Whether it’s at an event, in a blog post or in person; the most common piece of CV advice we give is to make sure that your CV focuses on your successes and is not just a list of your duties.

Most of you reading this will have heard that before. It’s one of those tips that have become so commonplace that we’ve almost forgotten to explain why this is important.

So, why is listing your duties on your CV such a bad idea?

It’s what everybody else is doing

You create a LinkedIn profile or CV to demonstrate how much better you are than the next person applying for the same role; that doesn’t really work if all of these profiles look the same. Imagine you are a recruiter or hiring manager for a sales job. The profile required is someone with five years’ experience in inside sales or telesales. One hundred people with the current title ‘Sales Executive’ and five years’ experience apply. How different do you think their CVs would be? How would you pick the best one if that was the only information you had on them?

The worst employee in the world

Let’s look at it from a slightly different angle. Imagine you’ve just come to the end of a fixed term contract on a job working in a team of four. You and another member of the team carried the same title. While you worked extra hours, gave ideas in every meeting and contributed heavily to the success of the project. Your teammate with the same title however, he was always late, had numerous complaints made about him and never contributed an original idea. Now, if they only saw lists of your duties, how would an employer tell the difference between you and the worst employee in the world?

It’s not what employers want

The bottom line on this is that in most cases, an employer doesn’t really need to know what your duties were in your last job. In fact, based on your title, they probably already know. What they do need to know is, how good you were at your last job. They want to know why you are a good fit for their job and, most of all, they want to know why they should hire you.

Have a look at the last CV you wrote and ask yourself, ‘would the worst employee in the world’s CV be any different?’ If the answer is no, you need to work on it. When you do, don’t just list your duties; tell employers why you are the best person for the job.

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