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Andrew Arkley|April 30, 2014

CV Responsibilities And Achievements

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CV responsibilities and achievements – what is the difference between the two?

Many candidates gloss over the ‘responsibilities’ section of a job description and are more eager to show off their achievements.  

Some employees treat their job responsibilities as suggestions rather than requirements. 

When they do their job, they see it as an achievement, but others may view it as just part of their job. 

This can cause confusion on a CV when it’s not clear what is a job responsibility and what is an achievement. 

Present yourself as professional and worthy to hiring managers, by distinguishing between the two on your CV.

What responsibilities tell the potential employer

When constructing a CV, the responsibilities section is usually titled ‘work experience’. 

In this section, you should list your employment history from previous jobs and the responsibilities associated with each past role.

The responsibilities are important so that your prospective employer knows that you can follow instructions in a professional environment. 

It is important that you do not over-embellish your responsibilities for any prior employment. This is especially true of candidates at an executive level where competition is fiercer and they face greater scrutiny.

Being transparent and keeping your responsibilities and duties concise will have a positive impact on your CV success rate. 

Link your responsibilities to your skills

Responsibilities frame your skills. 

For example, if you have stated that one of your skills is professional transcription, you would want the potential employer to know that you have worked for a law firm performing transcriptions and shorthand. 

Notice that we’ve mentioned the skill of transcription and then added more information to highlight that skill. 

It would be appropriate to only state a skill that is applicable to the position for which you are applying.

Potential employers want to see the specifics of the skills which you have presented. 

Without examples which show how you have applied those skills, the claims are without merit and are generally discarded.

Feel free to mention your soft skills and transferable skills, but do not make it the focus of your skillset. Show the prospective employer that your skills are tailored to the role with specific skills.  

Achievements in your CV

Going beyond what is required is what constitutes an achievement. 

These are things which are worth noting. However, you need to ensure that your achievements are not just responsibilities or duties. 

If you were expected to perform at a certain level and you performed under par, achieving the level required may be a personal achievement; however, it’s not one to note on a CV. 

On the other hand, if the company requires you to meet a certain level and you can prove that you far exceeded their expectations, this should be noted. 

For example, individuals who desire careers in financial institutions or executive roles should showcase how they exceeded profitability and production using their management skills.

Where achievements can focus on your skills, they can also focus on other areas.

You can also mention any projects you have worked on and successfully completed, as well as your qualifications or certificates,

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Use specific examples

A potential employer may be interested in knowing you received perfect attendance awards for ten years at your former job, for example. 

This type of achievement shows the employer that you are punctual, professional, and loyal. 

If there is a specific example you can use to show your leadership and professionalism, this would be a great place to do so. 

You should exercise caution when addressing your role in major corporate events. You should show how you played your part in the overall outcome, but never take full credit for the achievement. 

An employer wants a team player that takes charge, not someone that tries to do everything on their own.

Read the job description carefully and use relevant keywords and important points in your example so the prospective employer realises that your example is relevant to the particular role. 

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The importance of separation

Keeping responsibilities and achievements separate in your CV is necessary in order to evoke the responses desired from each section. 

When an employer reviews the responsibilities, you want them to understand that you can achieve the tasks of the position for which you are applying. Responsibilities should cater to the specific interests of the role. 

Achievements and accomplishments show how you can exceed others’ expectations of you. 

This is critical when the unemployment rate is in the millions. Establishing yourself as extraordinary will ensure that you are a memorable candidate and can help land you your new role.

Make sure you have a professional CV

Writing a CV which is formatted in a professional manner can be a daunting task. From the correct format to the correct content, you may feel overwhelmed. 

Make sure that your CV is tailored to the job description and ensure you make an impact with your personal statement

You need to demonstrate your skills and describe your past responsibilities and achievements in an effective and relevant way. 

Your CV should entail your qualifications and any other achievements, including volunteer work. 

Check out our CV Writing Services for more information or contact us today.

Key takeaways

If you want to capture the attention of recruiters, make sure you differentiate between your CV responsibilities and achievements. 

Remember, responsibilities are those that you need to perform as part of your job description, and your achievements are beyond what is expected at work. 

Remember to keep these two sections separate and format your CV in a professional and clean way. 

Highlighting your responsibilities and achievements in your CV, PurpleCV will ensure that you stand a head higher than the competition.

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