Duties are not the same as achievements
Your achievements are the things you did in a job which made a positive impact and contribution to the company.
They demonstrate to a potential employer that you can do the job well. On the other hand, the skills and knowledge you would be expected to have in order to perform your everyday work duties do not count as accomplishments, unless you can demonstrate specifically how you used them to benefit your employer.
Quantify your achievements
Accomplishments are not just an exaggerated way of describing your skills and experience, they are tangible proof of your past performance. They are most powerful when you quantify them using numbers or percentages, for example, the statement:
is much stronger if the reader knows by how much you increased sales:
‘increased sales by 15%’, or ‘increased sales by £10,000’.
If you don’t know the exact number it’s fine to estimate as long as you state that you are estimating and you are confident that the estimate is fairly accurate and would be confirmed if an interviewer asks a previous employer for a reference.
A simple checklist for creating achievements
Briefly write down the achievement, highlighting 3 key areas:
- Problem/Challenge: Under what circumstances or conditions did you do the work? Was there a tight deadline? Did you have to do it under stress or with no supervision? Did you have to take on an additional project while still maintaining your current workload?
- Action: What did you do, and what skills/abilities did you use, to take care of the situation? Be specific here, and use strong action verbs (See below List)
- Result: What was the result? Sometimes you can discover this by imagining what would have happened if the situation were not handled as well as you did. Examples of results could be increased revenue/sales, increased customer satisfaction, projects completed successfully (or within/under schedule/budget), increased efficiency, etc.
If you were not the person wholly or fully accountable for an achievement, indicate your role or contribution to it. Saying you “participated in” or were “involved” in something is not sufficient. An employer will rightly ask the question: “What was your role? What was your level of participation?”
Avoid weak and vague terms and phrases. Make your achievements as concrete and explicit as possible, while not getting bogged down in excessive detail.
Examples of well-expressed Achievements
- Successfully improved cash management process to centralise >80% and double interest income
- Managed more than 32m Euro cash position to close out at a net P&L gain more than $400k for the business
- Implementation of new consolidated global Citibank Corporate Credit Card with enhanced user functionality and business reporting tool suite. Successful negotiation of FX conversion savings of circa $280k per annum
- Built the Treasury department from scratch, to support its growth from 12 countries and 7 Bln. revenue to 42 countries and 28 Bln. of revenue.
- Reduced working capital by >80% by implementing a (notional) cash pool structure and optimizing the banking group.
- Development of a fully customized cash management application from scratch, for treasury forecasting, reconciliation, and settlement purposes (save annual license cost of 200k EUR)
- Renegotiating a EUR 1.5 bln financing structure reducing financing costs by 50%