The CV is the most important document for any job application – and in order to get noticed, it’s essential to make your achievements stand out. Adding achievements to your CV can be an excellent way to showcase some of your best skills, while also highlighting what you’ve achieved.
In this article, we’ll go through how to write achievements on a CV (including the basic format) and provide some examples. We’ll also share some tips on how you can make it sound more professional.
What are achievements?
Achievement is an objective or result that you’ve achieved – be it a challenge completed, a task successfully completed, or an exceptional project outcome, for example.
If you’re applying for roles in sales and marketing positions, then highlighting what you’ve done to develop your network is probably a good idea. If you’re applying for IT roles where the main responsibilities include managing projects and software development, then listing your achievements in that context would be ideal.
Furthermore, achievements are often a good way to highlight what you’ve achieved over the past year, and how happy your current company was with your work. You can also include a personal anecdote (such as an event or activity that’s memorable to you) if you think it’ll add extra value to the reader.
There is two type of achievements:
- Personal achievements: Which focus on your personal growth and development. They can be quite challenging to achieve, which is why it’s appropriate to put them in the personal section of your CV
“After six months as a Product Analyst, I was promoted to the role of Product Manager, leading global teams across the Asia Pacific region.“
- Professional achievements: Which focus on your professional achievements. They are more tangible and will always be preferable over personal ones.
“Under my leadership, the SASS product was released in four months from concept to launch, benefitting customers by ~100%.
Benefits of having achievements on your CV:
If you’re thinking about adding achievements to your CV, you’ll need to consider the following:
- They’re memorable: If you’ve got achievements that are positive and interesting, then it’s likely that the person reading your CV will remember them.
- They’re impressive: If you’ve achieved something and managed to get someone else to recognise it, then this can be a great way of showing off your skills and talents.
- They’re a great way of showing character: Employers like to know that you’re a valuable team-player, and that you’re the type of person who doesn’t simply work for themselves, but makes an effort to help out others.
How to write achievements on a CV:
- Always include your most impressive achievements first. This is because they’re the most memorable, and also because you want to keep the attention of the reader.
- Only include achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you want to get noticed for a particular skill, then it’s a good idea to think about what type of skills are required for that job and then focus on those.
- Strive for consistency and clarity in the way you write each individual achievement. For example, if you’re writing about a project you’ve worked on, then use the correct format (e.g., task, project, analysis) and make sure that it’s clear from the title what type of project it was.
- Add achievements near the end of your CV. It’s a good idea to include any achievements that are over two years old within six months of submitting an application. This is because it’s likely that employers will be more interested in the recent achievements – and they also tend to look for recent achievements in job applications.
- Add a few words of explanation to each achievement, explaining what it was, when you achieved it and why it’s particularly impressive.
- Make sure that each achievement is linked to the particular role you’re applying for. For example, include a research paper on how your project managed to be a success.
CV Achievements Example:
List of achievements you can put on your CV:
Here is the list of types of job-related achievements you can include on your CV:
1. Achievements within the field:
“Completed a successful project on Customer Support for the TICKET System”
This is a good choice if you’re applying for a role where you will be working on a project to improve the company’s customer support. It’s important to highlight that your work was successful and it was widely recognized.
2. Achievements within the industry:
“Delivered on–time and on–budget with the Data Warehouse project for our e-commerce company“
If you’re a software developer and are applying for a position where your skills will be used to develop software products, then this is a good example of how your achievements relate to that industry. You can also include a specific website or company name if it’s relevant.
3. Achievements within the organization:
“Participated in the development of the New Market Strategy, leading to a 25% increase in market share“
This is also a very good achievement to include on your CV if you’re applying for a role where you will be expected to figure out new ways to boost the company’s revenue.
4. Achievements within the team:
“Led a 5-person team to draft new inter-office procedures, reducing operational costs by $25,000 per month“
If you’re applying for a management role or a position where you’ll be expected to lead teams, then this is a good example of how your achievements will be beneficial for the company. It’s important to show that your contribution had benefits for everyone. That’s why it’s important to add some numbers here so that it’s more tangible.
5. Achievements in customer support:
“Saved our customers $25,000 in fraudulent transactions by identifying a fraud detection problem and proposing a solution“
If you’re applying for a position where you’ll be providing support to your company’s customers or clients, then this is a good achievement to add to your CV. You can also provide more details about how it helped and saved the company money.
6. Achievements in sales:
“Achieved a 150% increase in sales of our business-to-business service package, leading to the signing of new contracts with three new clients“
If you’re applying for a position where you’ll be responsible for increasing your company’s revenue, then this is an excellent example of a good achievement to include on your CV. Make sure that you focus on the quantitative benefits rather than just saying something about “successfully led the team”.
7. Achievements in research:
“Developed a novel technique for improving energy efficiency, which was published in an academic paper“
If you’re applying for a research-related role, then this type of achievement is good to include on your CV. However, it’s important to make sure that the achievement is directly related to the particular job you’re applying for. For example, if you want to apply for a role where you’ll be working with an existing project, then it’s important that you include any achievements related to that project. This is because that’s likely to be of more interest than achievements in research.
8. Achievements in leadership:
“Lead the development of a new client management system for the Australian mining industry, leading to its adoption across all 12 companies within the sector“
If you’re applying for a position where you’ll be leading projects, then this is another good type of achievement to include on your CV. It’s important that it mentions some specific numbers as it’s easier for employers to assess how significant your contribution was.
9. Achievements in marketing:
“Delivered a full-page advertising campaign for our company, which generated over $10M in new sales“
If you’re applying for a position where you’ll be responsible for promoting the company’s products or services, then this is a good type of achievement to include on your CV. However, it’s important to make sure that the work you did is directly relevant to the role.
