Secrets of the Shortlist: Shorten the Odds

A lifetime ago, as a 19 year old new member of the crack Procter and Gamble sales team, I received my first brand-new company car. Two weeks into the job I ran into the back of someone else at traffic lights. The accident was 100% my responsibility. Of course, apart from my other more commercial responsibilities, care of the car was certainly on the list. What did I achieve in that regard? At the very least, much room for improvement…..

It’s obviously very important to list on your CV both present and past responsibilities within the roles that you’ve had. However, in reality, all this does is give an indication of what you were entrusted with but provides only part of the picture in terms of how you actually profile as a potential recruit for any role. Surely it’s vitally important to illustrate not only the responsibilities that you hold / held, but what you’ve done or achieved with those responsibilities. This gives the reader a much clearer idea of not just your competences, but what measurable progress and overall value you can point to – your achievements.

Personally, I think a CV that doesn’t major on achievements to date is weak.

It fails to make the vital link between a candidate’s full credentials and the key deliverables of the role they are applying for. 

What can be more important when you’re relying on your CV to mark you out from the rest? Shorten the odds! Being one of 50 applicants doesn’t mean you have to accept a tiny 2% likelihood of succeeding. I guarantee that many applicants (however senior and experienced) will fail to illustrate the “role match “ strongly enough. My experience, from years of CV reading, tells me that from any 50 maybe 12- 15 (at best) will work intelligently and successfully at this element.

So, yes, do list / bullet point your responsibilities in each role, but in a separate achievements section, immediately below, also list brief related bullets that record how you performed with each responsibility.

Needless to say, having responsibility for altering the front end of my car wasn’t featured in later CVs.

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