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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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Applying for a job in science or technology? Here's our advice for crafting the perfect CV

Writing a CV

Everybody talks about how important it is to make a good first impression when you attend a job interview, but in most cases, it's actually your CV that's responsible for making a good first impression on potential employers. Sure, you should wear smart clothes and speak clearly when you're being interviewed, but if your CV isn't up to snuff, you won't even make it to the interview stage in the first place.

If you've been applying for science jobs for a while without hearing anything back, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your CV. If you want yours to stand out from the stack of documents every employer receives when they advertise a new vacancy, here's what you need to do:

The Basics

Be sure to include the following essential details:

  • Your full name
  • Your current address
  • Your telephone number(s)
  • Your email address (make sure it's something professional - don't use your Hotmail address from when you were a teenager!)

If you have a clean driving licence and access to a vehicle, include this information as well. It may give you the edge over applicants who do not have their own means of transportation.

You will also need to state if your current employer requires you to serve a notice period before changing jobs.

Areas of Expertise

Once you've included your personal / contact details, add a brief section entitled 'Areas of Expertise'. This should simply comprise a short bullet-point list (5 or 6 items max.) of the key skills that make you a great candidate. For example:

  • Data analysis
  • Team management
  • Report writing

This makes it easy for the employer to see your potential value right off the bat.

Education & Work Experience

This part forms the meat of any CV. List your experiences in date order, starting with your most recent role(s). Here's a rough example of what this should look like:

GRADUATE DATA ANALYST

JULY 2015 - PRESENT

Description of this role and what it required of you. If this experience was especially relevant to the job(s) you're now applying for, you may wish to include a bullet-point list of the duties involved.

BSc MATHEMATICS (UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM)

SEPTEMBER 2012 - JULY 2015

Description of your course and the relevant skills you learned / knowledge you gained.

And so on. Try to focus on things that are relevant to science/technology, particularly the field you're looking to enter.

Previous STEM jobs should take precedence, but if you don't have any particularly relevant work experience yet, put the emphasis on your scientific education. In any case, be sure to emphasise responsibilities and achievements that demonstrate your competence and versatility.

It's worth including non-scientific education and work experience, but this shouldn't take up too much space if it's not relevant. Some people simply refer to 'various part-time jobs' or 'assorted temporary roles', but before you take this approach, think carefully - some roles may have taught you relevant skills even if they themselves were nothing to do with science or technology.

Interests

It's important to include some information about what you get up to in your free time, but remember, the employer isn't interested in your life story. You don't want to come across as a work-obsessed robot, but ideally, your hobbies and interests will complement the professional self-portrait you've been painting elsewhere in the document. For instance:

"In my spare time, I enjoy reading and catching up with the latest science/technology news. I subscribe to a number of publications, including New Scientist and Wired, and I also spend a lot of time on the Internet reading about topics that interest me. I also enjoy outdoor activities, including hiking and rock climbing."

References

It's usually fine to save space by writing 'References available on request' at the end of your CV. However, check the details of each job you apply for - some may specifically state that references are required, in which case you'll need to include them in the document you send.

General Advice

  • Be concise - don't waffle. Employers generally don't have time to read essays from potential new recruits.

  • Make absolutely sure to double-check your CV before sending it to anyone. Nothing takes the shine off a well-written CV like a spelling mistake or grammatical error!

  • Don't be afraid to tweak your CV each time you send it. Sometimes it pays to tailor it to the job you're applying for (even if you're also sending a covering letter).

Visit our CV Advice page for more useful tips!

Ready to start applying for jobs? Click here to browse the latest scientific vacancies.

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Bending or outright breaking the truth on your CV can be very tempting – after all, the science jobs market is intensely competitive - but is it possible to lie on your CV?

It isn't uncommon for people to lie on their CV, with some 38% of Britons having done it at least once, according to data referenced by Metro.

However, the truth is you really can't lie on your CV, and that bending the truth on your CV isn't really a good idea. Here are just some of the reasons why you should think again about lying on your CV:

The truth is often easy to find

We are in the Internet age, and it has never been easier for employers to do their own research into the various claims you make on your CV.

It may be easy to think that a ‘little white lie’ here or there will be glossed over. However, all that it takes for your credibility to be ruined is an employer discovering a mismatch between what your CV states and what is on your LinkedIn profile or elsewhere online.

As the saying goes, nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet, and traces of your employment history may be left online to trip you up in your career ambitions.

You might be ‘found out’ on the job 

Even if you secure the role with the help of a lie about something you claimed to be proficient in, the likelihood is that at some point, you will need to back up that claim.

This can lead to an incredibly awkward situation as you unsuccessfully attempt to ‘fake’ skills or experience that you don’t have, potentially ending in humiliation as you are forced to admit to the lie.

Avoiding the lie in the first place is an infinitely better idea. If there is a certain skill or qualification that you wish you had, it’s better to work towards this and mention it on your CV, than to be anything less than absolutely truthful.

It could ruin your reputation

A reputation for integrity and honesty can be so hard to earn, and so easily lost. What’s more, the adverse impact can extend well beyond you being unable to secure a specific job.

Your reputation, after all, is hugely important when you are seeking any job, and if employers have any reason to question your ethics and integrity, they may wonder what else you may lie about on the job, which could imperil their entire company’s reputation.

News of your deceitfulness can quickly spread online and between different companies in your sector – so don’t take the risk.

You could lose your job

If there’s anything worse than not getting your dream job, it is surely getting that job, only to lose it because you were lying on your CV.

