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The key details missing from many CVs and why giving examples of past achievements is vital

A resume expert has revealed the key details job seekers should include on their CV and why it’s essential to discuss past achievements.

Carolyn Whitfield from Total Resumes told Australian recruitment company Seek achievements demonstrate why a candidate may be suitable for a position. 

‘Hiring managers get a sense of what you can do for them by what you’ve accomplished in your previous jobs,’ Ms Whitfield said.

‘Outlining the challenges you tackled, the actions you took to solve the problem, and the results you generated can be a powerful way to attract their attention.’

But for many people discussing professional achievements is often challenging, though Ms Whitfield said there are a number of correct ways to discuss accomplishments.

A resume expert has revealed the small details job seekers should include on their resume and why discussing past achievements is essential

A resume expert has revealed the small details job seekers should include on their resume and why discussing past achievements is essential

Understand the difference between ‘duties’ and ‘achievements’

When writing a resume, it’s important to understand the differences between the duties of a previous position and what you accomplished while in the role.

Duties are what the job involves on a day-to-day basis, while accomplishments are results-based.

‘Your resume must tell a story – how did what you’ve done lead you to the right combination of skills, experience and education for the job you want? What can you do for the company that no one else does?’ Ms Whitfield said.

While duties are also important to include, they don’t outline how well the individual performed in the role.

Carolyn Whitfield from Total Resumes told Australian recruitment company Seek achievements demonstrate why a candidate may be suitable for a position

Carolyn Whitfield from Total Resumes told Australian recruitment company Seek achievements demonstrate why a candidate may be suitable for a position

HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS 

Ask yourself questions, such as ‘what is your biggest professional achievement from the past year?’ and ‘what’s the best thing a customer said about you or to you this year?’

Consider any results that have been reached by your input  

Know the difference between the duties involves in a role and achievements 

Achievements are often results-based 

Source: Seek  

Use the ‘Challenge, Action, Result’ format to discuss results

As accomplishments are often results-based, job seekers should use the ‘Challenge, Action, Result’ format to quantify these achievements.

This involves giving examples of a challenge, the action took to overcome this and the result that followed.

‘Every accomplishment should include the problem or challenge, the action you took, and the result of your work,’ Ms Whitfield said.

Results can also be quantified in dollars, numbers, and percentages.

As accomplishments are often results-based, job seekers should use the 'Challenge, Action, Result' format to quantify these achievements, which can be outlined in a resume or during a job interview

As accomplishments are often results-based, job seekers should use the ‘Challenge, Action, Result’ format to quantify these achievements, which can be outlined in a resume or during a job interview

Identify any non-quantifiable accomplishments

Discussing non-quantifiable achievements involves outlining other ways you helped the company reach certain goals.

One example Ms Whitfield suggested was ‘I led the help desk in partnering with customers, providing clear and actionable instructions and empowering clients to self-troubleshoot’.

Other examples include how you helped co-workers or direct statements from past employers. 

While these examples aren’t measured through numbers or data, it can outline the strengths and skills of the candidate in other ways.








Outline your skills to match the job description

When applying for a new position, it’s essential to understand what the company is seeking by looking at the job description and outlining how you fit this role.

‘Look at each requirement on the job description and make notes on how you meet them with your skills and experience,’ Ms Whitfield said.

‘Doing this should prepare you for most questions the interviewer asks you around your suitability.’

Job seekers should also write a new resume for every job applied for.

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