Meeting the employer’s needs is a key achievement

Following on from last week’s column, where I dealt with the Personal Profile section at the outset of your CV, I will now move onto what I would suggest as your next section: Key Achievements, Skills & Attributes (or variations thereof.)

To recap, the Personal Profile offers an introductory overview of who you are. It is a teaser designed to invite the reader further into your world.

The Key Achievement, Skills & Attributes section furthers the process of bringing you to life in the eyes of the reader. If the Profile could be said to be thin on finer detail, the Key Achievements, Skills and Attributes focus in on more concrete examples.

It is also important that you highlight achievements, skills and attributes that are relevant to the employer? The employer has published an advertisement and/or job spec – go through that with a fine-tooth comb to discern what matters to the employer, and craft your Key Achievements, Skills & Attributes section to meet their needs.

Don’t make it up. Make the most of what you have. Accept that you may not have every last thing they’re looking for – but everyone else is likely to be in the same boat.

The secret here is what I call ‘evidence that proves.’ Anyone can claim to be a great salesperson. But it’s the person who can say ‘named salesperson of the year four years in a row in my last company’ who brings forth the evidence that proves.

Many people make general statements in this section along the lines of:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Very proficient in IT;
  • Capable of building long-term relationships with customers.

That’s all very well – but where’s the proof? Without proof, these are empty statements. Anyone could make them.

So it is important to flesh out these claims with proof. The statements above might then read:

  • Excellent communication skills – as evidenced by my voluntary role as a presenter on my local community radio station;
  • Very proficient in IT – as my training record below shows, I have completed a number of IT related courses in recent times, including web and graphic design;
  • Capable of building long-term relations with customers – in previous role I had a 75 per cent customer retention rate. I achieved this by always endeavouring to serve the customer’s needs, trusting that they would appreciate my honesty on those occasions when I did not ‘push’ sales on them.

As you can see, this approach allows you to draw on various strands of your life. People tend to ‘park’ their private life away. But, as this candidate shows, that two-hour show you do on your community station can be deployed as very strong evidence.

If you’re using last week’s and this week’s column to build your CV step by step, I would now urge you to take a spec for a position you are seeking. See what the employer is looking for: and then write down the skills, achievements and attributes you have that meet those. If you do that properly, you bring yourself right into the zone that impresses the employer.

Next week: Using written references in a powerful way.


For a free critique of your CV, simply go here: Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Dublin and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. More: