells a lot about your capability for the job you are applying for.
You are more likely to catch the attention of the hiring manager than that person who just sat there and planned events, whether successful or not.
Why is knowing the difference so important? You want to tell the person who will be going through your CV something that they already don’t know.
Most of the time, your job title will already have communicated your duties for instance an admin assistant.
So highlighting these “obvious” duties only takes up valuable space that you could be using to tell the recruiter what difference you made in the position.
You CV should stand out and not be just like the 200 others the employer will receive for that position alone.
2. Next, create a list
When deciding on your accomplishments, get started by creating a list of things that set you apart in the positions you have held in the past.
For each position ask yourself the following;

  • What did I do that was above and beyond my normal job duties?
  • How did I stand out among other employees?
  • Was I ever recognized by a supervisor for a job well done? When and why?
  • Did I win any awards or recognitions?
  • What new processes did I implement to improve things?
  • What problems did I solve?
  • Did I ever consistently meet or exceed goals or quotas?
  • Did I save the company money?
  • What made me really great at my job?

3. Quantify the accomplishments with figures
Achievements only serve the purpose if they are quantified with real values and you do this by use of figures.
For instance, “successfully planned and event of 70,000 people in 3 weeks with a limited budget of 2 million shillings only” carries more weight than “successfully planned a very large event within a short time.”
The first one has a great ring to it and the employer will be more curious to meet you for an interview to hear more about how you were able to pull that off.
Without even meeting you, they are already picturing your level of work and best believe they will not deny you an interview.
Because at the end of it all, a CV is supposed to help you get that interview invite.
4. Lastly, add a benefit
You have had several achievements in you past roles, but what benefit was that to the company?
Well, you may have “planned that event within limited time and with limited budget” but how did that benefit the company. After all, you are not the only one who has done that.
You may have been working at a company where 2 million is the most they can allocate for an event so you using that money is not really an achievement, you are just doing what you are supposed to do.
By adding a benefit, you are communicating not only what you are capable of but also the benefit the employer will be getting if they are to hire you.
And let’s not kid ourselves; everyone at the end of the day wants to know what’s in it for them.
They are looking to hire to meet a certain need not because they are generous and want to give someone a job, so show them how you will be an invaluable addition to the team.
Just because you can turn your duties into accomplishments doesn’t mean that you lie. If you never made a difference in your position, there is nothing you can do about that except change things in your current or next role.
On the other hand, just because you can turn duties into accomplishment doesn’t mean that you put unrealistic achievements in that section. The employer will know when you are trying too hard to impress them and your CV will just end up in the reject pile.
Also, your CV isn’t a place to list every achievement you have made-just those that are relevant to the position you are applying for. For instance, if you have a lot of years of experience, those achievements you made decades ago in your first job don’t matter and won’t make a difference.
With this in mind
Is there a position you are looking to apply for but is afraid your CV may not sell you in the best light? Have one of our CV writing professionals go through you CV and write you a CV that sells you for every position clearly bringing out your achievements for each position you have held. Click here to contact a CV writer today