10. Achievements in IT:
“Developed an enterprise-class application that achieved a 99.99% uptime over the past year, greatly improving customer experience“
If you’re applying for a job where you’ll be working with computer systems, then this is another good example of how your achievements will benefit the company. Make sure that the work you did is directly relevant to the role.
11. Achievements in business development:
“Led 9 negotiations worth over $19M with potential clientele, resulting in 5 multi-million-dollar contracts“
If you’re applying for a job that involves selling products or services to other companies, then this is a good type of achievement to include on your CV. It’s important to make sure that the work you did is directly relevant to the role.
12 Achievements in administration:
“Managed the relocation of our regional offices from Sydney to Brisbane, resulting in significant long-term cost savings for the company“
If you’re applying for a job where you’ll be expected to handle administrative tasks, then this is a good type of achievement to include on your CV. Make sure that it’s not just something you did by yourself but that it mentions how many people were involved and how it benefited your company.
Examples of Personal achievements:
- Health & Fitness:
“Completed a half-marathon for the first time, with a personal best time of 2 hours and 30 minutes! “
“Member of a local basketball club for four years, winning three titles in the state championship“
“Completed the Sahara Marathon Challenge, covering over 100 miles in extreme desert conditions in 4 days!“
- Volunteer work:
“Volunteered to lead my school’s Red Cross Youth program for 3 years, helping to rebuild villages affected by North Queensland floods.”
“Completed my first ever marathon – a 20km event in 5 hours and 25 minutes. “
“Bike commute for 3 years, completing over 240km of road riding each week“
After you’ve done your research on the company and have researched the career path you want to pursue, it’s important to create a list of skills and experiences that show the most potential as a match. Use this list as your CV’s main content, giving people an idea of your achievements throughout your journey.
Examples of Professional achievements:
- Technical skills:
“Founded a new website for my company’s business, and handled all development for the site from start to completion with no technical support.“
“Designed, implemented and maintained a complete new site for an e-commerce company that sold over $1.5M in goods online each year!“
- Sales & Marketing:
“Became the national sales manager of our franchised restaurant chain, resulting in us doubling our business in less than 18 months. “
“Became a top salesman of our business-to-business service package, leading to the signing of new contracts with three new clients“
- Customer Services:
“Built up consumer loyalty through delivering a personal and professional touch to all of my customers, resulting in 80% of repeat business from my clients.“
“Developed a novel technique for customer satisfaction that was later published in a leading journal.“
Here are three things you can do to make your achievements more interesting on your CV:
- Firstly, focus on measurable achievements. Instead of saying that you wrote some articles for a newspaper website, mention the number of words or the article title to show what they’re about and how long they would take to write. This way recruiters will have a better idea of how talented you are at writing up articles!
- Focus on achievements that are directly connected to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a position in sales, then mention about a deal that your team closed and how much money it was worth. This way they’ll have an idea of how much your contribution was worth and it will show that you’re confident in your skills.
- Add some details to what you did. Don’t just say that “I created a new website” or “I wrote some articles”.
How to write your personal achievements in your CV:
- Make a list of achievements that you think would be useful to recruiters. For example, if you’re applying for a position in sales, then the achievements listed below might be useful:
- Outline these that are relevant and include extra information such as the timeline, details of people who were involved, qualitative benefits and quantitative results (e.g. increasing sales or customers).
- Include subheadings to separate your achievements into categories:
- Add your achievements to your CV in order by starting at the top of the page.
- Then make a list of eight or ten personal achievements that will help your chances of getting the job:
- Then break down each achievement so it’s easy to understand and from each one kind out the most relevant ones you want to mention:
- Finally, write an introduction for each achievement (make sure you spell out the name of the achievement, not just say “achievement”)
- Lastly, put it all together through a summary
What to write in your personal achievements section:
- Here are some examples of achievements you could include in your CV to make it more interesting:
- Make sure that you list them alphabetically so they look more interesting:
- Instead of just saying what you achieved, add details about what you did to show that you can work well under pressure:
- If you’re sending your CV somewhere where they may want to know that you’re good at teamwork, then make sure to fill them in:
- If they want to know about your academic achievements, then include them too:
- If you’ve achieved more than ten achievements over the last few years, then it’s fine just to list ten and keep the rest out. You can say in the cover letter that you’ve done a lot of other things and they are available on request.
How to write your professional achievements in your CV:
- Instead of just saying that you did something or achieved a certain thing, add some extra details such as the timeline, the people involved, the benefit of it and how many people were affected:
- If you’re applying for a job where it’s important for them to know about your academic achievements, then include them at the bottom of your CV or in the cover letter. Don’t put them in the middle of your CV as it will make it look unprofessional.
- If you’re including achievements that you want to be more specific about, then it’s best that you write them in the cover letter and just say “For a full list of my achievements, please see my CV.”
- If your achievements are really important, then include them at the top of your CV so they don’t get forgotten about by the person reading it.
- It’s advisable that you don’t go overboard with using achievements on your CV. If you have more than six achievements in your CV, then it might start to look like you’re bragging.
- Include one or two achievements per section of your CV so they don’t look too crowded.
- Make sure that the achievements are relevant to the role and are something that the recruiter would be interested in knowing about.
- List your achievements chronologically so it looks more interesting.
- Give extra details (e.g. timeline, result, person involved) to make the achievements more interesting and to show that you’re comfortable in a busy work environment.
- If you’ve achieved a lot of achievements recently, then just list ten and tell them that there are other achievements available on request for further information if they’re interested in them.