Employers don’t take lying lightly, and you could very easily find yourself back in the dole queue if any lie of yours is discovered. In the most severe cases – such as if the job legally required you to have a particular qualification that you lied about having – you could even face legal action.

Yes, many very successful people have lied on their CVs – ranging from former Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson to media tycoon David Geffen – but that doesn’t mean you should follow their examples, especially when – as The Telegraph explains – their misdeeds so often ended badly.

Don’t put yourself in the awkward position of having something to hide – instead, tell the truth on your CV for the ultimate peace of mind. Remember that here at leading science recruitment agency Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we can advise you on how to construct a winning CV that won’t leave you asking yourself "should I lie on my CV"  in the first place. 

how to tailor your cv

It takes time to craft the perfect CV that will land you job interviews and maximise your opportunities as a current or prospective professional in a science field like biotechnology, FMCG or pharmacology.

Although some candidates may be able to cope with a one-size-fits-all resume, tailoring your CV to individual job specifications is often vital to increasing your chances of securing a job interview and in turn, landing an all-important job offer.

Get the basics right

Before you can begin to tailor your CV to a specific job role or company, it is important to start with a strong, well-written generic CV. Collate your accomplishments, experiences, qualifications and any additional information that you consider appropriate – the importance of extracurricular activities, for instance, should not be ignored – to give employers a chance to understand who you are.

Find the job you wish to apply for                                           

The first step to tailor your CV is finding a science job for which you would like to apply. Conducting analysis of the qualifications and experience that top employers seek will help to give you an understanding of how to structure your CV – for example, placing a degree above job-specific training may be advantageous when applying for a particular role.

Remember that here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we advertise many great science jobs on our website, so whether you are on the lookout for your next big opportunity in regulatory affairs, quality assurance or bioinformatics, we are a great place to begin your job hunt.

Edit according to the job description

Reviewing job descriptions and editing your CV accordingly is the best way to begin the tailoring process. Arrange your CV so that your stated qualifications and accomplishments nicely match the requirements of the given role for which you would like to apply, and describe your work experience in the context of the job description. Recent graduates, for example, may want to gear the content of their CV towards their education, while those with experience in a junior science role may want to describe the valuable skills they acquired from it. 

Mirror the recruiter's language

Closely mirroring the specific 'buzzwords' that appear in a job specification will allow you to further tailor your CV and show the given science recruitment agency or employer that you understand their position and its requirements in full. Spending some time on the prospective employer's website and mimicking their language and style in your CV also allows you to research the culture and values of the organisation so that you are prepared in the event of being offered an interview.

Network for insider information

Use your professional network to find specific leads and contacts that you can use to your advantage. Ideally, get into an informal discussion with an employee from your targeted organisation for insights and insider information that you can use to sharpen your CV to the role.

Final thought

Although tailoring your CV for every job for which you apply can be time-consuming, it's true that hard work pays off. You should always try to avoid sending a generic, untailored CV to a prospective employer. Not only does a generic CV tend to communicate a lack of care and attention, but it can also waste both your own time and that of a prospective employer, increasing the likelihood of your application being cast away to the bottom of the pile.

Knowing how to tailor your CV to the science jobs for which you yearn is vital if you are to secure those all-important interviews.

Across the full glut of science jobs for which one may conceivably apply - ranging from biotechnology and pharmaceutical to engineering and R&D roles - there is the need to make your cv stand out

As much as we may wish to think that we are recruited on the basis of our skills and experiences, without a sufficiently eye-catching CV, such is the intense level of competition for the most desirable roles that it is doubtful we would get hired at all.

If you are wondering how to make your CV stand out, here are five of the best ways to keep eyes lingering on your resume.

1. Mirror the language used in the job posting

With studies indicating that the average recruiter spends just a few seconds considering a CV before accepting or rejecting it, chances are that your CV will only be scanned quite quickly.

You should make the recruiter's job easier, therefore, by including the very terms that are present throughout their initial job posting, to make it even clearer how your skills and experience relate to the role.

2. Avoid clichéd terms

So common are terms like 'team player', 'innovative', 'results focused' and 'highly qualified' on the average CV, that they have been reduced to meaningless fluff from the perspective of many hiring managers.

If you can't use more distinctive, unfamiliar terms, at least provide immediate, live examples of how you possess such characteristics, to prevent a bored reader simply drifting to the next CV in the pile.

3. Adapt your resume to each position

This is a source of consternation for so many science recruitment agencies, to the extent that many would regard it as disrespectful not to modify a CV for their specific position.

You might do this by re-arranging what appears on your CV, perhaps grouping your traits by skill area or job function. Alternatively, you might have a reverse chronological CV, which can show how you have gathered competencies relevant to your new position over time.

4. Explain any employment gaps

Many recruiters for science jobs will reject a CV as soon as they see an unaccounted-for gap, preferring to save their limited interviewing time for candidates who don't seem to have something to hide.

It is, therefore, a better bet to properly explain why you may have been unemployed for a certain period of time, and how you nonetheless used that time productively.

5. Don't be afraid to brag

Your CV is not supposed to be modest. It is there to quickly make a positive impression on a complete stranger, so you should tell them everything great about you that means they need to hire you right now - from relevant previous jobs to coveted awards and big promotions.

If you can convince science recruitment agencies that you are something special, they will be much more likely to urgently call you to interview - whatever the science role for which you are applying.


By following these 5 simple tips, you will go a long way to making your CV stand out from the competition. For more information or advice on how to make your CV stand out, then please visit our website or get in touch with a member of our team today!