Unlike the more concise resume, a CV should provide a comprehensive overview of your career with greater emphasis on professionally relevant information. Academic and professional achievements form an important part of any CV. The following tips can help you polish your CV achievements section in a way that will effectively showcase your successes and make your CV stand out.
When you set out to write your achievements section, the first step is to figure out what in your history should be included in this category. This can depend on the course of your studies and career thus far and the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you hold an advanced degree and want to pursue an academic research position, it does not make sense for you to include the customer service award you got at your part-time job in high school. Listing irrelevant achievements can damage your CV by making employers sift through unnecessary data. It can also create an impression of an applicant who is not able to think critically to determine what is relevant; this is not an image you want to project.
Some people have the opposite problem when it comes to writing their CV achievements section. Maybe you never got any type of official award or certificate for outstanding academic or professional performance. If that is the case, this does not mean you have nothing to put in your achievements section. Your contribution does not need to be officially recognized to make a significant impact. Examples of outstanding successes include completing a highly complex project, designing and implementing logistic improvements for your company’s operations and participating in groundbreaking research. Improving company outcomes is another important metric of success, whether the outcomes in question are test scores, sales volume or production efficiency.
Once you have your list of relevant accomplishments, it is time to pull them together into an impressive CV achievements section. To achieve maximum impact, your section should be organized and precise. You want to let employers have all the information they need. You also want an effective presentation to showcase your successes.
An organized section makes it easy for potential employers to read and understand information quickly. Depending on how much you include in your achievements section, you may want to try different methods of presenting your data. A shorter section may benefit from a simple reverse chronological order, with most recent accomplishments listed first. If you have a longer list of successes, you may want to divide them into a few subsections with separate sub-headings. For example, you can split up academic and professional achievements, or you can make separate categories for awards, promotions and outstanding contributions.
Recognition for achievements in the form of awards, certificates and promotions speaks for itself. You can just list it with few, if any, words of explanation. On the other hand, when you describe other types of successes, you should carefully consider your wording to make sure you present yourself from the best side possible. Some people have a tendency to downplay their accomplishments. If you are one of them, watch out for language that fails to reflect the scope of what you achieved. Be sure to include the factors that make your contribution particularly impressive. This can include challenges such as tight deadlines, high complexity and lack of company resources. Another facet to include is the specific impact of your action. Instead of simply stating that you implemented a design improvement that made production go faster, tell the reader specifically how much faster and how this saved on production costs and/or raised profits.
Your achievements section is the place for you to highlight your most important and relevant successes. Let employers know the ways in which they can expect you to contribute to their company or institution by presenting them with a well-written and organized CV. Get more helpful advice for writing your CV by consulting CV samples and professional guidelines.