Responsibility means nothing. Achievement is everything.

Thoughtful Thursday Series

The purpose of your CV is to land an interview for the job you want. If the interview is the door to your next career move, your CV is the key to that door.

Recruiters use your CV to assess whether you fit the selection criteria for a given position. They need evidence that your training, skills, experience and areas of expertise will make you successful and fulfilled in the job. If they spot a good fit, you get invited. Here is one way you can help the headhunter make that call.

Forget about Responsibility. Stating that you are responsible for something means nothing.

Someone was responsible for risk management at Lehman Brothers, before it vanished into a subprime sinkhole. Someone was responsible for financial reporting at Enron, before it collapsed due to systemic accounting fraud. Someone at the auditing firm Arthur Andersen was responsible for signing off the annual accounts of Enron. Arthur Andersen was dissolved as a result of the Enron scandal.

Being responsible for something doesn’t mean that you’re good at it. It’s your achievements that matter. What did you achieve with the responsibility you were given? Be precise, be specific, be brief.

  • Regional Sales Director. Responsible for team of 50 salespersons. Responsible for strategy and execution. Responsible for monthly planning and reporting to head office. Responsible for meeting annual targets and variance tracking.
  • Regional Sales Director. 50 direct reports. Revenues $23m. Acquired 7 new key accounts; $2m revenue uplift. Value segmentation of existing customers generated 8% growth in key accounts. Tiered discounting increased profitability by 2,5 pp. YoY.

Who of those two Sales Directors would you want to interview?

Highlighting tangible and specific achievements adds perspective and strength to your CV, because they support your value proposition with facts. That’s what the recruiter is looking for.

CV Writing and Visibility are modules of our Career Lab Development Program.


Article by Jens, Career Lab Strategist.