Man adjusting his business suit

When it comes to writing your CV, the hardest part is often getting started and actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be).

A CV is essentially your shop window to promote yourself and, like any shop window, it has to be attractive, neatly presented, and contain something of interest to grab the attention of passers-by.

Today, we're going to focus on achievements - let's run down exactly what achievements to include on your CV to make it shop-window ready.

 

How to Include Achievements on Your CV

A good CV should cover approximately two pages of A4, providing enough information about you, your skills and your achievements without going into unnecessary detail. Space is valuable and extremely limited, so make sure the whole document is solid gold from start to finish.

Be sure to include your recent job history, but don't just mention the duties and responsibilities of each job - really hone in and focus on the results you achieved while you were there.

If you managed a team of ten, go on to mention the fact that your team regularly surpassed their targets under your direction. If you were in charge of sales, include how much revenue was generated as a result of your hard work.

Remember, don't undersell yourself – you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Merely scratching the surface can do you and your skills a serious disservice, and this could be the difference between a callback and a courtesy email.

 

The Wow Factor

In addition to your career timeline and work history, it's important to include the various milestones you've achieved along the way. For job-specific accomplishments, this can be woven into your summary of the relevant job role; however, you may want to include these points in a separate box-out on your CV.

Opting to include achievements on a CV as a stand-alone section is a great way to highlight them to your potential employer, as well as emphasising their importance. This is your 'wow factor' space, reserved for the biggest achievements, ensuring they won't go unnoticed even by the busiest of skim-readers.

It's also a great opportunity to include achievements outside of your career roles, such as work experience, supplementary qualifications and notable feats that transfer well. If you have a relevant accomplishment that falls outside of your linear job history, this is the space to mention it.

 

Stay on Target

Speaking of transferable skills, that leads us nicely to the topic of relevance. Keeping your list of accomplishments applicable is extremely important and can highlight your suitability for the job at a glance.

While it may have been a glorious achievement at the time, that '2nd Place' badge from the junior school sports day sack race probably isn't that relevant when you're applying for a post-grad science job.

Similarly, a ten-man killstreak on Call of Duty may earn you points with the lads down the pub, but it's unlikely to impress your interviewer in terms of employability and suitability for a role.

Try to keep your CV achievements professional, recent, and relevant to the role in question. While additional experience outside of the stated job criteria can be helpful at times, it can also be surplus to requirements.

Read the job description and the person specification carefully, and aim to really tailor your CV to the role you're applying for. Don't distract your potential employer with excess information; grab their attention by checking the boxes you know they are looking to tick.

 

Paint by Numbers

A good CV should paint a vivid picture of the individual as a worker and what they can bring to the table. One of the easiest ways to make your value abundantly clear is to speak in a language most decision-makers will understand: numbers.

Quantifiable figures and statistics are a clear, concise way to illustrate the impact you had on a given outcome. As long as you're being truthful, they can also serve as verifiable evidence to back up your claim.

If you increased company productivity, don't be afraid to crow about just how much you did so. After all, 'My continued efforts increased team-wide productivity by 20%' sounds far more impressive than simply stating 'I increased productivity'.

This rule isn't reserved for percentages - it can also be used to great effect when applied to monetary figures. If your consultancy work saved your client thousands of pounds, be sure to mention just how much you saved them.

The same goes for sales: if you made X sales last month / quarter / year, include the number and don't be afraid to contextualise it. If your salary was £30k and you brought in £300k, simply stating that your sales paid for your salary ten times over can be an attractive point well made.

By now, you should have a good overall idea of what achievements to include on a CV and how to include them effectively. If you need any further CV advice, the following links may be of use to you:

CV Checklist   10 Common CV Mistakes

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New Year Fireworks

An article published on Buzzfeed last December offered a number of suggestions for job seekers hoping to land their 'dream role' in 2018. The tips were fairly wide-ranging, touching on everything from cleaning up your social media accounts to choosing the right interview clothes.

Even so, we believe that we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions can add a few extra tips to that list for 2019 - if you're serious about getting a new job in the new year, here are 5 more things that you should keep in mind:

1. Ask somebody else to read your CV.

Before you submit your CV to any potential employers, send it to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to give it a quick read-through.

Your proof-reader will hopefully catch any spelling / grammar mistakes that you failed to spot yourself, but more importantly, they'll be able to tell you whether or not the document is a fair representation of your abilities and experiences. They may think you're selling yourself short!

2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for.

