There are three key components that you can add in to your CV, all are important but which is the best and most effective? In this article, I’m dealing with the work experience or history section of your CV.
Highlighting what you do or what you did is the entry point when writing a CV. It is the bare minimum that you should include as it shows an employer what you did. For example, Administration assistant, carried out filing, answering the telephone, dealt with other departments.
The trouble with simply focusing on activities is that it gives the reader no real idea as to how good you were at doing the role. Most people will understand the “stuff” pretty quickly. When someone tells me that they were or are an administration assistant, salesperson. doctor, rocket scientist or anything else for that matter, in most cases I’ll understand what that means. What I won’t know is how good that person is or was at their job.
Use Power Words/ Verbs
Using the correct power words in short statements can give you visibility and recognition as well as demonstrate to employers your ability to communicate effectively. Do not pick keywords randomly and try to place them anywhere, think carefully about what words you choose. Using Power words such as: accurately, diligently, intelligently, etc. can help when describing tasks or activities. Please use Power Words or verbs sparingly, in the same way as you would use seasoning in cookery. You are looking to subtly enhance the point, not overpower it.
Highlighting what you were or are responsible for is better than simply highlighting what you did. Employers love people who can take responsibility and who they can rely on. There are many responsibilities that you can highlight, for example, financial responsibility. Someone operating a till with minimal or no supervision has been trusted to be responsible for money. Other responsibilities could include training, working unsupervised, managing your own workload, Health and Safety, Customer complaints and many more.
Why do employers love this?
Everyone is under pressure in some form or another. Employers love employees who need little or no supervision and can be trusted to get on with things and solve problems on their own. Use examples detailing where you took or were given responsibility. If it was you that was chosen to take the responsibility, highlight why that was, what that meant for the employer and in particular, show what the employer gained as a result of that. This could be that they saved time, were free to concentrate on more important things or a myriad of other reasons.
Achievements are the key element that separates the great and the good from the crowd. We celebrate achievements all the time, be that examination results, wins in a sporting contest or political battle or election.
In the workplace, people who achieve and deliver will be promoted, paid more and be more valued than those who don’t. Highlighting what you achieved in a previous role is a great way to show a new, prospective employer what you may be able to deliver for them. It is proof, a track record, something to be proud of.
Tangible benefits that employers gained
If you can highlight not simply what you achieved but also quantify the tangible benefit that you were able to deliver for the employer, that’s first prize. Financial benefits are easy to quantify. For example, increased sales by X percentage or Pounds shows a massive benefit that an employer gained as a result of what you did. Achievements needn’t be simply financial, they could be customer service related, productivity improvements, great communication, or simply a job well done.
Why does this matter?
The truth is that an employer really is interested in one thing, i.e. what you can do for them.
If you can show a new employer how valuable you are by showing what you achieved in each and every job role you did before, not just what you did, that’s first prize in my book.