How To Write Achievements in a CV in 4 Steps (Plus Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An effective CV can attract the attention of prospective employers, successfully communicate your qualifications and improve your chances of moving forward in the hiring process. When listing your achievements in a CV, it's important to list relevant accomplishments that provide employers with useful information about your skills, credentials and experience. By listing your achievements thoughtfully, you can help highlight important qualifications that may increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we list the types of achievement categories and discuss how to write achievements in a CV to make this section both accessible and helpful for employers.

What achievements should you include in your CV?

Here are some categories of achievements and awards you might choose to include in your CV:

Academic achievements

Academic achievements like a high-grade point average or graduating with special distinctions can be useful additions to a CV. They may show prospective employers you're motivated, intelligent and hard-working. If you pursued a degree relevant to the job you're applying for, consider listing your related achievements in the program, such as internal awards or a successfully defended thesis.

Scholarships, grants or funding

Being awarded a scholarship or receiving special funding for a project is a major accomplishment. If you received a scholarship, grant or funding because of your academic performance or school or community efforts, consider including it on your CV to let employers know you're a high-quality candidate. Be sure to provide information on the grant or scholarship's significance so employers have context.

Athletic awards

Athletic awards might not be relevant for every CV. However, if you're applying to a related field or want to list your awards as an interesting fact, you can include them on your CV. Taking part in sports can show valuable skills like teamwork, communication, dedication and leadership.

Professional achievements

Professional or job-related achievements like excellence awards or formal recognitions can be worthy CV inclusions. This can show prospective employers you're an exemplary employee who often goes beyond your necessary duties for your job. Employee awards, rankings and recognitions can tell employers a lot about your work ethic.

Leadership positions

Holding a leadership position can be an attractive achievement to employers. These positions may show that you possess leadership qualities, have held management positions in the past and were a respected member of your previous position's team. Leading teams or making important departmental decisions can help prospective employers trust you in future assignments.

Promotions

Achieving promotions, especially in a short time frame, can show companies you're a candidate that frequently exceeds expectations. If you earned a promotion shortly after joining a company, be sure to include how quickly your previous employer promoted you in your CV. These are major achievements that can reveal a lot about your drive, work ethic and promise as a candidate.

Volunteer-related awards

Like sports achievements, volunteer-related awards can provide employers with more information about your interests and passions. If the achievement relates to your current position, highlight its relevance in your CV. If not, it can still be an interesting inclusion that shows employers your morals and willingness to help others.

Quantitative achievements

Quantitative achievements are measurable accomplishments like increased sales numbers, company savings or productivity metrics. Including quantitative achievements in your CV can help hiring managers and teams imagine the positive effect you'd have on their organisation. Try to fill your CV with as many quantitative examples of your work as possible.

Related: How To Write a Qualifications Summary in a CV (With Examples)

How to write achievements in a CV

Here is how to write achievements in a CV in four steps:

1. Make a list of your key achievements

Your key achievements are the positive effects and contributions you've made to a business or community. When deciding which achievements to include on your CV, omit any that pertain to skills or knowledge you need for everyday tasks and duties. Instead, choose achievements that communicate your unique attributes and help differentiate you from other candidates. Consider including as many quantitative achievements as possible. Including items with numbers or percentages can make it easy for employers to recognise your specific contributions.

2. Create an achievements section for your CV

To help organise your CV, consider listing your achievements in their own section. This can make your CV easier to read. You might choose to include an achievements section on its own or combine it with other relevant details like awards, interests and certifications. Highlighting your accomplishments can ensure employers see them and recognise your unique qualifications.

Related: How To Write Work Experience on a CV (With Examples)

3. List your most relevant achievements

In your achievements section, list the achievements you want to include in your CV. Choose only the achievements that apply directly to your position and support your candidacy. Consider reading through the job post and description to get an idea of what the employer is looking for. Try to mimic the language they use in their posting to make your achievements seem even more relevant. For example, if they say they're looking for a driven sales candidate with a proven track record, include quantitative achievements like exceeding sales targets, signing a high-value client or winning a sales award.

4. Include achievement details

For each achievement you list, be sure to include any relevant information your employer may need to know, like the date you accomplished each item or received the recognition or award. Additionally, you can explain the achievement and provide details on the significance of your accomplishments if they improve clarity for the reader. For example, you might list how many people were in competition for a particular achievement or explain where you accomplished the list item.

Related: How To Write a CV (With Template and Example)

Examples of achievements

Here are some examples of how to write achievements in a CV:

Example 1

Quantitative achievements can be valuable inclusions in a CV because their significance can be easier for employers to understand even with little context. You might include achievements like the money or time you saved a business.

Example: Improved company's debt management processes to save over $11,000 a month on interest expenses.

Example 2

Including relevant achievements that highlight specific skills or qualities can improve the effectiveness of your CV and help differentiate you from other candidates. Use the job posting to help you decide which achievements are most worthy of inclusion. If you're applying to more than one job, the achievements you list may vary for each position.

Example: Exceeded sales quotas by 15% my first year working for my previous employer and became the top earner in the company within two years.

Example 3

Sometimes, you may choose to include achievements that aren't relevant to a position if they reveal interesting information about you, your interests or your skills. Be thoughtful about these inclusions. While they can provide interesting and memorable insights into who you are as a candidate, they can also sometimes interfere with your CV's clarity.

Example: Placed second out of 19 nationally ranked competitors at the Hong Kong Interschool Speed Climbing Competition this past year.

Tips for writing achievements in a CV

Here are some additional tips you can use to help ensure the achievements section of your CV distinguishes you as a high-quality and unique candidate:

Mimic the language of the job posting

Mimicking the language of the job posting can be helpful for more than one reason. First, if your prospective employer uses software algorithms to sort through candidate CVs, the program might be more likely to notice and approve CVs with certain keywords. Often, these keywords appear in the job posting. Second, recycling the post's language can help you relate your specific experiences to the qualifications desired for that job.

Choose achievements relevant for the position

While you might have many achievements you're proud of, carefully choosing the most relevant selections can keep your CV clear and to the point. Try to only include achievements that directly support the skills and qualities employers are looking for in a candidate. You may choose to include achievements that aren't directly related to the position if they're interesting, reveal your personality or prove you're a good culture fit for the company. However, try to keep these inclusions to a minimum so your CV remains focused and purposeful.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

Place your achievements section thoughtfully

Where you place the achievements section of your CV can help you improve its readability. Ensure employers see your achievements and keep your ideas focused. Consider including an achievements and interests section at the very end of your CV. Here, you can include things like certifications, volunteer work and achievements in one easy to view location. By doing this, your achievements won't confuse the main content of your CV.

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