Once you've finished writing your CV, it's easy to just send exactly the same version to every prospective employer. But tweaking your CV each time you send it - tailoring it to the specific role you're applying for - can be a very worthwhile endeavour. You don't have to start from scratch every time you begin a new job application, but you should assess each job description and make sure that your CV is emphasising the right skills and focusing on the most relevant parts of your career history in each case.

3. Eliminate all filler from your cover letter.

When applying for certain jobs, you will be required to accompany your CV with a cover letter that explains why you're applying for the role in question (and what makes you a good fit for it). Your cover letter is a great opportunity to make a glowing first impression, but no matter what you decide to put in this document, it needs to be concise and to-the-point.

Once you've written your cover letter, read back over it and make sure that every single sentence has a reason to be there - if it doesn't add anything to the picture you're trying to paint, delete it! Employers won't enjoy reading a lot of pointless waffle that wastes their precious time, and a shorter, punchier cover letter will likely make more of an impact anyway.

4. Know how you're getting to the interview.

Showing up late for an interview is almost always a surefire way to not get the job. Once you've been told where you're being interviewed, take the time to plan your journey carefully:

  • Will you be walking, driving, or taking public transport?
  • What time will you need to set out in order to arrive on time?
  • Do you have an umbrella in case it rains on the day?
Planning is key if you want to be sure of arriving on time (and not looking too dishevelled when you get there!).

5. Didn't get the job? Ask for feedback.

Even an unsuccessful job application can be valuable if you're able to learn from it and do better next time. If a prospective employer tells you that you didn't get the job, thank them for their time and ask them if they would be willing to provide any feedback. For example:

  • Did your answers leave something to be desired?
  • Could you have dressed more appropriately for the interview?
  • Was it simply a question of experience?
You can't control every aspect of your job application, but constructive feedback can give you a better idea of what employers are looking for and how to present yourself in the best possible way.

Useful links:

Work Experience

What do you need in order to land your dream job? One word: experience.

Recent studies show that two thirds of employers seek graduates with relevant work experience, as this better prepares them for working life and helps to develop their general business acumen. Additionally, one third of employers reportedly feel that job applicants do not possess enough knowledge about their chosen career.

But developing your business skills and career knowledge isn't the only reason why work experience is important. There are several other advantages the you can gain from getting a taste of working life before seeking a permanent role.

Why work experience is important:

  1. Exploring your options - If, like many people, you are not yet sure what career path you'd like to take, work experience provides a great opportunity for you to see what it's like to work within a certain industry. This can be a deciding factor in the role you eventually choose for yourself.

  2. Displaying your enthusiasm - If you already know what career you'd like to pursue, gaining work experience within your chosen field will demonstrate your passion and interest to potential employers when you send them your CV. Employers like to hire individuals who want to work for them because they're genuinely interested in the role, not just because they need the money. Gaining work experience in your preferred industry will show a high level of commitment, which can increase your chance of future success.

  3. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses - Work experience can be a great teacher. While working within a real-life work setting, you'll have the opportunity to assess your abilities more clearly. Skills that you developed in school and university can be put into practice; you'll also be able to learn what skills you do not possess, and perhaps begin working to develop them.

  4. Networking - Work experience will give you many options to network. You'll get to know a number of potentially useful contacts, and they'll get to find out what you have to offer. Even at this early stage of your career, networking can provide benefits that will last throughout your working life.

  5. Discovering opportunities - Frequently, employers who take on individuals for work experience end up offering those individuals permanent positions within the same organisation. Neither employer nor worker can really know how well the candidate is going to perform prior to the beginning of the placement, but after some time, the employer may realise that the worker can bring lasting benefits to the company. This is particularly common among undergraduate students whose courses include a placement year; once the placement is finished and the student has gained a considerable amount of knowledge, their employer will often offer a full-time role for after graduation.

As you can see, work experience comes with a number of important benefits, all of which can help you to secure your dream job.

If you are interested in working with the science industry. Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help you to take the next step in your career. We work with the biggest and best organisations in the UK science industry, helping talented individuals to fill vital roles and drive the sector forward. Click the link below to see a full list of current vacancies.

Browse Science Jobs >

Graduate writing CV

You've graduated from university, and now you're on the hunt for your dream job. But having the right degree, the right skills, and even the right work experience means nothing if you don't know how to lay it all out on your CV!

A good CV needs to make a lasting impression on the person reading it. The average employer spends mere seconds scanning each applicant's CV, so it's crucial to make sure that yours really grabs their attention. Follow our graduate CV guide to make sure your document hits all the right notes.

Personal Information

This section should include your key personal details, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Email address
Feel free to include other information - such as the fact that you have a clean driving licence and access to your own vehicle - if you think it may give an edge over other applicants. If you are currently employed, mention this here (along with the notice period you will need to serve before leaving).

