When talking about your responsibilities and achievements you need to be more creative (and I don’t mean lying!). You need to tailor this section to each job you apply for. This is the most difficult part of your CV to write because your sections on education and the list of previous jobs needed to focus on correct factual information.
This is your opportunity to really sell yourself. Think of your CV as a way to market your own skills, experience and knowledge. The best way to sell yourself is to use positive action verbs: successfully demonstrated; detailed organisation skills… etc and to back up whatever you say with specific evidence.
First, think about Responsibilities:
This is most relevant if you are applying for a job similar to one you already have. However, you can still use this section to your advantage if you are going into a completely new career by selling your transferable skills instead.
This is where you can go into more detail about your most recent job. The purpose of this section is to show how your current experience makes you the ideal candidate for the job for which you are applying.
It is important that these responsibilities are not vague and general; you must be specific about particular things you have done. List your most recent and most senior responsibilities first, focus on the ones that are directly relevant to the job for which you are applying. Use the job description as your guide – if they ask for specific skills in their essential or desirable criteria, then you should use this section to demonstrate each of these.
Second, think about Achievements:
These should match your ‘responsibilities’. It shows that you were able to improve practically and personally the business or working life of the company or institution you worked at previously.
These comments should not be vague and general but specifically focused and ideally quantitative. If you raised revenue, mention amounts of money. Be explicit about timeframes if you completed a project on time.
Do not be modest or undersell yourself. If you are unsure how to do this, discuss your experience with colleagues, or friends or relatives. They might be able to offer a fresh perspective on your responsibilities and achievements.
Finally, match them together
And now match up the two sections on ‘responsibilities’ and ‘achievements’ and write about them for your CV. Keep each one brief but factual, no more than a few sentences at most so practice writing succinctly.
Have a look at this example, taken from
This first statement doesn’t feel convincing because it has no information about achievements to back up the claims made:
“Evaluated backup procedures and disaster recovery procedures. Implemented corrections to procedures to ensure recovery.”
This example is similar but much more convincing because it has concrete, quantifiable achievements:
“Provided effective backup and disaster recovery. Produced 147 recoveries for 112 clients (internal and external), consistently retrieving more than 90 per cent of lost data, with 100 per cent record of recovery within two hours.”
Your aim with this section is to show that you are a successful employee who has done similar work in the past. You want to make the hiring committee think that you can achieve the same levels of success for them.