How to focus your CV on achievements and performance

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Focus on achievements

Simply listing all of your work experience, skills, and qualifications is not going to be enough to get you that all important interview. So what else do you need to do?

Putting yourself in the shoes of the employer will allow you to understand better what they are looking for. Will having the right skills and experience instantly guarantee that you will perform will in the role?

Here’s why and how you should focus your CV on your achievements and performance…

Have a proven track record

When it comes down to it, an employer is not just interested in just g that you have the right skills, education and experience to do the job, but that you also have a proven track record that clearly demonstrates you can perform to a high level on a consistent basis.

Anyone can claim they have a certain set of skills on their CV, but it doesn’t mean to say they are actually able to perform those skills to a high or expected level. You could spend 6 months to a year performing to an average level before you either decide to move on, or are pushed out of the door because your work was not up to standard.

An employer isn’t looking for an average CV from an average worker, and if you write a CV that doesn’t showcase your achievements to date, you could lose out to lesser skilled applicants just on this basis.

Demonstrate your performance

If you want to really make an impact with your CV you have to demonstrate to an employer how well you performed in your previous roles. That way, they have a much better understanding of how you might perform in theirs, and with the right skills and qualifications you are in a much better position of getting to the interview stage.

But how do you demonstrate your performance?

You have to quantify your results and performance by providing actual examples. This could be in the form of a written explanation of a particular situation at work – customer complaints, problem solving, or even idea generation.

In some cases you might find that providing stats and figures will display a better understanding of how you performed. This would be really effective for a sales role for instance. Most job seekers will fail to recognise that cliché statements will not actually provide any real substance, and cannot be taken at face value. An employer wants to see cold hard facts, otherwise they can only go on what you claim to be able to do or have achieved.

CV template with text box
Above: Example of a CV which focuses on achievements. It is free and can be downloaded from here.

Demonstrate your achievements

Your CV shouldn’t just be about what skills you currently have and how you performed in the past, it should also showcase what you’ve achieved over your career. This could be anything from promotions to being given additional responsibility. A promotion would of course be an obvious achievement to add on your CV, but make sure you highlight this and don’t hide it within small print and lots of other tasks and responsibilities.

Any outstanding achievements should be made prominent on your CV, so the employer can recognise what you’re able to accomplish. Even if this means you create a separate section for your performance and achievements, or put them in bold. Try to be subtle, but at the same time make it obvious to the reader that you want them to see what a great employee you could be.

The Total Practice Management Association (Total PMA) is dedicated to the advancement of Solicitors, Legal Executives, Paralegals and other legal support staff in their struggle to build and manage a profitable practice without sacrificing their personal life.

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