Turning your Duties into Achievements

Successful C.V.

Our C.V. paints a picture of who we are. It is really important to explain not only what we did but what we did well. Employers are always looking for the best candidate and the one who will be the best investment. We can show that by explaining our duties in a detailed way.

Many people ask me ‘why should I explain my duties? I was a sales assistant /secretary and everybody knows what they do’. This is true, but everybody also knows what a black marker does but you couldn’t sell it to anybody by just saying ‘it’s a black marker you know what it does’. You need to explain the reasons why I should buy it, what is unique about it, what it does and how it will benefit me. You would need to talk about the size of the marker, the quality of the ink, the lifespan of the marker it’s amazing non-drip qualities and weightless feel. It is the same for our C.V.; we need to state what we can do and why the company should hire us. We do this by detailing our duties and mentioning not just what we did every day, but what our achievements were. The employer will always look for the candidate who can give extra and will add most value to the company. Mention anything extra that you did in your previous job or anything that will make you stand out from the crowd

So what exactly are achievements?

Achievements don’t have to be anything major, however instead of just including routine duties they need to say, what we did and most especially what we did well i.e.;

  • A project you were involved in
  • Customer satisfaction ratings
  • Promotions and extra responsibilities that you were given
  • New strategies or ideas that you implemented
  • Deadlines reached
  • Targets exceeded e.g. resulting in an increase in sales of 10%
  • Awards received
  • Publications made
  • Presentations given
  • Improvements that you made to the working of the company or department
  • It is really good to mention anything that made or saved the company time or money
  • Did you manage to increase the customer base or develop repeat custom


Make sure to give specific tasks accompanied with figures or statistics to really sell your experience e.g. exceeded the daily sales target by 30%. Facts, figures and statistics are a clear way of giving proof that you did the job well. Try to have a ‘what’ and a ‘how’ or a ‘why’. If we write a duty such as ‘answered calls’ this doesn’t really give the employer any idea of how good we are. We need to mention; how many calls, what the calls were about and how quickly or effectively we dealt with them. So instead of just saying ‘answered calls’ we could say; ‘answered over 60 calls daily, providing customers with information about our hotel facilities, packages and promotions, turning 80% of calls into direct bookings’. It is important that in each duty the employer gets a clear vision of our soft or hard skills and what we will bring to the company. Instead of just saying, ‘exceeded targets’, we need to say what the targets were e.g ‘regularly exceeded the daily sales target of €2000 by 15% through using up selling techniques’. Instead of saying ‘met deadlines’, we need to give the proof; ‘Calculated payroll for over 60 staff on a monthly basis using SAP software’. Here are some more examples of achievement based duties.

  • Responded to approximately 30 calls on a daily basis, solving customer’s queries regarding their tourism packages i.e. accommodation, flights, prices and availability.
  • Provided customers with support and solutions related to mobile phone charges over the phone in under 5 minutes.
  • Sourced, negotiated and secured an average of 3 welding or fabricating projects every month for the company with an average contract value of €25,000.
  • Assisted the team leader with evaluating and supervising a team of 35 people, helping with shift rotation and replacing people on sick leave
  • Initiated an audit and review of all suppliers, based on performance history, quality, net price and geographical location, reduced the amount of suppliers and as a result reduced costs by 30%

After these adjustments your C.V. should act as a dynamic and attractive sales document. Good luck.

Breda Hegarty is the Pre-employment Trainer in Business in the Community, supporting people with barriers gain employment. Breda is also the author of the blog www.thejobmotivator.com . For more information and to book an appointment for a place on our next free training course in relation to C.V.s . cover letters and Interview skills call (01) 8743840 / (01) 8743814 or e-mail employmentprogramme@bitc.ie


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