Q&A with Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors
(Matt answers a question raised by a member of the Be a Brilliant Business Analyst community)
Where is the best place to put the results / outcomes of projects on a CV?
This is a great question and there are 2 schools of thought; the US resume writing industry tends to work on a ‘results first’ basis and your average UK CV will likely be presented more chronologically and have the result at the end. For example:
Contributed to a £1M efficiency saving by delivering the business analysis phase of a major system implementation project.
Delivered the business analysis phase of a major system implementation project that resulted in £1M of efficiency savings.
I’m not sure there is a right and wrong so long as your CV is jam packed full of business benefits and tangible evidence that you succeeded. My only point would be that the initial information “Delivered the business analysis phase of a major system implementation project…” gives context to the result “…that resulted in £1M of efficiency savings” and therefore would be my personal choice.
I would however change this stance if I was helping a US based client as recruiters and hiring managers are likely to be ‘conditioned’ to expect the result first and any deviation from this makes it hard work for them to read.
Achievements / outcomes / projects written in this way are a great addition to the Career History section and of course, the projects relating to any particular role, will sit alongside that role in the structure of the CV. But what if we want to elevate these fantastic achievements onto page one where they are more prominent?
I have seen many CVs where page one has a ‘Key Achievements’ section and the achievements are written as 2 liners as per the examples above. The problem is that all context is missing e.g. the when, where, in what capacity and how is missing from the sentence. Because of this, they don’t work and the consensus across the board is to leave them in the Career History section i.e. achievements / projects relating to a particular role, will sit alongside that role in the the CV.
Nevertheless, having some achievements on page one isn’t a bad idea so how do we get around this and give them enough context to stand alone?
The answer is to write them as case studies using the STAR formula (Situation, Task, Actions and Result). I recommend having 3 on page one that will read something like this (excuse the fact that it’s an IT example rather than specifically BA focused):
Magpie Boots Ltd’s EMEA business had a disparate communications network which was expensive and unreliable. As IT Manager, led major IT transformation project. Assessed business requirements; assembled team of 25; oversaw design of new network / infrastructure using XZY technologies; selected / managed 3rd party vendors; led through testing and implementation; and introduced 24/7 FTS support capability. Succeeded in delivering and EMEA-wide infrastructure with robust DR capability and a converged data and telecoms network which saved £1M per annum.
These evidence based case studies provide enough context for them to sit alone outside of the Career History and they serve the purpose of showcasing your best projects / achievements on page one.
To learn more about Matt and his team’s methodologies for optimising CVs for the Business Analysis market, we have 2 webinars coming up on August 3rd and 4th, both at 7.15pm for one hour.
They are free for Business Analyst Mentor readers and you can find out more / register here:
August 3rd at 7.15pm aimed at Contractors
August 4th at 7.15pm aimed at Permanent Job Seekers