Now let’s talk about the importance of details.
This is another way you can easily make a mediocre CV into a great one, and an opportunity that we frequently see people missing.
For this, we are generally talking about the “Achievements” section of your previous roles.
The easiest way for a hiring manager to imagine you as a successful part of their team, is to see evidence of you as a successful part of someone else’s team in the past.
As stated in the template example at the top of the page – as well as bullet points on responsibilities (i.e. transferable skills!), you should include a set of points titled “Achievements”. If you’re really struggling with this, or when you get to older roles where your memory of achievements isn’t so fresh, adding one “Key Achievement” against each role is better than nothing.
In fact, I’d argue that one great Key Achievement is much more powerful than four weak ones.
But the more quality examples you can add, the better.
To be honest, this is something people can be pretty bad at doing. So to help you surface what your achievements have been, consider these questions:
- Were you given targets that you met or exceeded?
- How was your success measured by your employer?
- What factors were you assessed on during appraisals?
No matter what your previous job was, how well you carried it out would be assessed by your manager in some way. That’s the details we’re trying to get to.
Once you’ve identified these examples, make the most of them by adding details. Let’s consider a few examples.
If you’re talking about your success vs a target then it’s easy – give figures (either absolute or as percentages):
- Instead of – Achieved target in 2016
- Try – Achieved 103% of sales target in 2016
If you’re talking about your success in developing or implementing something new, then tell the hiring manager the outcome:
- Instead of – Implemented new production system
- Try – Implemented new production system that increased productivity by 15%
(and bonus points if you can follow that by demonstrating the effect on the business e.g. ‘… increasing profits by €30,000’)
Or if you’re talking about management, give some tangible results:
- Instead of – Managed team of 10
- Try – In my management of team of 10, I reduced absence by 40% and increased team productivity by 56%
And finally, don’t forget some of the most basic things:
- 100% attendance?
- 100% punctuality?
- Elected by your colleagues to represent them?
- Put forward for an award or recognition by your manager?
These are all things that show a hiring manager that you can be a trusted and valued member of a team. Discussing facts like those is far more powerful than declaring yourself to be a “good team player” somewhere else on your CV. The key here – SHOW them, don’t TELL them.