Writing Achievements in your CV
Commonly, the work experience section is made up of a bullet point list of duties and responsibilities relating to each work position. One line at the beginning to summarise your role and responsibilities is sufficient. Your other dot points should be focused on quantifiable achievements. Below are some tips to help you to create a powerful resume focused on quantifiable achievements
Use Action Verbs
In order for your resume to stand out, the details of your work experience section should ideally start with a powerful action verb, as well as using numbers to quantify your accomplishments.
When writing the work experience, always begin your bullet point details with a strong action verb. A powerful action verb places you as an initiator of action, which leaves a positive impression on the reader. Rather than beginning a description with a passive-sounding description such as “Worked on creative projects to teach children,” it is better to start off using an action verb such as “Designed and implemented a creative arts curriculum for elementary school children.”
Try to avoid starting off descriptions with “Responsible for” and instead, use action verbs such as “managed,” “implemented,” or “developed.”
The PAR Method
There’s a simple formula that any job seeker can follow to construct accomplishment-oriented bullet points. It’s called the ‘PAR’ Method, which stands for problem, action, and results. When applied to your resume, the ‘Par Method’ encourages you to:
Problem: Identify a responsibility or issue at work
Action: Discuss how you addressed the problem
Results: What was the outcome of that action
While that may sound like a lot to fit into one bullet point, you’ll be surprised out how easy ‘PAR’ can be implemented into your bullet points. Check out the examples below:
Developed new filing and organizational practices, saving the company $3,000 per year in contracted labour expenses.
Suggested a new tactic to persuade cancelling customers to stay with the company, resulting in a 5% decrease in cancellations.
Notice that the problem, action, and the result does not always need to be placed in the same order.
Quantify Your Accomplishments
Employers want to see workers who can achieve solid results. These results are best stated in terms of reportable numbers. How many employees did you work with or oversee? By what percentage did you increase sales or efficiency? How much of a budget did you work with, with what type of results? Putting a number on your accomplishments is a sure way of conveying results and impressing the hiring manager.
Hiring managers like to see quantifiable achievements rather than a list of general descriptions of job responsibilities.
By using numbers in detailing your work experience, you are demonstrating your focus as being results-oriented rather than task-oriented. For example, compare “Responsible for selling products to customers at XYZ Store” to “Increased sales revenue by 30% in three months.” Which one sounds better? By including a percentage as well as time spent, the potential employer has a measurable, defined idea of what you have accomplished, rather than just a general job responsibility that can already be assumed with the job title.
In order to measure your accomplishments, try to obtain as much data as you can in regard to your previous work experience. It is never recommended to make up numbers, as hiring managers are experienced when it comes to scanning resumes and it could hurt you later on. You also do not need to quantify every single line in your work experience, but at least have a few per position on the work experience section.
Questions to ask yourself:
Below are some questions that may help to think of how to quantify achievements (broken down in terms of percentages, numbers, dollar amounts, and time
Did you increase sales, market share, or customer satisfaction by a certain percentage? How?
Did you increase efficiency or productivity by a certain percentage?
Did you recruit, work with, or manage a certain number of employees or teams?
How many customers did you serve on average? Did you increase the number of customers served? By how much?
Did you implement new ideas, systems, or processes to the company? What was the impact?
Did you propose or work with a budget of a certain dollar amount?
Did you increase sales or profitability by a certain dollar amount? How?
Did you decrease delivery or turnaround time on a project? How?
Was one of your achievements completed within a tight deadline?
Did you resolve any particular issues? How soon?
All of these are examples where you can specifically quantify an achievement and translate your work experience into a results-oriented approach. In order to provide even more detail, consider also answering “How?” in regard to how you achieved the accomplishment.