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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'Introvert' was once viewed as something of a dirty word within the recruitment industry and the wider world of work. Introverts (or so went the stereotype) were reclusive, uncooperative, and difficult to work with - not what any employer is looking for in a new recruit.

Luckily, the world has come a long way in recent years, and many character traits that were once wrongly deemed as negatives are now welcomed with open arms - an introverted personality being one of them.

Truth be told, being introverted actually has numerous benefits in the workplace, and an introverted individual can bring with them a number of attributes that are highly sought after by employers in a variety of different sectors.

Jobs for introverts

The benefits of being introverted

Being an introverted person can have a number of hidden advantages. Introverts typically possess excellent creative skills and imaginative ideas, making them a great fit for jobs that require originality, artistic flair, or outside-the-box problem solving.

Meanwhile, introverts are often extremely focused, highly productive workers who are undeterred by the hustle and bustle happening around them. What’s more, introverts tend to choose their words carefully, meaning that - while they may not speak up often - there’s weight to their words when they do.

The innate ability to work independently also promotes impressive organisational skills, which goes hand-in-hand with excellent prioritisation of work. In addition to that, these independent qualities also promote initiative, self-management and responsibility, without the need to over-rely on others.

That being said, it isn’t all plain sailing and there are undoubtedly a few hurdles for any introvert to overcome if they want to succeed in the working world.

Obstacles for the introverted

Unfortunately for introverts, the world of work does also tend to involve a number of situations that are not ideally suited to this type of personality. From the initial interview process to the working environment itself, the necessity for interaction, collaboration and general conversation is quite a departure from the preferred environment of your average introvert.

Open-plan office layouts and team-based activities are just two of the necessary evils that must commonly be confronted. On top of that, team meetings, occasional office socials and even communal dining areas can be uncomfortable settings for introverted people.

But don’t despair just yet, introverts of the world – it’s not all doom and gloom.

Introvert working

Jobs for introverted people

Luckily, there are numerous jobs that lend themselves well to introverted personalities. These range from IT-based roles to more physical jobs and everything in between.

Here are just a few examples from a variety of different sectors:

Graphic Designer

Top of the list of jobs that are ideal for creative introverts is that of the graphic designer. With the majority of the work being carried out solo, the vast majority of your working day will be spent working alone, left to your own devices.

While you may have to run through a brief with a client, manager or team, the design task is ultimately left in your hands. Better still, this also draws on the creativity and imagination commonly associated with introverted personalities, making this job the dream ticket for many introverts.

Best of all, this job can often be done on a freelance basis, allowing you to potentially bypass the office environment altogether and work in the comfort (and seclusion) of your own home.

Accountant

If you have a good head for figures, a job in accountancy could be extremely rewarding – both with regards to job satisfaction and financial reimbursement.

Attention to detail and a focused approach are two vital requirements for this profession; ditto the ability to prioritise and work to deadlines. For introverts that tick those boxes and command a solid knowledge of mathematics, this can be a fantastic career path to follow.

As an accountant, your main priority will be to analyse economic data, crunch numbers, and produce financial reports for clients and businesses, ultimately ensuring that they’re operating efficiently, legally and on-budget. Accountancy jobs offer a wealth of opportunities to progress, and there’s often the flexibility to work remotely as well.

Lab Technician

If you have a keen interest in healthcare but are put off by the idea of dealing with patients and the general public, a great way into the industry is via the laboratory door. If you get a job as a lab technician, you can expect to carry out routine technical tasks, sample testing and experiments, along with data analysis and risk assessment.

Depending on the field you're in, the role itself may be clinic-based or focused around research and development. You may find yourself working independently or under the direction of a more experienced professional - either way, expect a high degree of independence. A keen eye for detail and the ability to work well unsupervised are great assets to have as a lab tech, two attributes that many introverts have in droves.

Web Developer

For the computer-savvy introvert, web development can be a lucrative and logical direction to go in. As a web developer, you will primarily be tasked with designing, coding and modifying websites to meet your client's wishes.

While this is a position that can be done outside of an office environment, there are lots of in-house web developer roles as well; as such, you may be based within a team of other specialists. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for a web developer to find themselves honed in on a job or project for hours at a time, meticulously programming away with no time to stop and chat.

As with many IT jobs, this can require a lot of independent working, left to your own devices to focus on getting the visual appearance and technical performance is up to scratch. If you see yourself as a focused, analytical introvert with sound IT knowledge, a career in web development could be a match made in heaven.

Writer

The job of a writer is an ideal one for introverts who are well-versed in the written word and have a creative flair for language. Best of all, writing jobs can come in many different guises, from the formal, straight-laced style of a technical writer to the more conversational, down-to-earth approach of a full-time blogger.

Meanwhile, writing also has the potential for good career progression as a self-employed solo venture or within a wider team, with editorial positions a logical next step. What’s more, the role of a writer also lends itself perfectly to freelance work and can be done just as easily - if not more so - when working remotely.

So, there you have it – proof that introversion doesn’t mean you have to be cut off from the outside world, banished to a secluded dungeon and forced to work alone by candlelight!

