How to write a CV: Key Achievements
Updated: Apr 26
Are you looking for help to write a CV?
In a series of short articles and related videos, My CV Guide will offer quick and easy tips covering each section of a CV in turn. This is free CV advice that is easy to apply and will strengthen your CV in identifiable and meaningful ways. It goes beyond a lot of the generic CV advice you may have already seen by offering hints and tips you probably haven't thought of before when considering how to write a great CV.
This third article in the series focuses on Key Achievements.
Key Achievements are perceived to be a really important part of a CV by both applicants and reviewers alike.
They can cover a well defined, self selected set of career highlights to date, your greatest selling points in essence. For the recipient they provide arguably the best evidence of demonstrated competency and what has actually been delivered in previous roles rather than simply details of what you were employed to do. This can be referenced in an opening personal profile, provided in a dedicated section of its own or laced throughout the employment history of a CV.
Top CV Tips
The Order is important
Getting key achievements across as a priority within a CV is important. Making reference to a key headline or two in an opening personal profile can help establish that or positioning a dedicated section to key achievements early within the layout of the CV will ensure impact. Also consider the order in which the achievements are presented, with the most important or meaningful coming first.
Prioritise relevance over what feels or sounds most impressive
Always think from the perspective of the reader. Which achievements are going to be of most relevance and therefore of interest to them? These are the ones that should be prioritised over those that feel or sound more impressive. Sometimes it is the more routine or standard achievements that demonstrate the most sought after competencies rather than those that make the most impressive dinner party conversations.
Don’t include givens or those that can’t be verified or measured
Key achievements must have weight. If they demonstrate competencies that would be taken as givens or can’t really be validated or verified, as in your word would just have to be taken for them, then they don’t add weight. This can actually have a detrimental effect as it can be interpreted that there is a lack of substantiated and meaningful achievements to be presenting instead.
Providing quantifiable and measurable metrics for key achievements is really important. Volumes, quantities, financials, costs, savings, revenues, headcounts and time frames are all great examples of the types of numbers and figures that can be specified. They jump off the page and make the achievement measurable which creates immediate impact and meaning for the reader.
As with all elements of a CV, content should be punchy and to the point, but provide enough details to allow the context of key achievements to be understood. This creates a frame of reference to draw comparators, establish relevance and ultimately determine transferability to the requirements of the role being recruited for.
Good luck writing your CV and covering your Key Achievements in a way that really stands out.
For the other articles in this series, visit the My CV Guide Blog and for in-depth advice and guidance on how to write a CV, take a look at our downloadable CV Guide. Professional CV writing and CV review options are also available through our CV Review and CV Consultation services.