NO MORE CONFUSION: THE NEW CV STYLE THAT WINS INTERVIEWS
For a long period, experienced candidates have limited themselves to the traditional chronological CV writing style. Despite their popularity, chronological CVs put emphasis on duties (responsibilities) rather than accomplishments (achievements). To circumvent this problem, some candidates use the combination CV. This type of CV lists both duties and achievements in the work experience section. However, the more experienced a candidate is, the more positions they have held; the more accomplishments they have. This means that if such a candidate uses a combination CV, it will be too long.
To deal with this challenge, there rose a need to come up with a new CV style. Championed as the modern way of CV writing, an achievement-oriented CV perfects on both chronological and combination CVs by summarizing the duties into a paragraph of 3-4 sentences, and placing emphasis on the key accomplishments.
Other key features of an achievements-oriented CV include:-
- For every skill/competency you list, a matching achievement is listed. For example;
Technical installation, operating and IT infrastructure maintenance skills: Successfully achieved the configuration and operationalization of the IT infrastructure for a new Regional ICT Centre in Nairobi, organized to provide technical services to a cluster of 22 countries. I have indicated how you identify core skills later in the article.
- In addition to the name and contact details, you’re current and target position are included. For example;
Current title: Accounts Assistant
Position applied (Target Position): Accountant
(If applying outside Kenya include Nationality. Including your Gender is optional)
- The most important details are the ones relevant to the job applied/ targeted. Irrelevant experience, education and workshops attended are omitted. The career summary is optional.
Here’s a step by step guide to writing an interview-winning achievements-oriented CV
A) Work Experience
- List down all work experience you have. Based on your career interests, trim down the experience to the relevant positions only.
- Summarize your key responsibilities into 3-4 sentences.
- List down 4-6 accomplishments you made in each position. An accomplishment can be a promotion, sales targets exceeded, delegated duties well handled, colleagues trained, project you completed within time and budget or being part of a strategic planning committee that designed a growth roadmap for your organization. Anything that improved service delivery, saved costs, increased revenue or organizational efficiency is an accomplishment. Use the SAR (situation-action-result) format as illustrated in the example below.
- If your CV exceeds 3 pages (and it’s not an academic CV), cut off positions held more than 10 years ago.
Example of Work Experience in an achievement-oriented CV.
Rest Services Ltd
February 2010 – June 2014
Supervised cross-functional teams of up to 20 members in conceptualizing, developing and executing successful marketing campaigns and brand launches that established the company as a regional leader in financial consultancy. Oversaw the implementation of internal and external communication strategy, brand management, PR, media relations, corporate positioning, advertising, sales collateral and tradeshow marketing. Expert in human resource management; trained, mentored and developed 14 employees into professional, customer-focused financial consultants.
- Build partnerships with local leadership and commercial sponsors (Action) that realized Kes 4M funding (result) for the monthly Inua Biz boot camps (Situation/Challenge).
- Increased the uptake of the emergency loans product (Situation) 83% (Result) by introducing digital marketing campaigns and incorporating analytics to marketing campaigns (Actions).
B) Skills and competencies
- Do a research of the key skills required in the kind of role(s) you are targeting to apply.
- List down your achievements that relevant to skills/competencies found in (1).
- Match the skills/competencies to your achievements.
General format of an achievement-oriented CV
Name,Contacts,current position,Target position
Competency Summary – Key skills and competencies
Professional Summary/Professional Experience
Relevant Education and Training
Workshops and Awards
(Include any relevant affliations,volunteer activities where applicable)
There you have it experienced folks. You don’t have to leave out key information from your key job search tool by limiting yourself to an old,outdated CV style. Use a modern achievements-oriented CV and see interviews trickling in.
Though you may find these terms interchangeably used in some articles, an achievement-oriented CV should not be confused with an achievements-based (Functional) CV.
While an achievement-oriented CV refines on the work experience of the combination and chronological CV styles, a functional CV is focused on selling accomplishments and skills. A functional CV does not follow a chronological order nor does it go into fine details about your work experience. Another key difference – achievement-oriented CV is great for experienced candidates while a functional CV is suitable for career changers, those with employment gaps and job seekers with less experience in the roles they seek employment.