Today, companies talk about ‘the war for talent’ and how important it is for them to recruit and retain key individuals to meet their business objectives. As a job seeker, it is therefore imperative that you know how to sell your key strengths and achievements in relation to what the company is recruiting for. An excellent way of doing this is to tell companies about your major career achievements
Personal achievements demonstrate your strengths and what skills and behavioural competencies you have used and developed throughout your career. It is all about ‘branding’ and ‘marketing’ you. Companies seek out individuals who can demonstrate examples of successfully using a variety of skills, both ‘soft’ and ‘functional’ to accomplish key objectives. Understanding and writing out your key achievements will help you in your job search by:
- Identifying the skills and traits that make you valuable and attractive as an employee
- Forms the basis of a strong CV
- Becomes the centre piece of how you sell yourself at interviews
- Differentiates you from the crowd
- Identifying Achievements
So what is an achievement?
And how do I demonstrate them to a future employer?
An achievement is something tangible that you have accomplished at work or even in your personal life.
An easy way of identifying your achievements is to think through the following:
- O Stands for ‘Objective’ or problem that you were given
- A Stands for the ‘Action’ you took to reach the objective
- R Stands for the ‘Result’ you achieved
- S Stands for the ‘Statement’ you are going to write on your CV
When trying to decide what sorts of activities could be considered achievements, refer to the following. Did the activity:
- Achieve more with the same resources?
- Achieve the same results with fewer resources?
- Organise an event
- Improve operations or make things easier and better? (quantify whenever possible)
- Resolve a critical problem or situation with little or no increase in time, pounds, people etc
- Involve a new undertaking, such as computerising a new inventory?
- Surpass accepted standards for quality and/or quantity of performance?
- Did you take the initiative in confronting problems, opportunities, or challenges?
- Did you develop something?
- Did you create or design a program, procedure or plan?
- Did you identify a need for a plan, programme, product, service etc?
- Did you prepare any original reports, papers or documents?
- Did you participate in any technical contributions?
- Did you implement (directly or indirectly) any administrative or procedural recommendations?
- Did you implement or participate in any sales, profit, and or/cost saving recommendations?
- Did you receive any award or letter of commendation?
When you have identified your achievements you need to put these into clear statements, here are some guidelines
- They should state what action you took to improve a situation.
- They must express how that action benefited the organisation in one of 3 ways: cost savings, actual £ or % of £ saved
-Improved efficiencies: time saved, better procedures, reduction in staff
-Increased Revenues: new business generated, increased sales or profits
-They should state the result of your action in numerical or % terms whenever possible.
-They should begin with an action verb
-They are limited to one sentence
Demonstrate your skills
Your CV should include at least 6 achievement statements and it is best if they can demonstrate the skills and competencies that are required within the job you are applying for. If you are returning to work after a career break, think about including achievements you have accomplished during your break and how these positively demonstrate strong, transferable skills and competencies.
Remember key achievements help sell you and demonstrate to a future employer that you have used a variety of skills and competencies to achieve definable objectives. Use your achievement stories to help you answer questions at your interview.