Skills & Expertise

This is where you should talk about your skills as they pertain to the job you're after. It is crucial to highlight skills that are relevant / transferable to the position - examples may include:

  • Strong problem solving skills
  • A good understanding of relevant regulations / legal matters
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Good communication skills
This is your opportunity to show off the skills and expertise that make you the perfect candidate for the job! 

Experience & Education

This is the juiciest and most important part of your CV. List all of your past work/education experiences in chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Include start/end dates, a brief description of each role, a brief list of what you achieved or learned in that role, and any qualifications/grades earned.

It is again important to focus on experience and education that is relevant to the job in question, as this will look good to your potential employer. For example, if you're applying for a scientific position, make sure you list your most impressive scientific experiences and qualifications. If you do not have any relevant work experience, try to focus on education and any transferable skills you've picked up over the course of your life thus far.

Interests & Hobbies

This is where you can detail the activities that you enjoy in your spare time. Remember, though: the employer does not want to read your life story! Ideally, the activities listed here will complement the information you've given elsewhere in your CV; for instance, if it's a scientific position that you're applying for, you might state that you like to read the latest science news and keep up with trending topics. This reinforces your interest in the position and will look better than saying 'I like playing video games and watching Netflix'.

References

It's common practice to state 'References available on request' at the end of a CV. That said, if you have strong, relevant references available, this is another opportunity to stand out from the other applicants. Some positions may state that references are required, so be sure to know exactly what is expected of you before proceeding.

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Including all of the above on your CV should get you well on your way to securing the job you want! Remember not to waffle and to focus on what's really important at all times. Also, check for spelling and grammar mistakes, as these will really take the shine off what you've written. Finally, consider tailoring your CV to each job you apply for - different roles will require different skills, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always pay off!

If you need help with your job hunt, please don't hesitate to contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions for expert assistance.

Further Reading:

Why Didn't I Get a Job Interview?

Virtually every job seeker experiences rejection at some point in their journey. No matter how much time you spend fine-tuning your CV...no matter how much effort you put into writing your cover letter...no matter how much you really really want the job...there's sadly no guarantee that you'll make it to the interview stage. Sometimes you'll get a politely-worded rejection email from your prospective employer, but sometimes you just won't hear back from them at all.

In either case, you'll probably end up asking yourself:

Why didn't I get an interview?

Today, we'd like to suggest some possible answers to that question. Of course, there are all sorts of reasons why an employer might choose not to offer an interview; it might be that other applicants were more experienced, or that the position had been filled before you even expressed an interest. Sometimes it's just out of your control.

For the purposes of this post, however, we're going to focus on things that you can control. Take these five things into account the next time you apply for a job, and with any luck, you'll be rehearsing answers and picking out an outfit for that big job interview before you know it!

1. Your application was too long and rambling.

It's important to keep your CV and cover letter reasonably concise. When an employer has a huge stack of job applications to go through, they generally won't want to spend too long on each one, so make sure your documents are easy to skim-read. The important details—relevant qualifications, impressive achievements, similar positions you've held in the past—should leap off the page, and that won't happen if they're buried in paragraphs and paragraphs of waffle.

2. Your made spelling / grammar mistakes.

You don't need us to tell you that spelling errors and bad grammar can torpedo even the most qualified candidate's chances of securing a job interview. Always double-check your documents for typos before sending them (and ask a friend or family member to check them too, just to be sure).

3. You didn't tailor your application to the job you were applying for.

Employers can usually tell when you send them the same generic cover letter that you've sent to dozens of other companies. Writing a new document every time you apply for a new job is tedious and time-consuming, but ultimately, you're more likely to get the interview if the employer feels like you're specifically interested in (and suitable for) the role they're offering. Consider tweaking your CV each time you send it, too – you may want to highlight different experiences / achievements for different jobs.

4. You didn't make a convincing enough case for yourself.

The main aim of any job application is to argue that you are the right person for the job in question. When you get rejected for a role you really wanted, go back and read the job description – did your CV and cover letter convincingly argue that you meet the stated requirements? Could you have done a better job of explaining how your previous experiences made you a better prospective employee? Did you shout about your unique talents and skills, or could you have made them clearer?

5. The employer wasn't able to view your application.

It doesn't matter how sensational your job application is if the hiring manager can't open it. When submitting a CV / cover letter, make sure it's in a common file format, and send it to yourself first to make sure it opens without any issues. You might want to view it on a few different devices, too.

Need more job application advice? Read our CV & Cover Letter Checklist, or contact the HRS team to find out how we can help you to get the job you want!

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