CV writing: think achievement and outcomes

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 by Dean BruceNo comments

“It’s not what you do, it’s how well you do it.” Like most cliches, there is an element of truth in this. In fact, when it comes to writing your CV there is a strong truth in this. It is surprising how many job seekers still copy and paste their job description into a CV and think this is going to work well. Sometimes they even leave in the words ‘the applicant will…’ Not surprisingly copying and pasting a generic job description is not going to give the right impression to the recruiter.


Why you should not paste a job description into your CV

Even though you may have carried out two or more roles with similar job titles, your actual experience in each role is likely to have been very different. Job descriptions are by their nature very generic. They have to be as they are written hypothetically. Quite often job descriptions will bear little resemblance to the job itself. It is your individual experience that you need to capture and present in the CV. Each of your jobs will have their own story to tell.


Paint pictures with words and use specific examples

Making general statements about your successes can be difficult for the reader to visualise in their mind. By giving examples that demonstrate the successes you have achieved, you enable the reader to clearly see how you have made a difference in your role. Achievements should be specific and measurable. For example, ‘Renegotiated terms with a key supplier saving over £100k a year in maintenance costs’ gives the reader a good understanding of what you did and what the results were.


Facts and figures make the difference

“It is difficult to quantify my achievements” is often the reply when I ask a customer why there are none stated in their current CV. Yet everything that we do, in whatever capacity, should be measurable. Saving costs, improving profitability, reducing the time spent doing something, meeting KPIs and targets…all these things are measurable. Adding facts and figures about the size and scope of the achievement, in addition to the outcomes, also help the reader to visualise it. Adding numbers adds concreteness to your CV without the need to tell the reader you are ‘results focused.’

Show the difference you make

By giving measurable examples of achievements in current and previous jobs you demonstrate to the reader that you can also do the same for your future employer. This gives them confidence in your ability and significantly improves the likelihood of getting an interview. There is no more powerful message than this. It is why including achievements is the single most important asset in your CV.


This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.

CV Writers are the official CV partner to ACCA Careers.

In addition to a CV writing service they can help with LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. You can get things started with a Free CV Review.


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