Have you ever wondered how to quantify achievements on your CV?

This morning, I received an email from one of my lovely customers. I had sent her an initial draft of her new CV, along with some notes for discussion, and mentioned that it would be useful for us to work on quantifying and qualifying her achievements within her roles.  I had also sent her a link to my recent blog, which explains why this process is so important.

Her reply came back, “I always get stuck with achievements on my CV. I can’t think of anything obvious that has a measurable impact on the company.”

This lady is not alone. Quantifying and qualifying achievements is a stumbling block that trips up many people when they attempt to write a CV.  It can all feel too much like hard work, the CV writing equivalent of searching for the Holy Grail.  Many jobseekers seriously doubt that those tangible results are there to find.

With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to put together a set of five achievement hacks. These should help you to shortcut what can be a laborious process, and avoid you sitting rubbing your chin for hours on end, getting increasingly frustrated by the minute.  Here they are:

#1 Think of what you already know

Although, initially, you may not think of them, you will already have some facts and figures firmly in your grasp, ready to be noted on your CV.

For example:When talking about your team, quantify the size of the team. Say that you lead XX people, and note their job titles.  If you have played a key role in growing the team, indicate the level of team expansion, from X to X employees, in what defined period of time.You could go on to say what the impact of this expansion was for your employer – how did they leverage that enhanced people power? Did the increased resources allow them to secure more customers (how many?), increase revenue (by how much?), or diversify their service offering (what’s new?)?

If you manage a client account, how have you developed that relationship? Have you retained the account within a competitive market? If so, how many times has the contract been renewed? What is the revenue and profit from the account? Have you increased these figures? Have you leveraged the relationship to position your employer for new work with other respected clients? Again, how many? How much?

Even if this data is not quite at your fingertips, ready to slot into your CV, it should be relatively easy to gather and leverage to illustrate your value.

#2 Look at the data that is already available

If you are lacking inspiration, one place to find it is within the public domain, placed there by your company. Whether you peruse the company website, marketing brochure, social media sites, or annual report, you should find plenty of quantified achievements which your employer wants to sing from the rooftops. Although these may be on a larger scale than you can claim to have delivered, track it back and think about what you have specifically delivered that has supported the achievement of these more grandiose accomplishments.

#3 Consider your employer’s ‘pain point’ that enticed them to hire you

You were recruited for a reason, not just to expand the workforce. What was that reason? What were you employed to do? What problem did your recruitment aim to solve? Look back at the job advert if you still have it, or your job description for inspiration.

Or, if you can’t lay your hands on these documents, consider the reason you were employed. I don’t mean to simply replace the last person who carried out you role. What would have happened if the company hadn’t replaced your predecessor? Who would have taken on those responsibilities? Would these extra tasks have decreased this team member’s bandwidth for other important work? What would the results have been?

Once you have that reason firmly in mind, think about the work you have done to move towards that goal, and try to quantify it. For example, if you work in recruitment, perhaps your remit was to develop a talent pool full of pre-qualified candidates to shorten the recruitment process, ensure that managers could select appropriately skilled individuals, and facilitate achievement of their goals. Think of the numbers involved – how many people have you sourced and interviewed? How many have you hired?

#4 Revisit your last appraisal

In today’s cut-and-thrust world, most employees are targeted and monitored to within an inch of their lives – it’s not enough to have a general sense that you are a good egg, or that you are achieving. Your input and results are likely to be be targeted, assessed, quantified, and graded on a company-wide and closely monitored scale. Although this may feel like a lot of pressure on a day-to-day basis whilst you are at work, it is good news for your CV. Revisit your last appraisal. The results of what you are doing, and how far you have come, should be there, plain and clear for all to see.

#5 Get specific

If quantifiable achievements for your role as a whole are proving to be elusive, then think about a specific project you have worked on. What was the objective? What was the budget? The timeframe? The size of the team? Who did you interact with, internally and externally? Did you achieve the objective? What was the result to the company, in the short and long term?

If you take a handful of projects like this and quantify and qualify them, then before you know it, your CV will have the depth and substance you are looking for.


I lay down the gauntlet.

Pick up your CV where you last left it, and put some meat on the bones. If you do, you’ll take it from a boring 2D summary to a dynamic 3D promise.

In a nutshell, you are looking to quantify your achievements to add meaningful substance to your CV, and expressing these through numbers makes it easier for recruiters and prospective employers to pick out relevant information, as numbers often speak for themselves.

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire is a professional CV writer at Giraffe CVs. She has 15 years of experience gained delivering interview-winning CVs and cover letters for professionals at all levels, helping individuals to stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market.
Lis McGuire
Lis McGuire