In today’s increasingly competitive job market, the importance of writing an effective, results-oriented CV or résumé cannot be understated. Statistics indicate that an employer will only spend about six seconds reading your CV or résumé, which is only after it has cleared their applicant tracking system.
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of merely listing job descriptions on their CV or résumé. The fact is, the hiring manager does not need to see a job description; they know precisely what a purchasing agent does, for example, and will not be impressed by that alone.
They want to see is results, accomplishments, concrete examples of how you have contributed to the organisation you are working for. These are the types of items that strengthen the CV or résumé and get you an interview.
This is often difficult for people who do their job without considering the impact of their work and their accomplishments. So how do you go about changing that mindset?
How do you reflect what you have accomplished on your résumé or CV?
Here are the steps you should follow to create a results-oriented CV or résumé.
1. Review your reviews
Performance evaluations, or reviews, are an excellent resource for discovering your accomplishments. An effective evaluation will list your performance goals for the year (or whatever period it covers) and your progress towards achieving those goals. That progress represents the positive results of your work.
For example, one of your performance goals may have been to assume more of a leadership role in your department. As progress toward that goal, you trained several new employees and provided technical support for your department’s new software. To you, these may seem like routine job functions, but to your employer, and any potential employer, they indicate your ability to assume additional responsibilities and serve as a leader. If, however, your company does not utilise performance reviews, there are plenty of resources available to assess your strengths.
2. Let numbers tell the tale
Nothing speaks stronger about the results of your work than numbers.
If you can quantify your accomplishments, you can demonstrate your effectiveness to an employer. For some professions, such as sales, quantifying your results is a routine component of your job; the number of calls you make, clients you sign, units you sell or revenue you generate all indicate your performance results.
However, for other professions, how you quantify your achievements is not quite so apparent. For example, how does an administrative assistant demonstrate the effectiveness of their work? Through the results of their actions. Rather than including something in the likes of ‘Responsible for entering data on spreadsheets’ under your job title, you could say: ‘Automated various manual procedures using Excel spreadsheets, resulting in a 10% decrease in processing time’. Which sounds more impressive?
3. Impress through results
What happens when numbers don’t tell the tale? With many sectors such as education or healthcare, quantifying your results may be difficult, if not impossible. So how do you demonstrate your effectiveness to the person reading your résumé or CV? Here are a few possibilities:
- Promotions: If you have ever received a promotion, it should be included in your CV or résumé. Clients will often tell me that they were not promoted formally, but they are always being given more to do. You could indicate this as such: ‘Consistently given additional responsibilities based on the effectiveness of performance.’
- Committees: Many organisations, such as schools or hospitals, use committees to address any issues. Being selected to participate in a committee usually indicates that your employer respects your opinion and is confident in your abilities. Therefore, be sure to list any committees you may have been involved with.
- Awards: You may think something like ‘Employee of the Month’ sounds silly or unimportant, but it can catch the recruiter’s eye. Also, be sure to indicate why you received the award. For example, ‘Named ‘Employee of the Month’ for achieving the highest sales ratio.”
4. Emphasise teamwork
Often, when I ask a client about a specific project they have been involved with, they say they can’t take credit for it because they worked on it as part of a team. On the contrary, if you have been part of a team that accomplished something, then you deserve a share of the credit for its success.
Furthermore, the ability to function within a team environment is one of the most sought-after skills employers seek, and it is not always easy to demonstrate in writing. There is great value in teamwork, and it should therefore be featured prominently on your CV.
5. Place your accomplishments in the right spot
So, now that you have developed a solid list of achievements, it’s time to incorporate them within your CV. The most effective way to do this is by adding them after each job description.
Doing this tells the reader a story; first, you tell them the routine aspects of your job, and then you show them how you went above and beyond to make an impact. Listing your accomplishments after each past role demonstrates to a potential employer that you are a person who gets results, which is exactly what they are looking for. Placing your results in this manner is an effective way to structure your CV or résumé.
To make these statements stand out from the rest of the job description, highlight them in some way: bold lettering, italics or even the word ‘Results’ or ‘Accomplishments.’
6. Look beyond your employment
When creating a results-oriented CV, you shouldn’t limit yourself to your work accomplishments. After you have demonstrated the results of your various professional endeavours, consider other notable achievements that aren’t directly related to your career.
If your college football team made it to the national finals, or if you helped raise a large amount of organisation that you volunteer with, you should include the results as well.
7. Include an impressive profile
Including a summary of skills, or profile, on your CV or résumé is an effective method to showcase what you have to offer.
When creating your summary, make sure that the skills align with the accomplishments you list. For example, if one of your accomplishments is, ‘Reduced accounts receivable by 20% by introducing credit card processing via Intuit’ your skills summary it’s crucial to include keywords such as accounts receivable, credit card processing and Intuit. Incorporating these keywords can also help your CV or résumé get past a company’s applicant tracking system.
Also, don’t make the mistake of placing your profile at the end of the document. By the time the recruiter has reached this point, they have already formed an opinion about you, and will thus have very little effect. Instead, opt to place the profile at the top, where the employer can be impressed from the start.
8. Tell the truth
As eager as you may be to demonstrate the results of your efforts to a potential employer, don’t create accomplishments out of thin air. In other words, don’t lie! This is one of the biggest CV mistakes you can make.
When clients ask me to lie on their CV or résumé, I steadfastly refuse. Even if the lie helps land the job, it usually comes back to haunt you. If you state that you were consistently the top salesperson in your office, even if you have never met your quota, the expectations for you will be much greater. You will likely be assigned much higher sales goals than if you had been truthful about your performance.
Furthermore, your lie will be most likely discovered, damaging your reputation and probably leading to dismissal, regardless of how well-established you may have become within that organisation.
9. Follow an example for inspiration
If you need some help with your results-oriented CV, then use the example below for inspiration! Our sample demonstrates many of the guidelines detailed herein. As you can see, the document lists accomplishments after each job description to demonstrate the results of the person’s performance; within the accomplishments are keywords that are also reflected in the summary and numbers that quantify the results.
These guidelines should help you look at your work experience in a new light and create an impressive results-oriented CV or résumé that will certainly catch the hiring manger’s eye.
And if you need help putting together a results-oriented CV or résumé, utilise CareerAddict’s professional CV writing services and get expert advice. After all, searching for a job is a tiring process, and writing an effective CV is the first step - be sure you get off on the right foot!
Why do you think it’s important to have a results-oriented CV? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.