Here are some other useful links for introverts, particularly those who are seeking a career in the science or technology industries:

Interview Tips for Introverts >   Browse Science Jobs >

Honesty

We're all taught that honesty is the best policy - but is this the case in a job interview?

When you're being interviewed, your primary concern is presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job, and it's perfectly normal to talk up your best traits while downplaying your weaknesses. But overstating your qualities and skills can have disastrous repercussions if you're successful! So where does one draw the line?


When talking about your personal skills and experience, it's always safer to be honest!

Before your interview starts, the interviewers will spend some time reviewing your CV to determine what kind of questions they should ask you. If you have been honest on your CV, the interview stage should be relatively easy!

The reason why it's so important to be honest about your skills and experience (both on your CV and in an interview situation) is that you may well be expected to apply those skills if you get the job.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you are applying for a scientific job that requires extensive knowledge and experience of working with a certain type of equipment, you might be asked to complete tasks using that equipment at a later date. If you lie to the interviewers and tell them that you're an expert in using that equipment (when really you aren't), you might end up causing a serious accident or injury.

The same theory applies to lots of other skills, like speaking a different language, being able to use a certain piece of software, and even managing teams of people. When it comes to talking about the skills and experience you have, it's definitely better to tell the truth.

Read More: Can You Lie on Your CV?


Can I bend the truth when answering other questions?

While it's definitely in your best interest to be upfront and honest about your skills and experience, you may not want to disclose too much information when asked questions like:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

For example, you might have left your last job because they simply weren't paying you enough, but mentioning this in your interview might make the interviewer think you're only concerned with money.

Don't just make up a lie, though - try to frame the truth in a positive way, like this:

  • NOT IDEAL: I left my last job because they weren't paying me enough.

  • BETTER: I left my last job because I'd reached a dead end - I wanted to move on to something more rewarding, with more opportunities to advance my career.

Remember, there are some questions you don't have to answer.

It's actually illegal for employers to ask potential employees about certain 'protected characteristics', such as:

  • Sexuality
  • Gender identity
  • Family and marital status
  • Age
  • Disabilities
  • Nationality, race and ethnicity
  • Religious beliefs

So if you're in a job interview and the interviewer asks 'Are you planning to have children?' or 'What country are you from originally?', they are actually breaking the law. (The only exception is if the question is part of a positive action to help people from a particular group - e.g. an initiative to hire more openly LGBT+ individuals. Even in these cases, you are not required to give an answer if you would prefer not to.)

Hyper Recruitment Solutions specialise in science recruitment - for more interview advice, click the link below.

Visit Our Homepage >

Job Interview Biggest Weakness

If you’re going for a job interview, you’re probably dreading the interviewer asking you to talk about your biggest weakness – and that’s totally normal. This very common interview question puts you on the spot and requires you to evaluate and talk about yourself in a somewhat negative way.

To minimise the risk of freezing up or saying the wrong thing, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for this question:

Understand WHY interviewers ask this question.

It might seem a little strange for an interviewer, who should be interested in your achievements and experience, to want to know about your biggest weakness. But the reason they ask this question is quite simple: they want to get past your smart, rehearsed interview façade to understand what you’re like as a person and what you’re like to work with.

Answer the question in TWO parts:

1. Identify your weakness.

  • Don't deny that you have weaknesses.
  • Choose a weakness that doesn't directly relate to the job.
  • Try not to get defensive or talk about yourself in an overly negative way.
  • Don't try to disguise a strength as a weakness - try to be honest.

2. Talk about how you're working on it.

  • Give an example of a time your weakness caused an issue at work, then explain how you resolved it.
  • Give examples of the ways you plan to work on your weakness (if you haven't started working on it already).
  • Be positive and confident - having weaknesses isn't something to be embarrassed about. Everybody has them!

Plan your response to the question.

It is quite likely that the interviewer will ask you about your biggest weakness - this question is so common at this point that it's on the verge of becoming a cliché - so we recommend preparing a constructive answer ahead of time.

  • Think carefully about your weaknesses and write them down.

  • Look at the job specification and highlight the key skills and attributes required for the role.

  • Compare your list of weaknesses to the key requirements of the job. Exclude any weaknesses that might give the impression you're not suitable for the position at all - e.g. don't give shyness as your answer if it's a customer-facing role requiring strong interpersonal skills.

  • Compose a strong answer relating to the remaining weakness(es).

Example of a good response:

Scenario: You're applying for a job as a lab technician. This job requires meticulous attention to detail and safe practices.

Good Answer: "I am not very good at public speaking. I get very nervous; I'll happily put my ideas forward when working in a small team, but on a larger scale, I do tend to struggle. However, I have arranged to go back to my university and give a talk to current chemistry students about my experience on the course - I'm hoping that this will help me to improve!"

Bad Answer: "I really struggle to be organised. My friends and family say I'm a bit of a slob, and I'm always breaking things accidentally. There's not much I can do about it, though - that's just who I am!"

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we can offer lots of helpful advice if you're applying for a job in a scientific sector. Click the link below to browse our latest job listings.

Browse Science Jobs >

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: